I’ve often talked about the choreography of farm management. The planning of how 8 people will move about the farm all day/week/month tackling which tasks in which order to make the most efficient use of everyone’s time while accomplishing all the tasks around the current weather pattern. It’s a delicate dance, and really beautiful when you pull it off.
I’ve recently expanded this choreography to our whole lives, which is even more delicate. Early on in our careers, the farm was the baby: we catered to it’s every whim, sometimes fumbling to figure out what it needed before we spoke the same language. We worked late nights and weekends just trying to keep this baby alive. You know the tired and crazed look all new parents have—we looked like that. But we were young and didn’t mind and could handle loads more lack of sleep and physical exhaustion.
As we and the farm have matured, a little more balance is necessary. The dance has become less frantic putting out fires, and more about the delicate details of pulling in all the variables and planning properly. Little details that now include a life outside the farm, now that it’s grown and we know how to provide what it needs in advance. The choreography now includes our human needs of down time, social connection, exercise, rest, play, normal household duties, and pursuits or hobbies outside of the farm. Too much of any of those, including farm work, can leave us discombobulated and not our best selves. This more intricate balancing act is, of course, more challenging, but also even more beautiful when you pull it off.
There’s this trend in yoga to take a picture when you first start trying a pose, or really anytime. Then to take another picture trying the same pose each year of your practice (bonus points if you’re in the same place wearing the same clothes) and place the pictures side by side to see your improvement. I’ve never done this but today as I was cleaning out old files from the filing cabinet (what do you do on rainy days?), I found this newspaper clipping from our first Hickory Farmers Market in our first year of farming here.
Oh! How far we’ve come since our humble beginnings all those years ago. It’s good to look back sometimes and cringe—to see represented in photos all the things you’ve learned, all the improvements you’ve made, to see how far you’ve come.