Saturday, January 31, 2015

Farm Update: It’s Getting Real


This is the year that our next chapter in life begins. This is the year that my husband and I build our house on our new farm, move our family, and learn about living in harmony with the land.

Or so we hope.

As a mediocre gardener, I have a lot to learn about “real” agriculture. So this time last week I was at my very first farming conference- the 25th annual NOFA-NJ winter conference (Northeast Organic Farming Association in New Jersey).

In two days of workshops, I learned terms like rhizosphere, native pollinator habitat, and brassicas (which refer to the soil, wildflowers, and the family of vegetables that includes broccoli and cauliflower).

I showed an interest in bugs like I never thought I would. I studied charts of “beneficials” vs. nuisances. I didn’t even flinch when they passed around one of those showcase boxes with the bugs on the end of pins so you can see what they look like.

My husband wants to be a beekeeper. Seriously. So I went to a workshop on beekeeping and learned all about frames and hives and queens and worker bees and drones.

If you had told me 10 years ago, that I would be studying all of this and moving to my own farm, I would have laughed.

It’s funny how life carries us along, isn’t it?

Anyhow, that conference came at a great time because just a few days ago my husband and I met our NRCS representative at our farm. NRCS is the National Resources Conservation Service.

We applied to their program and over the next year or two, the representative is going to try and help us get funding for an organic transition plan, cover crops, irrigation, and native pollinator habitats (I specifically requested that last one!). Ranking is going on now and we should find out throughout the year whether we are getting assistance.

In the meantime, we are making progress behind-the-scenes on the house even if there is nothing to see at our lot yet. We completed our well and septic study, finalized our house design, applied for permits, and have begun collecting bids and hiring sub-contractors for the first phase.

It is getting real, folks. Wish us luck!

Friday, January 30, 2015



It’s quiet as I write this. The little one is still asleep, while the big ones are off to work and school. Outside, the faintest flurry of snow is drifting to the earth.

This is a moment I should cherish. It is why I have chosen to sit still and write, if only for a few minutes.

The truth is, though, I am too tired to appreciate it. This feeling is all too familiar, unfortunately. I am often tired. In the nearly four years since I had my son, I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t at least a little bit tired. Motherhood is exhausting.

Even in the good times, when things roll along pleasantly, the “always on”-ness of motherhood makes for very little true rest.

Lately we have been in a power struggle, my son and I. This dance has worn me out even more. I haven’t yet figured out the right approach, but I am trying. I am practicing patience and love soft-spoken. Some days I am better at it than others.

I know things will get better. I know in an hour or two I will feel a little more lively just as I know eventually my son and I will learn how to work together.

Right now, though, I am tired. And sometimes that is as far as my thought process goes.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Word of the Year (a review of 2014 and pondering of 2015)


A fresh new year is upon us. If you’re like me, you spent the last few weeks pondering, journaling, dreamboarding, trying on new words, themes, and ideas. The end of the year for me is about reflecting, taking personal inventory, and realigning myself.

2014 brought some significant changes (some of which will still be in play during 2015, but we’ll get to that in a minute). My word of the year was Badass. (Here’s why.) I set out to do things that scare me, to speak my truth, and maybe do a few pull-ups.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • My husband and I bought a farm. A big one. We are building a whole new lifestyle.

  • I did a pull-up! It took a while, but I got there. Next goal: three in a row.

  • I got my new tattoo and it is totally me. I am so in love with it.

  • I was myself in front of my dad. I even showed him my new tattoo.

  • I took on potty-training. And failed. Miserably. Badassery is no match for a strong-minded toddler.

  • I wrote 19 articles for 2 online magazines and was featured in Sonia Marsh's My Gutsy Story series and the Blogher network.

  • I submitted writing to three print publications. One was rejected, and the other two are still under review. (And I didn’t mind at all being rejected because it meant I tried.)

  • I edited 6 textbooks, 7 reports, 3 test banks, and numerous articles.

  • I set up websites and marketing materials for two small business owners.

  • I interviewed 13 people for this blog including Jennifer Louden, Alisha Sommer, Jamie Ridler, Suzie the Foodie, and other really amazing women.

  • I read 38 books.

  • I offered oracle card readings to the public for the first time. They were so well received and

  • I am grateful for the people who helped me get this practice started. (If you want to look at the year ahead with me, you can get your reading here.)

  • I lead my first introspective collage workshop.

  • I took a painting class for the first time. I am quite proud of my watercolor work. It isn’t a masterpiece by art world standards, but it is way better than I thought I would be capable of.

  • I went waterfall rappelling.

  • I learned to ask for something back from the world.

  • I gave up my blog schedule. When I began this blog three years ago, I posted on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Lately, I haven’t been able to keep that up. Sometimes I write a lot. Sometimes not at all. And I’m okay with that. Plus, I kind of don’t like rigid schedules. So this blog has been and will continue to be more fluid.

Most importantly, in 2014 I learned to look at myself a little more honestly. I learned not try to force myself into boxes or categories that only kind-of-sort-of fit. I recognized flaws that kept me doing the wrong thing out of habit or caused friction in my relationships. I also found strength in saying what I like. I am who I am, dichotomies and all.

In 2015 I want to continue this journey. To continue embracing all the sides of me. Because I believe there is room for me just as I am. The word I have chosen for this year is RESURRECTION. For me it represents returning to my core self. Rising to be fully alive. This year I want to live with purpose and passion and authenticity.

This year, my husband and I are building our new house on the farm. We are transitioning from suburbanites to farmers. We will grow closer to the earth, closer to our food, and closer to the local community.

This year, I will continue writing and submitting my work to publications I believe in. I will continue my card reading, collage, and journaling work.

This year will be less about transformation and more about soaring.

Welcome 2015. A new year for the true me.