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!