I agreed to do this blog with my sister because she is a great writer and cook and mother and is brilliant and I would want to read her blog. She is also witty enough to know that my Cattail Organics farm could provide some tales too. I have have been doing some deep thinking over the past year and realize that I know a heck a lot about farming and have a lot to say about enjoying food and learning to parent so why not write. I believe that at the very least many farmers will want my spreadsheets and youtube videos that actually show how to do things and feature machinery and hand tools at work. I also know people will want my sisters recipes and her philosophy. She has been cooking well and writing well since she was in middle school.
Today I sit here at the prime age of 37 with three kids (9.6. and 3), about to start my 12th farming season at Stoney Acres... and Stoney Acres is no longer mine. While no one really wants to read about my separation and problems I can summarize the experience of transferring the farm to my future ex-husband and current co-farmer and co-parent, in 5 words/phrases - heartbreaking, painful, growth inspiring, life changing and freeing. I have be kicking, screaming and mourning the loss for months and am starting to come to terms with the fact that I can build beautiful soil and attract endangered salamanders on future farms but for gosh sake it will take another 10 years!
This farm was my first baby and my first true love. While it got an Midwest Emmy award on Wisconsin Foodie and was on NPR and is my most amazing life accomplishment, accomplishment is not why I loved it. In "giving up the farm" I am decidedly not giving up farming, because what I have found over the past 12 years is that I am a farmer - a good farmer, a strong farmer, and most importantly I have met my physical and intellectual match. So here I am getting ready to start a new farm, a new life chapter and eventually a new home. Based on my lineage I have 2/3rd of my life left so 70 years should be long enough to build another beautiful place.
In making my new farm I am able to do everything the way I want to do it and to remake bad decisions and to bring my best ideas to a new place. I am also doing something I never learned to do before in my marriage to my husband and my farm - I am learning to build in sanity, and love and time for childhood and fishing trips. I am learning to budget around vacation not in spite of it and to ask the most fundamental questions about happiness first. So here is the goal - can I farm 40 hours a week or less on 4 acres or less and make a good living? I am sure I can.
I have plenty of time for business plans and planning spreadsheets and financial information in the future. But here I am ready to start the farm again.