Sunday, June 23, 2013


So much has been going on it's tough to slow down and capture it all. Still, I'm journaling most days. Feels good to work those writing muscles.

In addition to a membership at Curves I've added walking most of the other days, once it warmed up. The rest of the Spring was taken up recuperating from a grueling 9 months at a non-profit.

Actually, I have also made some progress on my desk. Very. very. slowly.

It's made me notice motivation and how low it is sometimes. To the point of resistance. A seemingly immovable force. Eventually, when the mood doesn't strike me, after weeks of waiting, I just go ahead and get it done, whatever it is. That's the thing about inspiration. Sometimes it just needs to be lassoed.

While the days have been full, somehow April, May and now a chunk of June have slipped by without a lot of visible or earth shattering progress. "Stuff" gets done, but where does the time go?

I started thinking about two big new things this Spring, well, three, and two are coming to pass. The third is germinating :)

First, I began craving a new dog. Not just for me, but for the family. No really. It took a while to be able to articulate the reasons, but 1. Sparky is getting older (he's 9 now) and 2. it's not fair to add a dog in a year or two when he will be older and less likely to want to add a new family member, 3. he seemed to miss Maggie. Today on our walk we saw a neighbor we've met twice, with her dog. Sparky kept trying to get over to visit, even tho we were really too far away to get to them. It was sweet, and also confirmation that he is happier with another dog here. 4. I was longing for the affection of another dog. So yeah, we are doing it. Bringing Sadie home tomorrow - a rescue. Chill, peaceful gal, a rott mix they tell me. Smallish - 45 lbs. Will be nice to have her, especially with G around to bond with her, etc. Pictures coming soon.

Second, been looking around for the next job. Sent a resume in in March, got a call in May and interviewed around May 21. Got a call a couple weeks later that they wanted to make me an offer, and last week finally got the offer. Or maybe it was the week before. Anyway, it's all but signed. I go in tomorrow to fill out paperwork. Cool spot - IT geek interface to the emergency management dept. for a large organization. Beautiful time off and great benefits. Lovin it. Always nice to see debt go away too!

Third, we are seriously researching farming. The good news is there are lots of materials, groups, sites, etc. Bad news is it will be a year of research, in addition to our full time jobs. It's hard to wait. Stan and I had never really examined the idea very closely... then it seemed to click. We had both wanted to have our own farms for so long... well, it was decades for me, and he just said he'd always wanted to have a big farm.

It won't likely be huge, with the price of land these days. But organic, sustainable, and enough to support us, yes. We can do that. Good that he used to care for cattle with a neighbor, when he was a teenager, and worked the family gardens/farm. And I kept bees, chickens and goats. I've shelled beans on a porch with old women. That must count for something!

I'll keep the day job while we get started and very possibly until the end of time. (Right now I like this idea best.) He will run the farm and drive when it's off season. There is a great farmers market here, and many others in the area. Also have found there is strong demand for specialty crops and products going to chefs and restaurants in Chicago (and Indianapolis I bet) as well as a huge interest now in local foods, slow foods and sustainable agriculture. Nice to be here where one of the best ag schools in the country is located. Even local school systems are looking for fresh, local food.

This week I visited 7 Sisters Farm in Sidney, IL and Morganics in Michigan. These were the 3rd and 4th farmers I'd contacted, mind you. That they were generous enough to let me come visit, show me around, explain a bit about their approach, and give some advice was just heart warming. It was the hand up I needed.

[The first two farms I asked for a visit/tour were either just "No" or "Can't, good luck". Note to self: always try to help out the new kids on the block.]

We've applied for a local year long class for beginning farmers at our local (ag) extension office.  If we get accepted it's free and supposed to be a good start. We might be able to get a VA loan, or a grant; or both, to get started.

Once we figure out what we are doing, we'd like to find more ways to bring gardens into low income communities, and see what can be done for veterans and ex-offenders who are getting re-integrated into society. That may be the far-fetched part of all this, but I'm not above learning from scratch.

Love the idea of teaching micro-housing and training men and women to build small, solid homes. So we will see. All kinds of possibilities... all kinds of good talent around here to ask for guidance. "Green" technology, including solar and geothermal need to be taught and tested somewhere...

7 Sisters was, by the way, just beautiful. The garden, the sheep, chickens, guard dogs, goats. Just loved it. Bought some amazing yarn (leicester and corriedale), and some lovely grey roving and want to go back for more! Cathe showed me the house they restored, and we had great conversation about land, local resources and how damned hard it is to keep horses in this part of the country! (Stan agreed later when I told him.)

 Genevieve, at Morganics was also gracious and showed me and Gwyneth around when we dropped in on her this week. We saw her road sign as we were heading to Leelanu way up in Michigan. There were 11 adorable English Shepherd puppies running around (I immediately wanted to bring one home) and beautiful bunnies (one spotted one like a dalmatian!). We came home with fresh eggs and a new idea - permaculture. Also learned that mushrooms put all kinds of good stuff back into the soil. Since they are first generation farmers Genevieve gave us a different kind of encouragement, especially since they are reclaiming some land that was tree farm (red pines) before and all of it is sandy soil. Nice big garden tho, moveable pens for the smaller livestock.

She also had a couple of sheep and some hogs. Sells the English Shepherds too. All good investments I think. 

On both of these operations one spouse works "off farm". Both are in it tho to make more that a subsistence living (which I'm gathering means, more than support the family with food on the table). I see where diversifying is a good idea, where the cost of land and equipment is crucial, and where help, either in kids, interns, or paid help are critical.

That's all I'm good for tonight. Off to read a little and consider. There's a full moon rising ;)

No comments: