Monday, December 31, 2012

Thoughts on 2012 and dreaming of 2013

Well its the last day of the year and I am sitting in my cozy living room with my dog Lulu curled up beside me taking her 4th nap of the day. Lulu is a serious napper she takes it to a ninja level of seriousness.  I am about to make a few baguettes to bring down state to my Brother Dave's house later today as I will be spending New Years Eve down there with a few of their friends and my niece and nephews. I will be leaving my husband Tommy here to take care of Lulu and to make sure the chickens are nice and warm in their happy little coop which makes me sad but he is not much of a party person and in the long run will probably be happier here but I know later we will be missing each other something awful. Its hard for both of us to leave the farm because we don't really have a support system in place hopefully one day maybe even this upcoming year we will meet some like minded vegetable growing make your own laundry soap kind of  folks to hang out with and then we can leave the homestead together with friends in place to watch our farm with the promise to return the favor as soon as needed.

The seed catalogs have started to arrive and its one of my favorite times of the year that paired with the 2013 NOFA-NY winter conference happening in Saratoga later in January there are things to look forward to during these cold winter months. I already have lots of new ideas and plans for the upcoming year concerning both growing vegetables as 3 Dogs Barking Farms and becoming more self-reliant. Also in January I will be taking a pretty intensive Beekeeping class with SABA (Southern Adirondack Beekeeping Association) I am really looking forward to it and already have my first homework assignment. Should be interesting to see if I am still the wicked procrastinator I was in school for some reason I have a picture of myself sitting in the parking lot before class trying to finish the chapter. Oh well we shall see. So bees will be added to the picture this year which i am really excited for cant wait to get honey and beeswax which will be one more thing we are supplying for ourselves and maybe we will even have some extra to sell at market. What else? Well I think I am going to grow some wheat too just a small patch 250 sq feet or so. Not sure how much it will yield but I cant wait to give it a shot. I think growing your own wheat to make your own bread is pretty much the penultimate homesteader dream. I actually want the straw too I always need it and never have enough money to buy it so there will be one more problem that we solve for ourselves. Super neat - well if it works out.... So those are the two new enterprises we will look forward to in 2013 And to be honest probably all my schedule will be able to handle working a full time job off-farm.

Thoughts on 2012? Well we finally got to market and I think we held our own. It was more fun that I thought it was going to be and more work too. It amazes me how much work it takes to get the vegies to market. In the past growing for just ourselves I never had to worry about how much time it takes to pick wash package and store food correctly so it makes it to market looking and tasting its best. And seriously I didn't know how to do a lot of it and had to ask lots of questions and to be honest I am still figuring a lot of it all out. But we still did it and look forward to the promise of 2013 we need to grow A LOT more food if we are going to make a decent profit this year but I think we have enough space out there in the backyard to get a bit more than 1/4 acre under production. I think this year we will make a new bed just for tomatoes and then I am really looking to hopefully finally doing  the 3 sisters which i have been threatening to do for years now But to grow corn, beans, and winter squash all in the same bed providing each other what they need to thrive I think is great and because its the way the Native Americans did it makes it all the more exciting.

So thoughts and dreams of 2013? Growing more food for starters. Also going to try this winter to grow some lettuce hydroponically so we have something to sell during winter. I also really need to work on feeling better in my own skin as 3 Dogs Barking Farms. I seem to struggle with our size and never really feel like a real farmer. I remember at my first NOFA-NY conference the question in a beginning farmers seminar was when are you considered a real farmer and the answer was when you sell your first product. Well I have done that many times now and I still feel like a poseur calling myself a farmer I sometimes will even describe us a small time vegetable growers and not farmers. What the difference is I don't know. So where does my reluctance come from? Maybe because we are so small I don't feel legitimate maybe because I still work full time off farm and probably always will unless we when the lottery. I don't know but I hope to get over it in the upcoming year I even got the 2012 census of Agriculture from the USDA addressed to 3 Dogs Barking Farms but I still don't feel like its real. Maybe because it feels to good to be true? That something I wanted I actually accomplished? Maybe that's it. I've never been a dreamer maybe I never really dared too but I had a small one and we made it happen so here's to feeling like a farmer and maybe even dreaming larger dreams and making them happen too in the upcoming year. Maybe some sheep?  So Happy New Year hope you are all dreaming dreams and doing small things to make them come true. Cheers.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Never feeling like I fit in or angst and fear in the modern age

I don't think I have ever fit in and maybe that's just my view of me and maybe everyone feels like that and I am just a dork. Well I know I'm a dork that goes without saying. I just put in a Chet baker cd so this post might get a little maudlin and that is kind of the mood I've been in lately so brace yourself. Growing up I did ballet everyone else did little league my parents had cocktails before dinner and we never ate before 7:30 my friends drank soda and were finished with dinner by 6pm. But being a square peg has been a major building block to my personality and one to be honest I am proud of. I don't want to fit in I never have. I am 43 years old and most days I still wear all black. Its just what I am comfortable in. I'm not saying I'm cool because I'm pretty sure I'm not and that too is okay..... Okay what does any of this have to do with trying to grow vegetables?

There are so many people that I have either come into contact with locally or through reading peoples blogs that are doing what I am trying to do in concept either on a much bigger scale or even a smaller scale and everyone is freaking 30 years old. OMG what the hell why did you all figure out what you wanted to do so many years before I did. What did you get that took me longer to get? I have lived here for 8 years why did it take me so long to figure it out? Why do I always feel like I missed the freaking bus? But on the other hand I am so happy all these young brilliant people are doing what they are doing reading their blogs about their own struggles is so inspiring I mean these kids are freaking working. Its freaking awesome.

So I walk around mumbling to myself you don't have sheep you don't have goats you don't offer a csa you don't have acres and acres you cant weed efficiently to save your life so what are you doing here? The fear and loathing sometimes get very loud in my head and then I have to take a deep breath and say you are doing what you are doing because growing vegetables on your little plot of land makes you unabashedly happy. So I have to yell at myself and say who gives a shit what anyone else is doing what is important is that you are doing what you want to do and do it the best you can even if it means you fail a lot. But failing ain't so bad I learn a lot from doing stupid stuff probably not when I'm doing whatever it is that is stupid or silly but later I usually learn. Well sometimes at least.

I guess I just would like to find the clubhouse labeled 40 somethings who have kinda figured it out but most likely probably not.