The other night I was lucky enough to be able to attend the launch party for Jenna Woginrich's new book "One Woman Farm" and in listening to her talk about the themes and variations of her life on her own farm it got me thinking about my own small dreams and how I have gotten where I am (for better or worse). I bought a copy for my mom too and after she had read it last night while the rest of us went out for dinner (she wasn't feeling well) we had a nice talk about what Jenna calls Barnheart and Jon Katz termed Farmache in his post the other day farmache-life-and-fantasy-on-a-farm. Which funny enough when I first saw his word for some reason I pronounced it in my head with a soft ending on the ache. So to me it sounded like a french affliction until I realized he meant ache. Yes i can be a bit of a dork sometimes. I also recently subscribed to the magazine Mother Jones really thinking I was going to get Mother Earth News I was very surprised when I got my first issue there was nothing about raising chickens.
My husband and I moved here from Connecticut just a little over 9 years ago. My parents had left Greenwich a year or two earlier and were living in Saratoga Springs. I have always loved saratoga I spent two summers up here as a kid attending the Briansky Ballet School at Skidmore College. We have family friends who worked at Skidmore and have one of those great houses on Union Avenue so I was lucky enough to spend time here throughout my life whether it was at the track or at the Ballet. I love this part of the country. After 9/11 and losing my job we decided to throw a hail mary and move north. A few months earlier while I was visiting the rents my Dad took me out for a drive along route 29 to visit Saratoga Apple and once I saw those distant mountains of Vermont I was hooked I knew I didn't want to live in Saratoga but I knew I wanted to be close by. There is one thing I have always wanted and that is land. I think it stems from growing up in a beautiful house in a rich town but the one thing we did not have is any land our house pretty much took up our 1/4 plot. All these themes came up in talking to my parents last night after dinner we always have good talks and this was one. My mom is still slightly puzzled why I choose to try and be a farmer in my small way I am sure it puzzles people all the time why would I choose to give myself a second job when I already have a full time job? Beat me. Oh I know why I do it I am only kidding I am one of those people that don't do anything without a list of reasons. I am a Virgo I cant help it. So why do I do it? Because right now in my life it is the only way I can get close enough to the dream of being a farmer. I do come by it honestly actually its in my blood my Mom reminded me that since her family came over on the Mayflower they have always been farmers well at least until the time of my great grandmother. So I guess I am the first person trying to get back to the old ways trying to leave the suburbs and go back to where we came from in the first place.
But I know myself well enough I am never going to be one of those lucky people who said enough forget it life is too short to work in a job that isn't what you want to do to have the balls to quit and go for it to go for the golden ring. Nope I am sorry that just isn't who I am I wish it was sometimes. But I am sleepless enough with my present worries I wouldn't sleep at all. But I sure do appreciate the people who do have the balls to do it who give the rest of us hope and the joy of watching someone else succeed at Barnheart or Farmache or what ever you want to call it that need to get back to nature to get back to the soil to produce food for yourself and to be responsible for yourself. Thank you Jenna you rock and thank you for letting us tag along on your journey and being honest enough to show the good and the bad the successes and the failures I think thats really important you have to share the whole story its the only honest way.
So since I cant or wont jump all the way into being a full-time farmer I spend almost all my free time growing vegetables for myself and market out of my 2 acre backyard. Luckily this small parcel of land (I would have thought it was the size of Africa growing up but now I realized it might not be enough) is in the midst of someone elses' 196 acre dairy farm and my yard is nice and flat with only a small amount of trees. This is my second year at market as "3 Dogs Barking Farms" and I think we are doing okay. Still have A LOT to learn but there are enough small successes to keep me from pulling out my hair and giving up. But I do have a plan of sorts for getting where I want to be to be able to do this full time or maybe more full time and working elsewhere part time. Hopefully over the next few years with the added income from farming we can reduce our debt and with the affordable health care act the corporate world can no longer tell me i have to work for them in order to get health care (take that you big meanies) and then maybe I can find a job that wont pay as much but would be closer to home giving me more time to grow things and then as the income from the farm increases maybe I will have to work off farm less and less. See it is a plan of sorts. So this is my own story of Barnheart and of Farmache and my small solution to getting part of dream if not the whole thing. Heres to hoping the rest of dream comes my way.
Guess what time for another nap its Fall people its Fall! And I am tired.