Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nearing the End


End of October.

Today was end of official farmer's market season at Grandin Village and Ikenberry's Orchard. The season has been long and tiring. I haven't had a weekend off from baking since very early April. The last two weeks have felt a bit like torture. The grueling final 100 yards of the marathon, aching, sweating, pain coursing through the body.

Well, I have never actually run a marathon so I have no idea what one feels nearing the end. But in the case of market season, it has been painful. Too many hours on my feet. Too many hours awake in a row. But with an end in sight.

After a week off we will return to the site of the market and make bread drop offs. We will deliver bread to people who order ahead of time. I am absolutely humbled and astonished at the loyal support of our customers. Today I felt loved and appreciated by our customers. They love our breads and other farm goods and are grateful for my labor and efforts. They want to see our farm succeed. They are kind and make me feel loved.

Sometimes at the end of a 20 hour work day I wonder why I do this job. I feel a bit jealous of those other gals and guys who get to put on nice clothes, have adult conversations and do important work. Work in a clean office. Work that makes a salary and garnishes respect. I occasionally feel a bit envious of those folks watching TV, hanging out at the restaurants, or listening to the musicians. But if I wait long enough I remember the reason I chose this vocation.

Farming? Vocation?

I think so, at least for me.

One of the reasons we moved to the farm was to create the opportunity to raise health filled food for our kids. I wanted them to have the opportunity to eat nutrient-dense foods that would build healthy bodies. I also wanted them to appreciate the value of real food, to know the cost of real food, to know how it gets from dirt to table. All about food but somehow very spiritual for me. So many verses in the Bible speak of food, the land, agriculture. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

After over 4 years on the farm those Bible lessons have become amazingly pertinent to us.

Real food has also become very pertinent to us.

When we eat it is an exercise in gratitude. When we prepare foods for others it is an opportunity to transfer blessings to others. Every baking day we pray that the people who need our breads will find their way to market. That our breads and meats and milks and veggies would bring nourishment to the bones of those who partake.

Today we enjoyed steel gray clouds, fleeting sunshine, pumpkins, princesses, giant banana children, dogs on leashes who love our cornbread, hugs, chats, plans and farewell until the next growing season. We shared abundance, enjoyed others' abundance, we reveled in community.

Customer seems like an inadequate description when I think about the relationship we have with our grain, the mill, the milk and honey, the steam, the oven, the smell of yeasty goodness, sweat, tears, vitamins, sunshine, butcher paper, and families sharing grilled cheese and peanut butter and family pizza night. Guess I feel silly trying to describe the emotions. I guess if I were to distill it, it gives me joy to work hard and produce something that nourishes another person's body and spirit. I am probably going to feel pretty silly when I reread these lines later on. But I want to remember that even though at times I get tired and want to quit and run away to a town job and paint my fingernails I don't really. It is a satisfying thing to have a job with a purpose. Eating food that comes from a real person instead of a factory is a good thing. On many levels.

So the marathon is important. The aches, the outpouring of energy and sweat. All help us to remember that there is a cost to making really good foods. If it were that easy, everyone would do it. I was designed to work hard. Trained well by my parents!

But, oh joy! Am I ever going to enjoy sleeping in next Friday morning!!!

BTW, Philip is being the wonder Dad, taking the kids to trick-or-treat with friends in town. Thomas is dressed up in his grandfather's suit and hat. What a handsome guy! Patrick is an army man, of course. Maggie is a Greek princess. She looks stunning. Rose is Laura Ingalls, Her braids and bonnet, her freckled nose and mischievous grin are perfect. Nora is an angel. Silvery white, wings, and very, very excited about all the candy which she assures me she will not eat in one sitting, but will enjoy one piece a day and make it last for a very long time. We shall see. And don't I wish you could see Philip! He made himself a body builder costume! He looks just like one of those cartoon body builder characters, barbells and everything! What a good sport!

I am going to watch a Spanish scary movie, El orfanato(The Orphanage), and go to sleep.

Guess I should mention that as we drove home from market today, I noticed that the fall colors are nearing their end. Maple trees have their feet planted in pools of molten gold. The ridge is dominated by tired grey tree trunks, getting a little rusty around the edges. The air today was warm. Sultry. Or sullen. Over 70 degrees in town and slightly weepy. Maybe it wants to burst into storm but is waiting for the children to get tucked inside to count the candy and divvy up. Kids are more than pleased that the forecasted rain has not made an appearance yet.

PS OK, I know this is getting long, but everyone is gone, the house is still and I am enjoying myself!

I wanted to note for the record that my children have been making fun of me behind my back. They told Philip they have been watching my dance moves with George, the Royal Palm turkey. George agressively approaches me, I back away, desperately looking for a stick to use in my defense. He gobbles. I threaten. I tell him I am going to eat him for Thanksgiving dinner and he puffs his feathers in a dare. I skirt around the yard, looking for a way to get to the house without being flogged. The children laugh at me from their safe position behind the windows in the breakfast room.

Thanks a lot.

I told them I wasn't afraid of George. I believed what I said until I noticed that even Nora commands more respect from George. She doesn't even carry a stick. Hmmmm. Whatever the case, he better watch out! Or I had better pick up some tips from Nora.


Anonymous said...

Wish I could see the kids and Philip all dressed up. They sound great. As one of the parents who taught you girls to work hard, rest while you can. The time you have with the people at the market is very wonderful, memory makers. It will be something the kids will remember forever. What you and Philip are doing with the kids is building some very special people. That didn't sound right grammatically but oh, well, love Mom

Anonymous said...

Oh Goodness!! George DOES sound like he is asking to be put in the freezer. I never meant for that to be the case. Just Do It. Honestly. One should not have to watch one's back constantly.

Love ya, Julie

Jeff said...

Just a thought - animals can sense fear, on many levels. If you were to approach George as the animal in charge, I'll bet he'd back down. Maybe that is what is working in Nora's favor - she isn't afraid of him on any level.

I sure do enjoy reading your blog - it is so enlightening on so many levels. Thanks for sharing.

Beth said...

Please promise that you will not feel silly when you reread your post. Your words are very inspiring. Believe me when I say that there are a great many of us with "regular" jobs who truly appreciate what people like you do, and that you care so much.

CountryDew said...

Some great writing and vivid language in there. I enjoyed reading it. said...

Thanks, Mom!

Julie, no worry, he won't go in the freezer. I have too many great ambitions for him. I want baby turkeys next year! And he truly is decoration for the farm. Just need to move him away from the house. And take lessons from Nora! Jeff is totally correct. He can sense my fear from yards away!

Thanks for reading, Jeff! And Beth! And Anita!

As I wrote this post I thought of so many other jobs, like the teachers, the mothers and fathers, the writers, the hair stylists, the bankers (the good ones) and the many many other professions out there that will really make a grand difference in the lives of others if taken seriously as a vocation. How we view our job can make all the difference. I hope others will be inspired to see their job as an opportunity.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Oh you are doing a wonderful job! I so admire the way you run your farm and take care of your family. All jobs are important but this is much better than working in an office. Now just go and take a rest!