6-28-16

Great day. It’s easy to have a great day when you visit one of your happy places. Today I was able to take my gang out to Grade A Gardens in Johnston, Iowa. I had worked there, three previous Community Supported Agriculture seasons. It was a tremendous experience. One that solidified my second great passion in life, gardening (maybe there are other competing passions now that I think about it).

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Summer Squash

 

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Summer Squash Blossoms
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Squash, Note the bad ass Pattypan Squash at the bottom

I was in my second year of backyard gardening when I volunteered out here. Each week I woke up early Thursday went out and experienced the life of a farmer. Cut zinnias, caught apples, dug potatoes, planted potatoes, and a thousand other things. Weeding, bees, chickens, foraging wild mushrooms, see once I get going I just can’t stop.

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A Sea of Garlic, Soon to be Harvested

 

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Garlic, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, Celery, Oh Yeah!
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Up-close Peppers
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Early Zinnia

One part of the rewarding CSA experience was working with my farmer buddy, Jordan. In him I see the perfect mixture of Artist and Hustler. Someone whose soul was in tune with the Beautiful and the Good, but it also on the hunt for profit. He is one of those people that you meet that has such a positive and influencing way about themselves. Always kind and welcoming to new people, hard working, good humored. His farm was the perfect introduction to the larger business of organic farming. He is a textbook example of someone doing what they love and succeeding in it. I think that combination leads to epic bounties and a happy life.

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Onions

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Sharing that space with my children today was awesome. We have dreams of packing it all up and going country. Our two littlest are too young to have much say, but soon to be first grader Chay has been a little shy on the idea. Well after chasing chickens and sorting some eggs, he is convinced. Farms, goats, chickens, a bunch of land to run around and adventure on, what’s not to love!

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Apples

I heard about this article the other day, headline was like, Increased Outdoor Time Proven to Provide Mood Boost. First thing I did was shake my head. It sounded like one of those made up, almost Onion type headlines, or this other type of Orwellian news story we seem to be dealing with these days, where old news is regurgitated and weakened ad naseum, pause. But I read enough to realize that nope, some brainiacs got together, spent a bunch of resources, did some science, and were sharing it with the world. Smart-dumb people, I like to call them, the overspecialized technicians and statisticians , that can’t see the forest for the trees.

Anyone who as ever had the experience of being stressed in a routine, in the city, and then takes a hike or whatever in Nature, can tell you Nature is awesome! It calms the heart rate, clears the mind, dissipates tension. And if you don’t give a damn about your broken soul, and crushing anxiety, think about the children! Again, I don’t need some scientist to tell me, children’s emotional and cognitive function are greatly improved by time and exercise outdoors.

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Sorting Eggs
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Taking Tractor For a Test Drive

We are built to experience the world. Confined domestic, city spaces, and even digital spaces don’t cut it. Give us the space and experience we need. And now, I will get off my soapbox here and stop before this becomes a rant against TV and I-PADS (they really did nothing to us, we allowed them in). Let’s just leave it at, before kids are given any sort of psychiatric classification or dope, how about we just increase there outdoor time, like twenty percent, two weeks, see how things are going…

 

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Giving the Chickens Some Old Greens
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The Birds

 

So yes, farm was incredible. When Britney and I discuss selling it all and buying the farm we each have different concerns, and as always the differences are very telling, and show the whole unique thing we got going on. My concerns were emotional, the point about Chay-Bobby missing his school, and his neighbor friends, and the house he grew up in. Britney’s were practical, how would we buy and sell this place, where to go, and just generally how would this insane plan go down!?

 

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First One to the Country Wins! (Gang lost their shoes in the first ten minutes, didn’t seem to miss them a bit!)

 

What I think is interesting and awesome, and shows the reversed Yin-Yang like flavor of our relationship, is that in so many ways her concerns are more stereo-typically masculine, while mine are more stereo-typically feminine. Paradox abounds. Now, I will back away from that, before I get entrenched in any of the current debates of ever evolving gender roles, but it’s interesting to note. The point is though, my main concern with huff it to the back-country plan has been removed. Thank you Grade A.

I got a good dose of her practical concerns too. Moreover, I’m pretty fond of our current homestead. I also like the idea and challenges of gardening in the city and plan to build a chicken coop one of these days. Like in the next two weeks, make it a goal! My day-lilies are just starting to pop. Here’s a taste of them!

 

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