As the year wraps up and Winter presents itself, we at LotFotL, will attempt to take a long deep breaths, allowing our minds and bodies to truly relax for a while. Although, between holiday festivities, next seasons planning, winter marketing, part time jobs, and a car accident thrown in for good measure, that breath may not be as long and deep as we had hoped. Never the less, reflecting on our first year together on this property brings a proud smile of admiration and heartfelt gratitude knowing my partner and I are driven to build and grow this farm into something, successful and self sustaining; a tiny place on Earth that strives for environmental harmony, community contributions, and a healthy life for all. Christmas and Winter Solstice, both, in their own language, remind us of hope and peace and the promise of light. Here at the farm we know all to well, that the light and new life of spring will soon be upon us. Until then, may you and your family have a joyful winter and holiday season, taking time for relaxation, rejuvenation, and letting go, making space for the new in the upcoming year.
Tim and I have slowed our pace as the CSA season has ended, but are far from hibernation. I continue to work on wrapping up the fiscal year and winter marketing, while Tim does the last of bundling up the land for its winter sleep. You may also see both of us, supplementing our winter income, with part time work at Good Harvest Market. It seems, with life, especially on a farm, there is always something that doesn’t quite get done in time because something else takes priority. But, I am learning to take things in stride while I continuing to breath, a rhythmic flow is what we hope for and that does not have to spell perfection. In the midst of our winter preparations, we were also involved in a car accident, leaving us achy and scared, but fine. It did however, total my car. Breath…find a rhythm….flow…hopefully tomorrows chiropractor visit will help with that. We will continue to clean up and get rid of what we know longer need for the year, both mentally and physically; on the farm and in our personal lives.
Next years crop plans are something that we both are exciting about working on together. In the past, I was never involved in this process, because I was busy with a non farm job. With a season behind me, fully submerged in farm, I am excited to approach this part of the job. Tim will have a year of getting to know this property more intimately, seeing what really thrives in these soils, and observing the habits of the land. With so much of the first years building and set up finished, we can now focus on improvements and growth and solid future planning. Visions of our 2012 season dance in our heads like the sugar plums from the night before Christmas.
LotFotL and it’s members have made numerous food donations to local community hunger organizations this season, including a Community Thanksgiving meal and a number of homeless shelters. We would like to thank the generous donations from members that helped to support the local food movement, kept food and money in the community, and made living healthy food available to those in need this year. LotFotL continues to look for ways to give back to the community, sharing in our abundance, especially at this time of year.
In the middle of my first year as a full time LotFotL employee, I experienced a great deal of growing pains, both in my career change and my relationship with Tim. Although, I don’t like to admit that I am still a control freak, I am. I continue to work on letting go, and the farm is a great teacher for this. Tim and I have sharpened our communication skills and practiced patience with each other. Tim has developed both stronger financial disapline and crew management skills. Our list of experiences and lessons learned this last year is practically unending and our gratitude for them overflowing, especially for the support and encouragement from our members.
This year we uprooted ourselves, our pets, employees and our perennials, and managed to replant all of it in an entirely new community. We were able to transform an old milking parlor into a suitable vegetable packing shed, we build and then rebuild a greenhouse, and put up 4 hoop houses and found ways to get water to them. We watched crops succeed and other crops fail. Despite mother natures tall obstacles we were able to come through on our promise to harvest, pack and deliver 26 weeks of CSA shares. We built a thriving happy Honey Bee Sanctuary. We eked together enough equipment to get us through the year, and somehow kept most of it running. We were intimately involved in the lives of the animals that were raised on the property, sharing in the joys and laughter of that, as well as the heart wrenching realities it can bring. We enjoyed the numerous social events; a bee blessing, potlucks, a farm meal with the Slow Food group of Southwest Wisconsin, in addition to hosting school groups, church groups and more. We floated through the financial ebbs and flows that come with this business, taking leaps of faith together, letting go of the shore and riding the current with optimistic outlooks. We end this season with a few more tricks in our bags and, we believe, are better farmers for it.
We wish all of you the joy-est of seasons. May you feel surrounded by blessed love. As the days shorten and the nights grow longer, may you experience the promise of the light to come, in your own special ways. Now is the time for dormancy. Take time to breath and reflect. Take time to release the old and unneeded. Take time to celebrate family, friends, and community, and the love that we all share. We thank you for being part of our life and for letting us be part of yours. Have a blessed holiday and new year.