I did the math this evening — we’ve now been inhabiting this bit of land in some way for just over seven years. That seems like an appropriate amount of time to have passed before feeling a need to freshen everything up.
This week we launched a big clean up / tie up loose ends project on the farm and in our home. We’ve been making lists upon lists of all those minor annoying details that have blended into the wallpaper (but that our subconscious still very much sees everyday). And, then, we’re dealing with them. That old power meter from the well that was leaning against our cooler for the last two years? Gone! The gravel that was 90% cleaned up from a building project we abandoned two years ago? Cleaned up and used to fill in a pothole. That nursery cart that has been sitting under our pear tree for sevens years, never to be used once? Gone!
It goes on and on, and we will be busy with this big project for many weeks. It’s happening in our home too. I am trying, in effect, to simulate what we would do if we were to move. Casey and I moved many times in the early years of our marriage, and those frequent moves forced us to keep our possessions to a minimum. We only owned what we used (we lived in small spaces too, which helped). But now that we’ve stopped moving around as much, it’s much easier for things to naturally pile up. I’ve done a few big purges over the years, but there are always blindspots or areas I just can’t get to. We’re addressing those now. For example, this weekend I packed up twelve boxes of books (and three of magazines) to move on to other homes. We retained just the most relevant ones — kids’ books we regularly read and love plus books that are immediately relevant to Casey and my life right now.
Book lovers will know how emotional this kind of purge can be. When all those books were still on the three large bookshelves in my office, it served as an easy reminder of who we are. I could just look and see our interests and works easily represented before me: farming, parenting, birth, home education, writing … there it was, who we are.
But. Do we need that? Do we need four shelves of farming books to remind ourselves that we. are. farmers. ???? Maybe not anymore. Each and every one of those books had a story tied up with it of course — where we were in our life when we read it for the first time. I still remember buying our first “farming book” back in 2004 — it was Eliot Coleman’s The New Organic Grower, which Casey and I picked up on a visit to Bellingham (when we were living near Chelan). I remember sitting with Casey on the bed at the B & B where we were staying and poring over the pages, feeling as though we were being offered precious secrets about a life we yearned for. It was sweet, and we learned so much from that book. And, then, we grew beyond what it had to offer and began to see its major limitations. And, then, it sat on our shelf for years, untouched. So it goes.
I am realizing that this is how it is with Things. Casey and I both have strong frugal streaks (which is part of how this farm ever Came To Be), and I often believe that I need to hold on to things in order to best value them. But lately I have realized that life is a journey and the things (and people) that we need in one part of life may not be what we need in the next. To hold on to things past their relevancy is a form of stagnation. There can be some mourning for what is past, but to be truly alive, we must welcome that flowing river of change and new experiences.
And so, we purge. And tie up loose ends. And make room for a fresh gust of air and energy to move through our farm and home in this new season. After seven years of letting those loose ends go (not all of them, but enough that it has added up) it feels insanely good to address these things. Last fall Casey told everyone on the farm that the “theme” of the winter would be “maintenance.” Because, for perhaps the first time ever, we were going into winter without anything majorly new in the works — no building projects, no new enterprises, no new babies. Finally, we can really fully catch our breath, filling our lungs with the goodness of fresh air. We are excited to see what comes with all this closure — what new doors open. We don’t intend to add any new enterprises or new buildings in the near future, so perhaps that new experience will be something of another dimension entirely. Who knows? We don’t feel the need to know exactly where we are headed but to trust that what we have set in motion over all these prior years will continue to bear good fruit. Perhaps we are just making room for ourselves to enjoy it in a deeper way.
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
~ ~ ~
Important note for the Veggie CSA! Starting this week, we are going to move the end time of the Veggie CSA pick-up to 6 pm. Historically, very very very few people have arrived after 6 pm, and Casey would love to leave for home just a little bit earlier. Realistically, this won’t affect many (or any) folks, but thanks for rolling with the first change in our CSA schedule ever! Woah!
~ ~ ~
Meet this week’s vegetables:
- Winter squash — Your choice between a few types of large winter squash, which Casey will cut up into household portions. If you don’t want to make those muffins I’ve been raving out, try our other favorite preparation method: roast and then puree with a bit of butter or cream (and salt to taste). We eat this as a tasty sidedish and love it. You can really appreciate the flavor of a good squash when it served in such a simple method.
- Parsnips — Rusty is super into parsnips right now. He would eat them at every meal if he could. We usually just roast them. I chop them into bite sized pieces and put them on a sheet pan with butter and roast at 425° until they are crispy outside and soft inside. It’s quite the treat to eat at a meal. Casey and I feel like we are eating candy for dinner! Wonder why Rusty loves them so much?