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Reaching for Sunflowers

I love this recent photo of me and a volunteer sunflower growing in the middle of one of our vegetable fields.




Even though I look older in it than I I like to think of myself as, it makes me smile for several reasons . . .

It calls to mind all the times my family teases me about being short.


They think they're soooo funny, looking down at me from their pretentious heights and trying to outdo each other with their puns about my view of the world from "down" here. Lol.

I pretend to be miffed, while the truth is, I revel in their attention and affection for me.


I'm just fine being the short one.




The photo's also a visual reminder to me that we, especially Bill, Aidan, and I, are inspired to continuously push ourselves to farm better.


Better for us, better for you, better for the land and all its inhabitants, both

above ground and below.


But

Sometimes it's hot.

Sometimes we get discouraged.

Sometimes we wonder why we're driven to work so hard?

Of course, there are practical reasons we do it.


We want to eat delicious food free of dangerous chemicals and from animals that have a good life.

Like others, we have bills to pay, and we are lucky enough to own a farm.

We like working together.

The farming lifestyle is familiar since both Bill, and I grew up on farms.


No two ways about it, growing food for us and others just makes logical sense.


And if we want to get a little philosophical, most likely, our beliefs and thoughts about ourselves - the good ones and the maybe the not-so-good ones - make it so also. That's a topic to ponder on a different day though..


But we can't forget the power of our addiction to being connected to nature.


We gain so much from it.


Besides receiving many physical benefits like fresh air, vitamin D, and exercise (sometimes we walk miles in a day, especially when we forget a basket or a tool back at the shed) we gain knowledge from watching and mimicking nature's real-life in-front-of-our-eyes undeniable and unforgettable lessons.


Some examples of this are:

  • Seeing more worms, microbial, and fungal activity in our soil; the good effects from reducing tillage and increasing organic matter.

  • Finding flea beetle damage resulting from covering arugula crops during this year's dry spring.

  • Witnessing the rapid green growth of desired vegetables, and undesired weeds alike, as the long days of summer approached.

  • Watching a mother hen drop her wings to provide cover for her newly hatched chicks to dart under and away from from the barn cats as she scratches for bugs behind the barn.

  • The increase in the bees honey production when we decide to graze the hayfield close to their hives instead of baling.

Successes and failures provide learning opportunities rich with new information to glean.

Yes, it's the middle of the summer, and life is wonderful, amazing, yet often challenging and overwhelming too.


Sweaty, hot bean picking + abundant green beans = shared experience, tasty food, knowledge and a sore back!.


It's all that, AND we still GET to KEEP reaching for more.


More experiences, more learning, more good food, more sharing with you.


More Life.


So we keep feeding this nature addiction by being present in the right now, while remembering what came before, and choosing to stretch for what's ahead just like my short self reaching for that sunflower.


🌻















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