In Between Seasons: Spring Edition

Being faithful to the present moment.

In May of 2021, I’m finding myself in another transitional period. The weather is fickle, one day temps rise to the 80s and on others, we have lows of 34. It’s rainy yet a drought. Vegetables are planted, yet not producing. Chickens are broody, yet not hatching. 

Broody hen sits in nesting box.

My attempt to winter a geranium was a success. I recently remembered the half-hearted project hibernating in the root cellar, upon returning to the light it seems to be sprouting new leaves. I look forward to the return of its bright red flowers.

Nick and I are now permanently full-time on the farm. By the end of August, we will have springing heifers at home, with a dairy parlor at the ready for when they calf. Rounding out the experience for customers will be a small farm shop selling raw milk (A2A2/grass-fed), grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, and farm-fresh, free-range eggs. The marketing plan is simple, sell directly from the farm to people that want nutritious food from a guy they know.

The products are simple too, straight-up dairy/chicken/beef raised using regenerative farming practices. It’s funny to me that the more natural the product, the more complicated the labeling. I’ve become extremely frustrated by many grocery store products, standing for long periods of time in front of the many egg options (vegetarian fed chickens, but are they cage-free? Free Range?)

Ultimately, opening a farm shop is a way to get food to people that are similarly annoyed confused OVER Big-Ag’s factory farming practices and misleading labels. It’s for those that just want a simple source of meat, dairy, and eggs.

The positive side to this adventure is the fact that the assortment of screws laying in various buckets in the garage is finally being sorted through. As a person that believes themself to be a minimalist, it’s amazing how many loads I can haul to the donation center (or recycling center). 

Barreling down a new direction seems to force you to reorganize priorities- both tangible and not. It’s easy enough to have anxieties about what you leave behind and what lies in store ahead. But a wise man once said, “We must be faithful to the present moment, or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives.”

All in all, the newborn calves continue to grow, finding new patches of tall grass to hide in and getting leggier by the day. I check my broody hen morning and night to see if she will persevere through 21 days of sitting and hatch some chicks. I keep alternating between needing a jacket and needing sunscreen.

It seems the only thing a girl can do is continue to pull on her muck boots each morning and work on one pillar of cult, culture, and cultivation at a time. Remembering, every once in a while, to stop and inspect the geranium.

Calves stand under brush with mom nearby.
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This post was written by Annie Schmitz, May 2021.

Annie standing in front of the garden after collecting tons of tomatoes.

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