Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wearing it on My Sleeve

I actually find that I have quite a few "emotional" moments out on my farm. From watching a foal, just minutes after it was born, rise to its feet, to burying an old "friend" who's day came, to wishing my father would have been around to see our first, truly bountiful spring harvest and get to taste the fruit of my efforts, after watching me struggle for so long and not seeing the value in the "weeds" we harvested in the winter, such as bok choi - those moments are still tough - to the simple joys of needing to bring the tractor out to the gardens because I can't possible carry back all that I've harvested from seeds I'd sown with my own hands.

I don't generally share all of those moments on this blog, because, well, they are my moments and this is a farming blog. But it is about "Life on the Farm" and these moments are a part of this life I've created here for myself on the farm. So, at risk of boring anyone, here is a peek at today's "moment", and who knows, just maybe it will touch or inspire someone.

Susan and Brandon Pollard are beekeepers and friends of mine. They are the ones who dress up like honeybees and bee keepers and advocate on behalf of honeybees - rescuing hives and growing up new colonies and then fostering them out all over the Dallas area - zip code honey and Texas Honeybee Guild, you've heard of it, right? Well, a few months ago, I was very blessed. They decided to put 5 bee hives here at Eden's. Wow! I was so touched as I know there are a lot of other places they could be putting them, but I graciously accepted the bees and a learning colony for the training of apprentices was created here at the farm. It was a great day for Eden's Garden to say the least. (80% of your crops are bee pollinated!)

Today they came to the farm, apprentice in tow, to "check on the bees". I was working in the gardens and didn't go back to the hives with them - besides, they were going to "suit up" and I thought I'd just as soon not be part of that little party. Having met up with a red wasp and a bumble bee within 2 weeks of each other this summer, I'm feeling a bit, er, ah, cautious shall we say about purposely exposing myself to that environment at the moment. There are enough of them flying around my gardens and I love them - but I don't need to go knock on their front doors! The swelling on my arm just finally went down two days ago!

After they did whatever it is they do to "check on the bees", they stopped by the gardens on their way back. Susan handed me something and said "Marie, here is your first taste of your own land." She was giving me a piece of the honey comb, complete with a glob of honey oozing out of it. She repeated that this was what my land tasted like, as she invited me to suck on the comb and taste the honey on it.

As I tasted that sweet, earthy, richness - it brought me to tears. Indeed, I was tasting - Eden. Now, some of you know the story, so forgive the repeat. But for the rest of you to understand why the simple taste of honey would make what many think is a tough farm-girl cry, let me try to explain....

Several years ago in one of my weekly small group meetings from my church, a friend gave me a scripture out of the Old Testatment to encourage me. It starts in Ezekiel 36, where it is describing Israel of course, but often times we apply the lessons/messages to our own lives and I have no problem with that. (How often do we relate to a song?)!

Someone had shared the scripture with her and her husband as they were experiencing some of life's "issues" and she found comfort in it and felt led to share it with me - not having any idea what I was in the process of doing here on my ranch - but knowing I was hoping for some direction with my business ideas.

If you take a look at that scripture, starting in about verse 6 of chapter 36, and liberally change some of the language from nations to peers or mountains to pasture, etc., you might be able to see how it could help someone feel better about a difficult situation they found themself in. This place had once been a thriving business, no, not a farm, but nonetheless - work with me here - and many had told me how bad things were and that it was such a shame the place was so empty now, etc.

It goes on to say that, and I paraphrase again, despite all of the things I'd done wrong, or not done, etc., things would be ok - turn out right, I'd be shown mercy. And, when it gets to verse gets real personal. It was one of those moments when someone says exactly the right thing at the right time to you and you know, you just KNOW it was meant for you to hear it. Verse 35 named my farm - the name I had already picked out and was calling the recently opened community gardens;

v34"The fields that used to lie empty and desolate - a shock to all who passed by - will again be farmed. v35 "And when I bring you back, people will say "This godforsaken land is now like EDEN'S GARDEN!".

And as Susan handed me that peice of honeycomb and told me again to "taste your land, taste Eden's Garden." - I lost it. Talk about a "moment".
And Susan, I daresay, had not ever heard that story - but she will read about it soon.

Well, after that, we walked around as I showed them all what was growing, what their bees had help to pollinate, and we heard a squeaking - uh oh - was it a bird? No, in fact, it came running out of the brush towards us - it was......

Shall we call her, "Eden"?

and I've tagged her "Eden". At least for now, until I hopefully find her a good home and someone chooses to change it. Solomon and Eve are not likely to take too kindly to a youngster - Eve has already made it clear she wants no part of the little one. A shame she can't stay here, but I would feel badly for her to be isolated from my other 2 cats. This is a farm with coyotes and hawks, 4ft wing spanned owls that swoop down in the night (and cause your sturdy and wonderful guard-barn cat to disapear, yes, I'm afraid so...), and not a place for a loner kitty.

So, if you want your own little piece of Eden, and can convince me you'll let this precious little one live in your home, not declaw her but will have her spayed - just in case she gets out and to save your own sanity - she may just go home with you for a small donation to KittyCo (or your favorite low cost spay/neuter, no-kill shelter). See, I also have 2 male cats living in my house and needless to say, the chemistry is just perfect at the moment and if you've ever had male cats, you know what happens when you "upset" isn't pleasant.

Yellow Moon & Stars Watermelon

In addition to all of that, I picked nearly 100 lbs of watermelon today - ok, so 1 weighed in at 24lbs by itself, but still! As well I picked over a half bushel of costata romenesco zucchini, 2 more Arava melons, some cucuzza, (warning - if you Google that, be sure to turn down your volume a bit, you'll be serenaded by Louis!) and a handful of little fingers eggplant and some assorted peppers. So, it was quite the day on the farm today.

I think it is time for some lemon basil pesto on market day bread, a wild summer greens salad with some of my stray, but hardy, cherry tomatoes that are hanging in there and wash it down with some lavender sun tea and one of Farmer Mary Gilstrap's peaches for desert!

I hope you had a great day, too. I know I did - and it is only 4 o'clock.

Eat Your Food - Naturally!