The Starter Farm

Kindred spirit

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I fell in love today.  No my marriage is not ending nor am I in jeopardy of having an affair.  I met a kindred spirit of the farming/gardening type that one is immediately drawn to as a goose recognizing a member of its flock.  I sometimes stop myself when in conversation with “normal folk” talking about farming.  I slip into this rhythm, assume the audience is as fascinated with goat behavior, the life cycle of a carrot or whatever farm stuff is keeping me up at night and then catch myself and make some lighthearted excuse about my “farm dork talk.” I am so fortunate to have the farm and love the life so much that I always wonder if in talking about it does it sounds braggy.  My friends have truthfully reassured me that the love part comes through and she was no different.

            I knew I was going to like her.  She sent heirloom tomato seeds before her arrival and I immediately knew she was farm kinfolk.  Upon her arrival, she went in for the full bear hug and greeted me like a long lost friend.  Her warm soothing southern drawl filled the room like the scent of warm apple pie baking in the oven.  She liked wine, tomatoes, and animals.  What other requirements did she need for my instant friendship?  She was a painter, writer and the type of person you moved closer to hear every word in her storytelling.  The term Renaissance woman came to mind with the spirit of a pioneer able to tackle anything before her.  I loved how inquisitive she became on subjects that she had little familiarity of, always an attractive trait in people.  We spent the weekend walking the fields, talking endlessly of plants and did a brief stint of clipping goat nails.  (Not many of my friends volunteer to assist in this job).

            I guess depending on your likes, everyone is attracted to people that share common interests.  In reality, we are drawn to them, share our life with them and make sure they stay in touch.  Are we all just sheep looking for our flock? 

            We have many visitors to the farm but not all of them get into the actually farm part.  It reminds me of one trip to Italy to a “working farm/B&B” in Chianti.  We arrived and they wanted to show me the accommodations but in reality I just wanted to tour the farm.  The proprietors made the mistake of telling this farm dork about a trip to the butcher to break down the lambs that were sent the day before for culling and I begged them to include me.  No, I am not some sicko but I thirst for knowledge on food and animal husbandry.  My friends back home stared in horror and disbelief in my vivid retelling of this trip to the butcher in Chianti as if I had witnessed the birth of Christ.  We were fortunate enough to have a famous Italian chef there who walked us through their process of making a world-renowned prosciutto from a special breed of pig.  Like I said, a trip of a lifetime!

            In this same visit, I discovered farming does not have a language barrier.  I was introduced to Patricia, the farm gardener who spoke not a lick of English to my very limited Italian.  (I know how to say eat and wait in the language thanks to my grandma).  Yet we toured and communicated throughout my trip around the farm like gardening was our first and only needed language. We are now Facebook friends.

            I find myself looking for teachers for this farming life.  I am starting to surround myself with those who can impart their knowledge and I try to absorb it like a sponge.  I realize I can learn from their mistakes, improve my farming practices and in the process gain mentors and friends from my experiences.  I look forward to planting my new heirloom tomato seeds from the South and the newfound friendship of a fellow plant geek.  Happily in this continuing adventure, I’ve learned the useful Italian phase for “Run, you just walked into a bee hive you idiot!” and the spirit of a true Texas greeting.

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