Sunday, February 19, 2012

And a week suddenly passes

Kerouac & Happy frolicking in the snow. 

Okra & Cosmos in the snow.

The fog came in waves across the empty fields.
 It's been nearly a week since I've last posted. I'm not exactly sure what I've done during this past week. I mean, I'm sure I did plenty: I read a lot, I cooked some food, I caught up on television sitting on our DVR, I worked on a puzzle, I visited with friends, I got a job. This past fall, I got a job at a local call center. I was told it would be mostly customer service, but it was mostly sales, which is something that I just can't do. And I lasted just about four months at it. Since then, I have been looking for work, and procrastinating looking for work. But the temp agency I worked for before called and said they had a job that is really customer service, and would I be interested in interviewing. So next Monday, I'll start doing work as a tech support agent for a local telecommunications company. I'm not thrilled about the hours (I'll be working until ten o'clock at night, and on weekends), but these hours will mean I'll still be able to garden and sell at the farmers' market this summer. Important things to consider. I may not see Rich for dinner daily like we've grown used to, nor will I see my friends as often as I'd like, but I need to be working, and it seems like I'll enjoy the job. So I have one more week before it starts. I've got a lot of work to do before I start working. I'm hoping to get flats built to start seeds in soon. I'm hoping to finalize my seed orders and get the seeds on their way. I've spent a lot of the past week with my head buried in seed catalogs, dreaming about summer... I have to admit that when I picture the plants growing, I tend to picture a weed-free, pest-free world of perfectly ripe fruit, abundantly growing. I know that the reality is often quite different. But when we open a jar of BBQ sauce, or canned tomatoes, or fruit preserves, all the work that went into growing that food is realized: it is worth it. The ability to eat food, real food, locally grown without pesticides, or chemicals, or genetically-modified seeds is so worth it. And I know that with my taking a full-time job, the garden may be more like a hobby garden this year, and not a full-scale farm. Yet.

I've been reading a book called "Growing a Farmer" by Kurt Timmermeister. He's a man who owned and operated restaurants for many years in Seattle before becoming a farmer full time. He has a small dairy and makes and sells his cheeses. He also raises hogs and chickens for food, and keeps a garden as well. While I do imagine making my own cheeses some day, the aspect of his life that really excites me are the weekly dinners he offers on his farm. Every Sunday (I'm not sure if it's just during the growing season or not), he opens up his kitchen for a meal made entirely from food from his farm: honey, meat, dairy and vegetables. This is something I've talked about with friends, and if it's possible to do, would be something I would love taking on sometime. One of the great things I am being reminded about in this book is that the transition to farming is not done overnight. It took him ten years from the time when he bought the run-down farm on Vashon Island, working on the farm on his rare days off from his restaurant until the time he was able to make a living from his land.
If you look closely in the shade, you can see it's frosty.
Taking a job that will likely relegate the garden from being my primary source of income to a secondary, possibly, hobby status, for one year is not a big deal in the long run. It's a necessary step, really, for me to earn more money than the garden can, so I can invest in making the garden profitable. I will still be a lucky, lucky man: able to spend mornings in the cool & quiet of the garden. I will still be able to sell my produce at the market, which was something I really enjoyed doing last year. And I'll be able to can and preserve as much food as possible throughout the growing season so we can enjoy it all year long. I'm trying to stay positive, and not focus on any of the negatives, because frankly, the negatives are really shadowed by the positives.
As I said, in some ways, I don't know how the week disappeared. Weather-wise, it was a week all over the place. It snowed, it rained, it thundered, we had fog and some of the fog froze to the ground. It was warm and it was cold. The crocus are still blooming, and have been joined by even more of their yellow friends. The birds have been particularly enjoyable this week. Flocks of crows in the empty corn fields, cardinals and finches and woodpeckers at the bird feeder. The ominous shadow of a buzzard over the house...
Hopefully a week won't pass until my next post. And hopefully I'll have made progress toward getting ready for this year's garden.

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