holiday-ing farm-ing fools.

24 days into a 25-day holiday from farm work and the guilt of days filled with self indulgent laziness has overtook. well, it overtook about 20 days ago but i was still too dedicated to the holiday to write to you. i asked last week (was it actually 2 weeks ago??)  if farming and holidaying could be reconciled. when i wrote that, i had the inkling it could be...last week i was not so positive. and today i gather Yes and No.

its been 24 days since i've awoken to the rooster's cry. since i've raced the sun across the lower garden to rescue ripened tomatoes and perfectly sized okra, eggplant, and fragrantly screaming melons. over three weeks since i've filled a pigs wallow or combed a donkey's back or packed the v-dub full to hawk our wares at the nearest town.

i grew accustomed to a life of leisure this august with an appalling ease reserved ---one would imagine-- for a woman not seriously applied to life as a Farmer. it is appalling. and alarming. what does it say about our future in such a physically and mentally demanding field if we schedule it as such to be spoiled mercilessly rotten one month every year?

i can say to you that the idleness of holiday, whilst welcome in my bones and deepest muscles, has not stopped my mind from attempting to bring the farm to vacation. we've sought after pigs and cows and chickens and gardens in canada and the cape and now here in boston. i've had mom kayak with me over to the next island with a bag of compost to feed pigs. this morning we had our toe-headed nephews picking tomatoes and chard and squash with us in the garden next door. nick has moved them on to blueberries for this evening's cobbler. we've walked, hiked, biked, and driven anywhere we can to find eggs up to farm-snob snuff.

the time with family has been invaluable. that much is obvious. that much might not be so desperately needed in the coming years now that we live near our most precious people. the time to sleep in, rest bones, think about the evening's cocktails and eat processed foods. the time to spend with your boyfriend, your love, your partner, without worrying and stressing about the farm. it is all welcome. it is all needed. we need to have some measure --however small-- of balance in our lives so that we don't burn out in this life. that may seem like a form of betrayal to the sincerity of this life.  it may seem convenient or spoiled, but i can tell you, from one hard year on the farm that a form of Time Away is paramount. 

but the time away from the animals needs to be done with a more thoughtful execution. nick and i feel such deep gratitude to our family and our friends who have helped us care for our flock this summer. we were so desperate to get out of the hot south. off the farm. into the nurturing holds of our families that we didn't dedicate enough effort to the acclimation of every animal and we paid dearly for our haste. we lost our sweet rocco-cat to the cape and we are culpable. it is on us for dragging him all around. next summer. i will not let the anxiety...the intoxication of the prospect of a holiday overcome. next summer we will take fewer days and do more preparation. because we are Farmers now. and a Farmer cannot take weekends or holidays or sick days like s/he was accustomed to taking. and a Farmer has to remember that s/he is responsible to the flock...to the crops first. rest can come. rest does come. and should come. but it needs to come in different shapes and sizes than it did before.

and so here you have my thoughts. that took me the better part of three weeks to form. that farming and holidaying are not and should not be exclusive of each other but their relationship needs to be reworked and tinkered with, just like everything on a good farm. now to enjoy the penultimate day of vacation.


  1. Life is always about finding balance, I guess. And as much guilt that you feel for having a month off, what is life without time to just enjoy yourself fully?

    This one month of the year will make the rest of your year that much better. It will carry you in a sense-the memories from this August & the anticipation for the next.

    Beautiful photos!

  2. I love your blog. I come from a long line of farmers, and it's interesting seeing your transition into one. To be successful, your farm comes first, always. Your animals and crops that depend on you come first, always. But, farmers are really good at helping one another out to get time off. Count yourself lucky you were able to get time off so early in the game. Enjoy it all; it's a life that is slowly being consumed by mechanism and people moving ever too fast.


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