A Season on the Farm, January

What a roller coaster this first month has been.  As many of you know, I’ve been through a number of changes over the last several months, culminating in my full time move to being a farmer.  Lots of things that I would do differently, lots of things that worked out much better than I would have thought.  Throughout it, the same verses kept popping into my head – To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.  While the Byrds made it melodic,  King Solomon wrote the lyric under the inspiration of God.  Might have wrote it for me for all I know, because it has been very handy in preparing for this time, and it is a perfect background to this months review.

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A time for everything:  I have enjoyed what many would consider a successful professional career.  By all measures there were still several years to go in that career, but for the last several years nagging questions have arisen.  Questions that revolve around purpose, time investment, and happiness.


Snow on the Holly Bush

I think the one that really got me was meetings.  When you think about a time for everything, meetings always conjured the image of a time to do nothing.  More and more time in more and more meetings, and less and less time connecting with people.


Sunset over the workshop, where I now hold rare meetings

While my professional career had started technical in nature, it had matured to more time with people, which I very much enjoyed.  One of the great joys in life is watching things grow and change, whether it is people or plants.  I’ve known a lot of great people, and had the joy to watch them morph to meet challenges that they didn’t think they could do.   I will always treasure those memories.

A Time to Plant:  January was a month of planting.  For Flower Farmers,  the most requested days for cut flowers happen early – Valentines, Easter, Mothers Day, and then wedding season.  As a result, we have been focused on getting seeds started.  I’m still struggling with keeping the right light, and keeping watered.  Every day, regardless of what else is going on, the flowers must be watered, and the seeds which have germinated must be moved under the lights.

 

Baby Larkspur in the greenhouse

Not only a time to plant physical things in dirt, but a time to plant ideas and motivation.   January was a month to read, listen to podcasts and research.  So many topics – drip irrigation, harvesting techniques for cut flowers, succession planning, germination tricks, and so many more.  Also a month to go to classes on flower farming.  But I also spent a lot of time learning about fears, about faith, about staying positive, and about helping others.


Freshly planted Spirea  dug from my parents land in Mississippi.

We plant for many reasons, and mentally planting – sowing ideas – is an important part of our growth as well.  The best way to insure that your garden doesn’t produce this summer is to not plant in the waning days of winter.  Same with your life, don’t plant new ideas, compassion or trust, and you end up with a head full of weeds.

A Time to Build:  As new farmers, we have been frantically making beds, and adding infrastructure.


Hoop House number one

We build not only for the plants, but also for the people.  When I left work, I setup a set of four lists that would be my focus.

  • What needs to be done to support the family financially
  • What needs to be done to the farm to make farming more efficient
  • What needs to be done to the house to make it more livable
  • What do I want to do that is fun

Most days something off of all of those lists gets done.  That is an incredible feeling when you look the boss in the eyes at the end of the day and say I’ve built a better tomorrow through industry today.  We have done some building in January.


Ripping Boards to use around the place


Fresh straw on one of the front beds

A Time to Be Silent:  Sometimes the quiet on the farm is overwhelming.  Coming from the city, there are often times when you hear nothing.  The parent takes over and you worry that no noise is worse than hearing noise – I remember when the twins were in the baby bed, and would get quiet.  Usually it meant someone was fixing to bite the other.

More times than I can count every day, I turn around and see something that I’ve seen a hundred times, but it just makes you stop and say wow!  Some examples, although photos do them no justice.


Sunset over the church


The super moon peaking through the black walnut above the greenhouse


A nice view of the neighbors horse farm in the late afternoon


Snow on the Magnolia near the Smokehouse

We have had our weather events this month as well.  We had several days where it was very cold, and we had a couple of snow days.  Those days are days to be silent, and reflect on what needs to be done.

A Time to Love:  While there have been more “times” this month – please don’t get me started on the “time to gather stones”, I’m really struck by the Time to Love.  I am finding the work incredibly hard, but incredibly rewarding.  Everyday is a reminder from my body that 25 was years ago.

Still, the sun rises, and a little more of God’s plan comes into vision.  A phone call of encouragement from a friend, or someone needing a pick me up.  Flowers germinating and going from a bare spot in the dirt to a little speck of green to a seedling ready to go outside.

While money is important (this is a fear that I’m working through),  Love is more important.  Love of the work you do, and the people you touch, and the places that you tread.  Love is not a place that you get to, but a journey.  Love is not a season of life, but an appreciation of the season you are in.  Love is the purpose for all of the time under heaven.