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Field Update

So…it’s been a hot minute since I blogged last. Honestly I’ve been hibernating this winter. We’ve been talking and planning, but I got so burned out last fall talking to people and emailing and messaging and texting and dealing with whatever fresh hell awaited me that I’ve just been a hermit. I realized last week that the anxiety that led to me taking a break and hibernating had tipped the scales to depression and got some help, with a big push from my husband. And I’ve been getting out of my head and focusing back on the farm and being outside and talking to my mom and friends and it’s helped so much. I’m not a hundred percent there, but I feel like I’m on the right path. There's nothing better for your state of mind than a walk in the woods. I wasn't sure when I wrote this that I would actually share it, but then I decided I would. Here’s a link to what I am experiencing, and while I think everyone feels some of these from time to time or to a lesser degree, for me it had become impossible to shake them, impossible to snap out of it, and impossible to pull myself up by my bootstraps Maybe someone else reading this needs to hear this. Maybe it will help someone else realize that it's not normal to feel so miserable and like they are constantly drowning and they'll get some help too!

I do have a bit of bad news to talk about before I get started on the post my Insta story hinted at. First, right before Christmas we lost Little Billy, Clarice’s billy, our dear departed Clementine’s grand-billy. It was a hard blow for us. We’d nursed him back to health twice and bottle fed him for most of his life. He followed me around the yard like a dog. He even appeared in the Goldsboro Christmas Parade. One day we noticed he was lethargic, so we gave him some meds for worms and a dose of drench and decided to watch him to see if we needed to call in a Vet. When we woke up the next morning he was gone. We don’t know what happened or why. We do know that when goats get down, they don’t tend to rally or have much will-to-live, so…who knows? We are heartbroken again, but we’re hoping for another baby this year.

Second bit of bad news…we have decided NOT to do our CSA program this summer. I know, I know, I’m feeling a bit lost without it too. For the past couple of years, we’ve just got burned out on it. First off about 98% of our farm labor (I’m not talking about the folks who help us during the fall checking folks out and whatnot) is me and The Husband, and The Boy aka The Number One Tour Guide. At our height we had 100 members which was overwhelming to say the least for three people. Second, he took an off-farm job as a crop adjuster, and how many disasters have we faced in the past couple of years? He’s been pretty much slam busy since he started which doesn’t leave a lot of time for farm work. So that’s basically me for labor, running the CSA as well as everything else we do on the farm on a day-to-day basis. Last year was our real breaking point. The sunflowers blew up and it was all I could do to run the CSA, run the sunflower patch, stay on top of the messaging and emailing, plan and market the fall activities, AND keep my house going and run my kids around so they didn’t miss out on anything because mama farms (the mom-guilt is REAL!). At the end of the season we looked at each other and said, this isn’t worth it. Usually I say stuff like that to have a break and “forget” how bad it was, kinda like when you have your second kid and you “forget” how bad it was to have the first. This year I didn’t forget. Burnout wasn’t the only reason we decided not to do it, we have so much planned to do this late winter/spring (which I’m about to tell you about) that we just decided instead of putting time into something that isn’t bringing in enough money to make our time and effort worth it, let’s focus on completing these other goals we have and revisit doing it in 2021. So that’s what we’re doing and honestly, it’s been a huge weight off my shoulders. I will not miss packing boxes on 100-degree days or standing up to my shins in mud picking squash or trying to figure out how to keep boxes dry in the rain or how to keep the fox squirrel from gnawing holes in my cantaloupes. I will miss our customers so so much! I love interacting with y’all and I love being able to be a part of your family for a whole summer. I will miss getting to know my customers like that. Some of you have truly become friends who inspire me daily. For that I am so thankful and grateful.

Alright, onward. I’ve been teasing the projects we have for the year that will divert our attention and I’m finally getting on with the reveals. So, first is the one we’ve been wanting to do forever, we’re adding a walking trail around the perimeter of the farm, through the woods to the river and back up the edge of the creek/swamp to the farm. I’m so excited about this and the possibilities it brings. Along with this trail will be some campsites including a clear area we’re creating for people to have outdoor events (weddings anyone?) in the woods.

Second, we’re going to be planting blueberries and a small orchard. For years now we’ve been wanting to plant and sell more you-pick fruit and we’re finally making that happen this year. We feel like this is something we can plant in the “flood” plain and it won’t be terribly affected by the flood waters and will allow us to make that land profitable again. We aren’t exactly sure what all we’re going to plant in the orchard, but we know peaches, hopefully some heirloom-type apples and pears, and maybe some Japanese persimmons. Our plan is to open this up for some neat photography opportunities and you-pick.

Third, and probably the one giving me the most anxiety, we’re going to close in our shelter to make it a more weather-proof event space AND ADD BATHROOMS! We’ve had several people throughout the years want to have events at the farm off-season, which has always been hard for us to accommodate because we didn’t have a bathroom or a place out of the weather to have them. We’ve done a couple of birthday parties and even our sweet neighbor/horse boarder’s wedding, but we’ve never been able to capitalize on this like I want too. Now we’re going to have a great place to have a party or wedding or reunion or corporate event or family day rain or shine and real indoor bathrooms! I’m so excited about planning the design. It will mean a re-design of our farm entrance area, but I think it will be a good thing for the long-term, and I’m looking forward to seeing how these changes turn out.

So that’s our plan in a nutshell. These are all projects that we've wanted to do for so long and we've planned so many different ways. It will be amazing to complete them and see if the plan in our heads translates to reality. We just hope that you'll enjoy them too!

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