With the late spring arrival of our second daughter we decided to make this farming season a transition year. I was already overwhelmed with new ideas and projects for the farm and the thought of a new baby in the mix too was a lot! Thankfully, the pause in production allowed us the chance to take a summer vacation of sorts, a road trip down the west coast to visit friends & family and pick up a new farm dog!
For me, this summer has been about reflection and change. Family and home. Letting the experiences of the first several growing seasons sink into my heart and my bones. Accepting and embodying my new role as mother. Eloise turned 3 months while we were away and it dawned on me that our trip aligned perfectly with the end of my “fourth trimester” which I now believe is a real thing! During the road trip, I felt a deep shift in myself and the baby, an emergence back into the world. It was a timely (toddler-style) adventure!
First, we did some tree hugging around Mount Hood in Oregon.
Then we braved the forest fire smoke in a yurt in the enchanting Applegate Valley.
Next we found ourselves perched in the hills of Mendocino County overlooking acres of biodynamic vineyards before winding down over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Then we passed miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of salad and carrots and artichokes and garlic and strawberries (Salinas Valley you grow SO much food!!).
The overall goal of the trip was to pick up our new sheep dog, Tulsi. She is a McNab Sheepdog raised by a working cowboy named Gary outside of Paso Robles. When we picked her up it was hotter than hot, almost 110 degrees F. Neither of them seemed to mind the heat and I appreciated learning about his herding and breeding work with these interesting dogs (even though I was sweating like a pig). I am looking forward to working with her and the sheep on the farm.
Finally, we cooled off, watched whales & built sand castles in Santa Cruz.
At each stop we were hosted by dear friends that made us feel full and loved. We drifted past stunning coastlines, through beautiful valleys and awe-inspiring forests. As a family we talked and laughed, unplugged from the world for a bit. We escaped our schedules, caught up with folks face-to-face, found a rhythm in arriving and leaving. And, with a baby, 2-year old and puppy, we admittedly cleaned up a lot of poop.
Now we are home, back on the farm at the start of September. It was a whirlwind, but also a breath of fresh air. I am grateful for a vacation and for my new chapter ahead as mother AND farmer AND writer. It has been a very troubling year in many ways and the recent news of Hurricane Harvey and the Atlantic Salmon spill has not made the future feel any easier. I am out of the daze and fatigue of my fourth trimester, but I still feel a bit clunky and tired. I am moving slow.
This getaway, however, was helpful. I don’t often use the terms West Coaster or Pacific Northwesterner, but the journey gave me a lot of pride in where I live and the landscapes up and down the coast that cradle and feed our farm and family. I felt reaffirmed in my passion for cultivating good food, health and creativity on the farm. There is so much beauty in the natural world, there is nothing more valuable than a long talk with a good, old friend. I am holding on to these truths as the fall begins.
I hope to keep up with blog posts more frequently (more than one post a year!). I have decided to take a break from my off-farm teaching work to focus on the farm and the girls and so it feels a bit odd to not be caught up in the back-to-school rush right now. But, change is good.
“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
We have some exciting developments happening on the farm and I will keep you updated as our new plans and direction come to life. Until then, thanks for reading and enjoy this long, lovely weekend with the ones you love.