February 15, 2017

so, this happened...

If you've been following along here, you know that for many unforeseen reasons, we've been diverted from our path of farming. Since we started in 2008, we've been looking for a farm of our own. Along the way, we've lived and worked on several farms in Western PA with some of the region's most knowledgeable sustainable farmers. The nomadic life served us well for many years and the learning experiences were truly invaluable.

We haven't been "farmers" for a few years now. Life took us in another direction and I think that's why I stopped writing here. I was discouraged and began to wonder if we'd ever find our way back to it. I felt like the name of the blog was a farce. In the back of my mind, I never gave up hope, so I never considered changing the name.

Although an on-farm bakery has always been our dream, we made the tough decision 3 years ago to get the business started in our small town since we'd yet to find the right farm. We couldn't wait forever. It was a good decision. We chose a great location, the business has been successful, and we've gained a really nice customer base in the short time we've been open. (Almost a year!)

Being completely overwhelmed with our bakery responsibilities, finding a farm was the furthest thing from our minds. But the universe had plans, and somehow it all just came together. We moved to a small farm just outside of town right before Christmas in a "rent, with the option to buy" arrangement. Ironically, the owners used to buy turkeys from us ages ago. We will continue to operate the business out of the current location until we figure out the next step.

The best part of all of this, besides the obvious, is that I was able to share the news with Gerry just before we moved. He was beside himself with joy for us and it meant so much for him to see that we had finally, after all of our hard work and heartache, come full circle. Back to the farm. Back home. But really, it means much more than that, and I think he knew it. It means that I just might finally have an ending for my book.

Now, for the first order of business... baby chicks are coming at the end of the month! Only this time, instead of a few hundred, we're sticking with 15.

January 28, 2017

in loving memory...

*tap, tap, tap*...Is this thing on? Let's see if I remember how to do this.

It's been a long time and so much has happened, and I promise I'll get to that another day. But today, we lost someone who meant so much to us and our hearts are heavy. It only feels fitting to come here to talk.

I don't really know where to begin. Gerry was my mother's long-time friend and companion and simply put, he was instrumental in our entrance into farming. He and my mother believed in our crazy idea and encouraged us to leave England and give it shot. Nate and I often look back on the decision for him to quit his job and for us to move back home to America, to start a farm, as jumping off a cliff. It was one of the scariest decisions we've ever made, and we wouldn't have had the courage to do it without Gerry.

Once our farming adventure was underway, he encouraged me to begin documenting it. His advice, along with a nudge from an old school friend and blogger (Hi Jen!), is what fueled this blog. He worked hard to convince me that I was a good writer and encouraged me to keep going. That was a huge deal for me, a kid who struggled through school and was labeled as learning disabled.

Gerry was our biggest fan and shared our story with anyone who would listen. Perhaps even those who didn't really want to listen. He believed in us and had a deep love of sustainable farming. His enthusiasm was utterly contagious. When the going got tough for us on the farm, and did it ever, he was always there to help pick us up, dust us off, and encourage us to keep moving forward.

For years, he'd been telling me that I need to write a book about our story, and for years I put it off. So much had happened causing us to veer from our path, and I didn't feel like we had the ending to our story yet.

Gerry knew that the bakery had been part of our dream all along, and though he had since moved back to live close to his family, he was thrilled to hear that we'd made it happen and that it was a success. A few months ago, he tried to convince me to get started on the book. As always, his excitement and enthusiasm was hard to dismiss, so I tried. But honestly, I was having such a hard time balancing life and the bakery, that I just couldn't do it. He understood, but I could feel his disappointment.

I can say, without a doubt, that Nate and I would not have survived our farming journey - something that shaped us immensely, helped us to grow and learn so much about ourselves - without Gerry. We simply cannot think about that time in our lives with thinking of him. His love, support, inspiration, enthusiasm and encouragement meant everything to us, and will never be forgotten.

Gerry, I promise to push myself to keep writing here. I'm sorry my book didn't get written in your lifetime, but I promise to finish it someday. And when I do, you'd better believe it will be dedicated to you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for everything.

Gerry's favorite photo from those days, and the one he made me promise to use as the cover of my book.