The Daily Steward

There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations. 

Washington Irving

The warm breeze wafting through my open bedroom windows make for longful yearnings for the coming spring, though I fear it is yet too early for that spring to be upon us. I do hope you seized the opportunity to open your windows and let the world back into your home to air out the stagnating cold of winter’s chill, and I have greater hope that you find cause to venture outside to soak up some of this late winter sun and this less-than-seasonable warmth, for I fear the grasp of winter’s chill has yet to loose it’s hold. Days like today, telling of the promise of spring and the recommissioning of life after the winter slumber, have a way of invigorating the spirit, that right now is best depicted in the blooming of the yellow daffodils.

This next week I hope to break ground and build the beds for springs first plantings, which I’m hoping to be putting in the first weeks of March. I’m also hoping to get my walk-in cooler set up and the rest of my post-harvest infrastructure built. Seeding in the greenhouse will also resume this coming week, as I start kale, collards, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. I’m ready for some new variety after a long winter of microgreen salads and eggs-every-which-way. I hope you’re ready, too!

Come out and see me at the Winecoff Market tomorrow from 9am til Noon! I’ll have Pea Shoots, Radish Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, Pasture-Raised, Non-GMO Eggs, and also this week, Shiitake Mushrooms grown by my friends Brock and Mary Beth of Blue Merle Farm! I made a stir fry with shiitakes, onions and pea shoots this week… Scrumptious… What else can you find at the Winecoff Market? I’ll tell you what! Pastured Beef, Pork and Chicken, Salsa, Honey, Pimento Cheese, Chicken Salad, Fresh Fish, NC Apples, and so much more. I implore you to come on out and support local businesses that are trying to provide you with a quality product in a sustainable way!

Have a great day, weekend and week! Do try to get outside and enjoy this marvelous creation that is our planet, and let it’s majesty soothe your soul!

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The Daily Steward

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“The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” 

Proverbs 28:19

Things are picking up while plants are popping up in the greenhouse! As soon as there is a a stretch of dry weather, I can get out in the field and get my first beds prepped for the coming season. Judging by the 10 day forecast, however, it seems that a deluge is more likely. It might be a late start to this season, folks, but that’s how this whole farming thing works. The elements are beyond my control, yet they dictate much in my day to day. I’m not going to stress about it, though. What will be will be, and I will try my best regardless of what the weather throws at me, and no matter what, the veggies will come! Spinach and onions are popping, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, peas and chard are next. Cross your fingers and say a prayer that the rain in the forecast to clear out!

You’ll notice something very familiar to last weeks’ newsletter, that the title hasn’t changed. Why, you may ask? I really like it, truth be told. It rings of the heading of a newspaper, a play on words harkening back to an age gone by, the golden age of the press. It’s also terribly difficult to come up with a title to each weeks newsletter, something that pops and will entice you to open this e-mail and read this prattle herein. More than any of these reasons, however, is that I’d like to think of this as my title, no, my calling in this vocation. I’m not merely farmer, who, according to my pal Merriam-Webster, is “a person who cultivates land or crops or raises animals,” I strive to be a steward, which in my mind is a much grander and nobler undertaking, but also connotes an idea of being of service rather than simply managing. I see myself as tasked with the responsibility of serving the natural environment, making it healthier by my intrusion upon it, and in doing so serve you, my community and my clientele, by providing you one of the basic fundamentals of existence, provided in service that which is produced in service. Perhaps I sound like a broken record, and in some ways I write these words again and again to cement them in my psyche moreso than in an attempt to convince you to patronize me. I know that if I come at this vocation in this attitude of humility and servitude, no matter what, my efforts will not be in vain.

Here’s a great idea: go the the Winecoff Farmer’s Market between the hours of 9am and noon! I will not be there in person, but Street Fare Farm will be represented by the lovely Taylor, aspiring flower farmer and one of the newest farmers at the Lomax Incubator Farm! Be gentle with her, she hasn’t vended at a market in a while, but knowing you all, I know you’ll make her feel right at home! She’s going to have some Pea Shoots, Radish Shoots, Sunflower Shoots and Pasture-Raised, Non-GMO Eggs in tow to dispense to you good people of Cabarrus County!

Where will I be, you ask? I thought it’d be a good idea to sign up for what’s called the Frigid 5k Run and Plunge at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a 3 and change mile run followed by a dip in the Catawba River. The air temperature isn’t supposed to be terribly cold in the morning, but it’s supposed to be rainy, and I reckon the temperature of the water will be somewhere in the 40s… Good thing I take these cold showers! I’m going to do my best to bring a medal back for you guys!

Have a great week, and, if you’re so inclined, have a go at finding some way to adopt the mindset of servitude in your work this coming week. Take the ego out of it, and do something solely for the benefit of someone else, even if it’s hard. Give it a try, I bet you’ll like it!

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The Daily Steward

“Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.” 

-Marianne Williamson

Subdue the Earth

There is something awe-inspiring in these clear winter days, where the sunshine seems entirely too brilliant for the temperature to be as low as it is. Maybe it has something to do with there being no foliage on the trees, thereby allowing more sky to come down so blue-ly around us. February is here, however, and plants are popping in the green house! Onions are started, spinach is next, then there’s only going to be more and more until the first plants go in the ground, hopefully somewhere in the first week of March, though I’ve got a good amount of ground to work (like, any ground, to be perfectly honest) so these little plants will have a happy home. It’s happening though, and I’m ready for some fresh veggies, let me tell you what!

My tractor came in! (See picture below). That’s right. Sexy. Who wants to name her? Now I have the means to push that earth around, build these beds, and really start refining these systems of intensive cropping and equally intensive soil building. I admit, I was starting to go down the road of a more conventional mindset, trying to eek out as many cash crops out of every patch of earth I could, foregoing some of the environmentalistic notions that got me on this road to begin with, in an attempt to make sure I was making enough money to sustain myself and move my business forward. While this was not an altogether bad thing to want, I know, and hope you all also know, that a strong bottom line, while important, shouldn’t be the end goal. In fact, I believe it could be argued that focusing on some of the more qualitative aspects of your daily endeavors will lend itself to building up that bottom line, though I recognize that that is not the rule.

Yes, I need to make money selling vegetables and eggs, but my focus is not on producing more and more in order to sell more. My goal is to build the health of the soil, the health of the ecosystem, to nurture the plants and thereby produce nutrient dense food to nourish my and your bodies. My goal is to build a community around this sort of sustainable food system, and to encourage and facilitate a means of getting you, the consumer, more directly connected to the source of your food. My goal is to do all this while maintaining a balanced life, working hard while maintaining sufficient time away from the job in order to pursue my other interests, of which I have far too many! I implore you to join me in this mission, which I bracket under the broader idea of “stewardship,” which Oxford defines as “the job of supervising or taking care of something,” and let us create a community that values careful quality in all things!

I’ll be at the Winecoff Market tomorrow from 9am til noon, and I hope you will, too! I’ll have Pea Shoots, Radish Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, and a ton of Pasture-Raised, Non-GMO Eggs!

Do you love my girls’ eggs as much as I do? Do you eat them by the carton more than by the egg? Well keep your eyes peeled, because the Street Fare Farm Egg CSA is coming soon! Stay tuned!

Have a great week!

Thankfulness

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“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.”

-Jim Rohn

The season of gratitude and giving is upon us, and what a wonderful time of year it is! I think my favorite part about Autumn is the way the clear skies take on those deeper shades of blue, bluer and bluer as winter approaches. The leaves are almost gone off the trees, but not quite gone in the fields yet! Things are growing much, much slower right now, however, as the waning daylight hours are slipping into the Persephone period where the sun sticks around for 10 hours or less, and growth all but stagnates. It’s a beautiful myth, the one of Persephone, who was the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the Earth. Persephone was abducted by Hades, lord of the underworld, to serve as his wife. In retaliation, Demeter threatened to stop all growth on the planet. This, however, Zeus could not abide, and stepped in to mediate the situation, and brokered a deal whereby Persephone would only live in the underworld during the winter months. Still distraught by the arrangement, Demeter made the landscape barren for the time that Persephone was away. It’s amazing to realize the connections between these ancient myths and agriculture and how truly our advancement as a species has only really come about because of our connecting with the natural cycles on this planet. This is the bigger picture that keeps me going, that grounds me and inspires me, and what should be the true goal of every farmer: to help people understand these connections and better see how they fit into this world. Every farmer comprehends and feels this, for if they didn’t, they would not continue to farm.

Being that it is the season of generosity and giving, I want to make you guys aware of a tremendous opportunity to invest in Street Fare Farm as I transfer my operations from the Lomax Incubator Farm to the Riverbend Estates, where I have been living and keeping my flock of hens for going on two years now. Being that I am leaving the incubator farm, there is a lot that I will be starting from scratch, mainly in the ways of equipment and infrastructure. The key difference here is that I know what I need now! I’ve already made a few investments in some tools to make my operations more efficient next season, which will free up more time for me to do the other part of farming that I love, marketing! That said, there is one key piece of equipment that I am still trying to put together the financing for, a piece of equipment that is integral to the bio-intensive model that I started moving my systems toward this past season, and that is a BCS two-wheeled walk-behind tractor. With the walk-behind tractor and the rotary plow and tiller attachments, I can break new ground and make the permanent raised-beds that are packed close together to get the most production out of the limited space I have (the field I’ll be growing on is just shy of 2 acres). With the flail-mower and power-harrow attachments, I can efficiently turn over beds to take out one crop and get it ready for another, doubling the profitability of that growing space while only minimally disturbing the soil so as not to bring up new weed seeds as well as keep the soil structure in place, which lends to the health of the soil and the thriving ecosystem therein, and also allow me to start experimenting with in-bed cover-cropping techniques to increase the fertility in my beds without having to import any inputs!

SO, this is what I need, but how can you help, you ask? I am running a campaign called a Kiva Loan, which is very much like Kickstarter in the way that I am crowdfunding this loan, but it’s unlike Kickstarter in that instead of people just donating money and getting a sticker or a t-shirt or a Facebook shout-out, in this platform people are loaning me the money at 0% interest to be paid back in full over the course of the next 3 years. It’s also like Kickstarter in that it’s all or nothing. I have a goal of $10,000 to acquire this walk-behind and these implements, but if I don’t reach that goal in the next 45 days, I get squat! If (and when) I do hit my goal, I will have a month grace period before I have to start making regular monthly payments to pay back this loan that will get dispersed amongst the lenders over the course of the next 3 years. I am in my trial 15 days right now where I have to acquire 15 lenders to contribute at least $25 to this loan, and once I hit this target, Kiva will post my ad publically on their website for lenders from all over the world to lend to me for my efforts! I’m so ecstatic that after just one day, I already have 12 lenders and over $600 loaned to me! We’re kicking ass, but it’s still quite a ways to hit $10,000. This is where you come in, and I implore you, I ask you sincerely to please help me, a young, beginning farmer trying to do my part to change the health of our community directly by growing the most sustainable, nutrient-dense food that I can, and indirectly by fostering the health of this little corner of the world and fostering the connections to the cycles of nature that we as humans are inexorably tied to! If you can lend me just $25, that will go a long way to helping me get this funding, and remember, I WILL PAY YOU BACK! Please CLICK HERE to learn more and to lend me your moulah!

 

In other news, I want to give a big shout-out to Lynn at Tesh-Troxler Landscaping for starting to work with me to bring me organic matter for my growing on-farm compost program! I have a dream of creating this small-scale, highly-productive vegetable operation where all the fertility in the field is built through compost I’m making on the farm and through cover cropping so I don’t have to import ANY fertilizers (organic fertilizers are super pricey) and it’s through relationships with conscientious local business owners like Lynn that will make this dream of mine a reality! They’ve already brought over a number of loads of leaf mulch, and my compost pile is pretty darn big now! Just to give you an idea into the system, I’m going to be collecting organic matter for this pile until the end of the year (after which any new organic matter will go to create a new pile.) Then, at least once a week, I will be turning that pile to aerate it, heat it up, and help it break down quicker, and hopefully it will be ready by mid-February to go out into the fields! In the future, I won’t have to turn it quite so frequently, I’m just a bit under the gun to get some finished compost ready for next season. So thank you Lynn, and thanks to all of you that have brought me the leaves from your yard and your kitchen scraps! It takes an army, so they say!

I hope to see you all at the Winecoff Market tomorrow from 9am til Noon! Guess what I’ll have? They’re really good for you, grow very well this time of year, and rhymes with “screens…” That’s right, I’ve got the greens! Baby Kale, Arugula, Lettuce, Spring Mix, Spinach, Radishes, Turnips, and Microgreens! I’ll also have some Eggs in tow! Here’s something for you to think about… since this is the stuff that grows so well this time of year, doesn’t it make sense that this should be the stuff you should be eating, being that you are experiencing the same sunshine and breathing the same air in the same general environment that these veggies are? It seems only logical to me!

Have a wonderful weekend and a terrific week! I know I missed writing a newsletter last week, my folks were in town and I felt my time would be better spent with them over the holiday. I hope you all had a safe and satiating Thanksgiving, and I just have to let you know that I am truly grateful for you all and your continued support of my efforts! Many of you are aware that I hit a bit of a heavy funk this past summer, but your support helped to roust me out of it, and not only your support, but my adopting an attitude of gratitude towards that support, as well as towards the truly blessed nature of my life as a whole, and there are no words for the gratitude I feel swelling within me! So thank you! Be well and be grateful!

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Racing the Sun

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“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

-Masanobu Fukuoka

I completed another lap around the life-giving sun this week, and I couldn’t be more pleased. My odd years have always been far and away better years of my life to date, and I have every intention of making this last odd year in my second decade on this planet the best, most fruitful, highest-performing year to date. One thing I have gotten in the habit of repeating to myself,  as somewhat of a mantra, is that it’s not about the mistakes made in the past, but the choices made in the present. Trust me, the mistakes of the past have been plentiful! But, in reality, mistakes and failures are life’s greatest teachers, and the lessons I’ve learned these past few seasons have been and continue to be paramount to the progression of this, my farming journey. And so, here I sit, on wrapping up one rollercoaster of a season, yet at the dawn of a new year of life, a little humbler and a little wiser, determined and optimistic, and so very excited to see what this next season of life and the next season of production have to offer! I can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with you all, stay tuned!

I hope to see you all at the Piedmont Farmer’s Market tomorrow from 9am til Noon! Yes, it’s going to be chilly, so bring a jacket, but I really hope you’ll come to see me, because I’ve got it goin’ on right now! Kale, Collards, Lettuce, Spring Mix, Mustard, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Radishes, Chard, Arugula, Baby Kale, Microgreens and Eggs will all be on the menu tomorrow! Brave the cold, the sun will be shining, glinting off the pearly whites of my smiling face! You know you want to, these fresh veggies aren’t long for this world as the ensuing winter ever encroaches!

I have to give a shout-out to my friend, Nicole, who has arranges with her instructors in the CPCC Nursing Program to allow them to fulfill volunteer hours helping me out at Street Fare Farm! I’ve been spared a few long-nights due to these generous helpers, and couldn’t be more grateful! If anyone else has any desire to come out and see what this farming stuff is really all about, please do not hesitate to contact me! I always have something going on, especially this winter, as I’ll be building a lot of infrastructure to get set up out on the new property as I transition from the incubator farm. Let me know!

I hope you all have a splendid week, and bundle up! It’s getting chilly out there!

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Attack of the Aphids!

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“…no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Farming is hard. Farming under the organic protocol is even harder. When it comes to defending my crops against pest and weed pressure, my resources are limited in that regard. Through my obsessive study on this vocation of my choice, I have learned that the best route to having a weed-and-pest-free system is to develop the healthiest soils possible to grow my vegetables in (pests prefer plants that are nutritionally deficient, and weeds grow best in unbalanced soils…) those conditions take years to develop, and though I’ve spent three years growing at the Lomax Incubator Farm, I am transitioning my operations to this property out here on Highway 601, and am essentially starting with a blank slate. I am nerdily excited at the prospect of building the health of the soils out here, but through this journey of farming, patience is the virtue that I have been tested with ad nauseum. That said, I’ve had a problem this fall. An aphid problem. I acquired this problem when my transplants, transplants that were growing so beautifully in the greenhouse prior to going out to the field, got a little too big before I set them out. I though, “Well, I’ve got aphids, but once I get these suckers out in the field, that problem will go away because the plants will have more air to breathe and more beneficial insects to eat them up!” Well, I’ve realized that was wishful thinking. The aphids killed my entire first succession of cauliflower, my whole crop of cabbage, and about 50% of my broccoli and Brussel sprouts, as well as doing a number on my kale and collards. So what did I do? Well, last week, I had to resort to an organically approved pesticide, neem oil, to kill off these buggers and give my surviving crops the chance to bounce back, that I may be able to redeem myself this fall from a poor showing in the summer!

I always find it a bit funny how many folks think that organic agriculture is synonymous with pesticide-free agriculture, no offense to you all, when in fact many organic farms, especially the realm of industrial organic farms (think Earthbound), rely heavily on organically approved pesticides, some spraying more than our conventional counterparts, primarily because the organically approved chemicals are less effective than the synthetic products used in non-organic systems. I hate spraying, and in full disclosure, this is the first time I’ve sprayed anything all season. Neem oil is a relatively toxic compound derived from the neem tree that grows in India, and is a broad-spectrum pesticide, meaning that it does not discriminate the insect it will harm. This means that in addition to killing the aphids that were sucking the life-force out of my brassicas, it was also harming the lady bugs that were trying to lend me a hand by eating those aphids. This is why I hate spraying, as it disrupts the natural environment in a very invasive way, even though the product is naturally derived. I suppose the upside to these organic chemicals is that their potency is very short lived, as the availability of the neem oil is almost 100% diminished from the environment after 24 hours, especially after the rain we got on Monday washed it away, but still, while I only use these chemical means as a very last resort, my aim is to foster the health of my system and utilize mechanical means of pest-prevention to a point that I am 100% pesticide free. When it came to the manner at hand, however, it was a business decision: succumb to more loss and lose out on the income of these crops going into the lean months of winter, or salvage what I can through this less-than-ideal solution. Vilify my if you will, but my plants are looking much, much better, especially after spending the past two days pruning off the withered, aphid infested leaves from the crops.

In other news, PLEASE REMEMBER TO BRING ME YOUR LEAVES! A special shout out to Kristina for bringing me some of her leaves the other day, my compost pile is growing and growing! I’ll take your leaves AND your kitchen scraps, just bring them to me at the market! Your help with this is greatly appreciated, and you will receive a shout out right here in the newsletter for your help in this matter.

THANK YOU!

I wanted to also give a special shout out to John, whom I affectionately refer to as my “benefactor” (I’m not sure he knows that!). John is the owner of the property I am living on and am currently transferring my operations to, and where my flock of laying hens reside. I cannot be more grateful to this wonderful individual for his taking a chance on me and for his unwavering dedication to sustainability through his support of me as well as his efforts with the National Wildlife Federation. I am so, so, SO excited to be working full-time on this beautiful piece of property that is so wonderfully located close to Concord and Charlotte, and really take my business to the next level here! This has been a trying season, and I honestly thought about giving this whole thing up on more than one occasion, but I am keeping in mind the saying that when you feel like giving up, that’s when you need to keep going, and right now, I am so excited with my vision of the future of my farm, coupled with John’s belief in me, that I know I can’t do anything but succeed! Thank you John!

For those of you coming out to the Winecoff Market tomorrow, I can’t wait to see you! Tomorrow I’ll have Lettuce Mix, Collard Greens, Lacinato Kale, Arugula, Pea Shoots, Radish Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, Arugula Shoots, and Pasture-Raised, Non-GMO Eggs! I can’t wait to see y’all!

Finally, I have a 29.5′ 2008 KZ Sportsmen Bunkhouse Camper for sale! It’s in good condition, I bought it for $15k four years ago. It leaks a bit in the slide-out when it rains, and somewhere along the line I crumpled up the ladder on the back of the camper and punched a bit of a hole there… but other than that, it’s a great camper! I lived in it for a year, which really taught me the value of organization and tidiness. I’m listing it for $7500, but honestly just want to get rid of it and get whatever I can out of it to put towards my costs going into next season. Additionally, I have a 2002 Mazda MPV Minivan with 180,000 miles on it. It’s not in that great of shape. The check engine light comes on, which they tell me is due to a faulty o2 sensor, which I replaced, but the light won’t go off, and it definitely runs a little rough. Listing that for $1000, would be happy to get anything for it really! All this money is going towards building the infrastructure and buying seed, potting soil and compost for next season! Let me know if you’re interested!

Have a wonderful day! Do me a favor, do yourself a favor and step outside. It’s absolutely gorgeous today!IMG_4067.JPG

 

Through the Freeze

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“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”

-Albert Einstein

And so through with it! Whaddya say, spring? Why don’t you come on, stay a while! I’m writing this on Thursday, a little ahead of schedule, but as I covered my plots on Friday, and haven’t uncovered them since, what with some shocking lows (18°F last night…!), we haven’t had much work to do in the field. We were planting trays on trays for the Herb Fest coming up on April 22nd at the Winecoff Market, but, what with everyone here at the Lomax Incubator farm in a holding pattern until these chilly nights pass us by, the greenhouse is now maxed out! I have some beautiful planties just itching to get out into the field, too, so hopefully, next weeks forecast remains favorable so the outdoor work can begin! I’ve only peaked under the blankets at my babies already outside, and I’ll tell you, I’m optimistic that we will get away with minimal loss this time around! It was risky to get out into the field as early as I did, but you know what they say: no risk, no reward!

Only two more weeks until the season kicks off for the Street Fare Farm CSA! Let me spell it out for you: sign up for the CSA and you’ll be able to pick up a box of your choices of the weeks freshest, hand-picked fruits and veggies from one of several convenient locations throughout the week, all season long! You’ll get an e-mail every week featuring recipes and ideas for using your produce in your meals, as well as tips for storage, preserving and more! And get this, if you sign up for the whole year, you’ll get TWO TICKETS to the Carolina Jubilee in September! Sign up soon, though, there are only 6 pairs of tickets left! The boxes start April 1st, sign up today!

I can’t wait to see you all at the markets on Saturday! Lily will be running the show at the Winecoff Market and I will be down in NoDa, slinging eggs and microgreens! The real veggies are coming, people. I hope you’re ready! ACHTUNG! The NoDa Market will be back inside the Neighborhood Theater tomorrow due to the impending rain.

SO being that I have given myself a little extra time to write this weeks update, I can take you down another one of my deep, philosophical trails that you’ve come to know and love from your favorite farmer. Today, I want to tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all work and no play makes Ben a dull boy. I have come to the conclusion that as a small business owner in it’s very earliest stages, in a business that is so entirely dependent on factors completely beyond my control, a business with extremely slim margins and very high risk, no less, that I must be the one that shows up, day in and day out, because most certainly, this is what my life depends upon! And, honestly, I’m ok with that. In fact, I love it. This is what I’ve chosen to do, and though the days can be grueling and the rewards slim, I have never once regretted leaving my comfortable 9-5 for this work. That said, however, I have many interests outside of farming. I play guitar, I am a fitness enthusiast and love working out, I have an insatiable desire to learn new things, I enjoy reading and writing, and used to be a pretty good artist (something I’d really like to get back into), I’m a decent snowboarder, and I have a beautiful, wonderful, driven girlfriend that I enjoy spending time with. If anything, my biggest fundamental flaw is that I want to do too much, much more than one can accomplish in one, or even one hundred lifetimes!

This week has been kind of stressful, not being sure what was going to become of all the hard work that Lily and I have put in at the farm to date, worried that it could be a complete loss and we’d have to start again from square one, and that stress has a tendency to eat at you. I’m happy to tell you, though, that I’ve figured out what it is I need to do: I need goals in my life outside of farming. So I made some goals! I decided that what I really wanted to do was compete athletically again, as I used to be very competitive as a soccer player, a wrestler, in the high school and college weight rooms, and then, more recently, at the crossfit gym. Of late, however, although I continue to exercise fairly regularly, my workouts developed into a routine more of maintenance as opposed to one of progression, and I was therefore not getting the fulfillment that I had in the past. SO, I’ve signed up for a race. I’ve never been a runner. In fact, I hate running. I prefer to pick things up and put them down. As a person who values health as I do, however, I feel like it’d behoove me, my lungs and my heart, to be able to run. Also, I have this fantastical idea that I’d like to be as fit and strong as, say, Captain America or Jason Bourne. And lemme tell ya, them boys can run! So I’ve started running, and hopefully I’ll be ready for the 5 mile race at the White Water Center Memorial Day weekend!

We all need clearly defined goals outside of our work in order to maintain balance, otherwise we lose touch with ourselves and why we work so hard in the first place. We lose sight of our values, and we end up not having any fun whatsoever. This opportunity we have on this beautiful planet, the opportunity of life, is a beautiful opportunity, but a fleeting one. It doesn’t make any sense at all to spend any of it getting frustrated, feeling stressed, and not having any fun. How we spend our time and the way we react and the way we feel are completely controlled by choice. Therefore, I choose to not let the weight of this life I’ve chosen to hold me back from accomplishing everything I can dream up, and I choose to have fun, and I suggest you follow suit! I feel like I’m beating a dead horse with all this, but I write this more for me than anyone else, and I hope you all glean something from it.

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Have a great weekend, and an even better week! Wake up tomorrow and choose to make it the best day of your life!