Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Friday, November 04, 2005


The frost is on the pumpkin and the fields are at rest. 'Tis the end of another season which, in this cyclical existence of ours, means that it's the start of another. Throwing rye down on the fields is always the closing scene in the last act of every year, and it makes the fields a shiny green for when the curtain comes up for next year. Feeds the earthworms and improves tilth, too. All the market paraphanalia is cleaned and stacked in the packing shed. The hoes are hung in the barn with care. We just finished our seventh year, here. That's supposed to be a lucky number. The farm motto changes from time to time. Lately, it's been: we're still here.
And we are. We've been trucking veggies into Asheville twice a week, April through October, for seven years now. Sell them off the back off the truck in the parking lot of a food co-op.
Bit by bit, we've grown. Way back when I just worked the first field behind the house. Each year I've worked a little ways up the hill toward the mountain until I ran out of ground to plow. Then I turned over the fields in front of the house. Every year, I've managed to add a piece of equipment or two, but the farm is still run with great simplicity. Everything is old - I prefer vintage - and falling apart, but I make it work for me. We grow more and more every year, and it goes to follow that we make more and more every year, but I'm flat broke every November, just as I am in April, and my math says that means we break even. Winter has brought a range of occupations: building stone walls and building bridges and, the last few years, selling Christmas trees.
People have come and gone - all the houses on the farm have been occupied by various people for various durations - once I had an old school bus hauled onto the farm for additional dwelling space.
The community evolves around me as the fields do. People move in and people move away. People couple up and break apart. Babies are born. People die. Hot Springs, our local burg, sometimes seems so different from the way it was when I first got her, and sometimes seems exactly the way it was he first time I saw it. Life presents many symbols and many milestones, and I don't know which ones to pay attention to. The walnut trees in the grove across the road have grown and flourished over the years; the cedar in front of the house never changes.
The farm expands its operations somewhat. We've flirted with seafood for a few years now, this year selling enough that it has made a real difference with our bottom line. We'll expand that even more next year, selling a bit more fish at a few more markets. We grow slowly, but we grow.
The leaves turned late this year, but, they finally turned. The show up and down the valley is just as spectacular as it ever is. I look for excuses to go into town just so I can drive the road and llok at the leaves. This may be one of the most beautiful spots in the whole world, and I find myself having made a life right in the center of it. Often I'll think: there are people who spend their whole year dreaming about the one week-end they'll be able to come up here. I get to be here every day.
This is not the life one would choose if one wanted financial security. It's in fact about on the bottom of the list. But it gets near the top of the list for someone who likes to watch walnuts and cedars, and the sunrise and sunset, and one season turn into the next.


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