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Head Bonk

If you knock yourself in the head in the vast acres of Illinois corn and soybean fields, does anyone hear it?

No. The answer is no.

Mothers Day needed some spicing up. And what better way to do it then accidentally knocking myself in the head with a t-post driver while being home alone? After a great morning of mimosas, cinnamon rolls, and reading in the sunshine under our walnut trees, Chris and Lincoln went to my in-laws to assist with a few project. I stayed behind to get some child-free work done.

I started installing our trellising system for some of our cut-flowers. After driving in one t-post, I put on some safety headphones, because the metal-on-metal banging hurt my delicate and dainty ears. Little did I know that wearing these ginorm-o, yellow headphones will prevent me from a concussion twenty minutes later.

I’m not sure how it happened, but I wacked my head with the driver. I thought, “hmm. that sort of hurt.” and then felt something wet seeping towards my forehead. “Sweat, Audra. It’s sweat, calm down,” I told myself. I calmly removed my hat, wiped my forehead, saw the hot red liquid on my hand and slowly positioned myself in a laying position in the middle of the field and commenced what I’ll call, “a total and unnecessary freakout”.

I won’t get into the grossness of this situation, head wounds seem to cause a lot of blood and make things seem worse than they really are. Of course, I forgot this logic and reasoning and could only focus on the amount of blood that was all over me and was hyperventilating and waving my hands around in some sort of attempt to help the situation.

By luck, I had my phone on me (which I rarely have my phone on me in the field because I get so dirty). I called Chris, no answer. I called my mother-in-law, no answer. I called our neighbor, no answer (who I later found out was out to her birthday and Mother’s Day dinner….great timing, Audra! My neighbor sent me this hilarious text later “I leave once and the whole neighborhood goes to hell!”) I finally got a hold of Jim, my father-in-law. Through hysterical screams and sobs I told him what I did. He was as cool as a cucumber and walked me through finding a clean rag to apply pressure on my head while Chris was running back home to be with me.

Chris finds me sitting on the cool concrete of the shed with blood all over me. He didn’t hear I had hit my head before he left, he heard I cut myself, got in his truck and left. I can only imagine what he thought when he saw me. He cleans me up, assesses that I have just scraped the top of my head. We think the headphones blocked most of the blow and that’s what actually scraped my head. I’d hate to think how bad it would have been without the headphones or without me having access to a phone. I haven’t shown any signs of a concussion, my head is just pretty tender. I am lucky. I have a good family.

So I definitely succeeded in making this Mother’s Day memorable! You’re welcome, world!

photo by studio fuze

 

Grit

This weekend over on Instagram Stories, I talked a little about “grit” and was surprised by the number of growers that reached out in appreciation for what I was saying. By grit, I mean the stuff no one wants to see or the stuff that takes away the magic and romanticism of farming. I listened to a flower farmer at a conference this past fall talk about how you shouldn’t show any grit or talk about how hard farming is because it makes people lose interest very quickly.

While I agree there are some things we shouldn’t show, like Chris and I arguing, unwanted rodents that show up, crotch sweat, or ugly crying. But I really believe there are some “good gritty” things we should show. Like Lincoln wearing pajama pants in 75 degree weather, the look of frustration on Chris’s face as he figures out how to operate our new BCS tractor, or me explaining how tired I am from planting 1/10 of an acre of perennials on my hands and knees.

I feel like good grit translates to “look at how our life is honestly” and I feel like this is something consumers need to know.

This all stemmed from a wedding inquiry we got a few months ago that said, “I figured the cost would be even less with you since you grow your own flowers!” I truly believe this inquiry wasn’t coming from a hurtful place, I think she just didn’t understand the backbreaking, hard-ass work it takes to grow things. And that really good things don’t come from a push of a button. They come from long days, sweat, blood, tears, laughter, and maybe a little bit of luck.

So why don’t we as farmers talk more about, “good grit”. I think we don’t talk about it because we don’t want to seem ungrateful, whiney, or that we don’t appreciate or deserve what we’re doing. Nor do we want to be seen as humble bragging i.e. “I just plowed this field by hand. #MichelleObamaArms”

But as my homegirl, Brene Brown said in her book Rising Strong,“I’m a firm believer that complaining is okay as long as we piss and moan with a little perspective.”

Be simple and be honest. It’s okay to have a moment where we share that we’re frustrated and it’s also okay to have a moment where we’re really proud of ourselves. It’s all about balance. Like yesterday we worked ALL STINKING DAY getting one field prepped and then I was hell-bent on having a milkshake with a greasy burger and onion rings. So even though we’re growing super nutritious foods…I didn’t want it, I just wanted that artery-clogging food in my mouth.

Or like when I took the following photos of Lincoln, I mumbled “goddamnit” a little too audibly because he wasn’t listening. Dropping swear words in front of my three year old is never a bright spot on the parenting journey, but I also know I’m not alone here.

I know our readers want to know about our honest moments, because they have them too. No one feels connected to someone who seems perfect online. We have found that people connect better when you really hone in on the fact that we’re all just floating around on this blue marble trying to figure out this crazy thing we call life. Grit on, friends.

Stay Little Forever

Please stay little forever.  Please let me never forget how you said, “I took a good nap, the sun is out, now we can blow bubbles!”

Please let me never forget how Chris hates cats, yet Sweet Pea needs to constantly know where he is and likes him better than me, and I hate that. 

Please let me never forget the salty, somewhat slobby kisses you give after dinner when you make your rounds thanking us for feeding you. 

Please let me never forget that you are enjoying dressing yourself and that you are ROCKING that Daniel Tiger shirt with those cowboy boots. 

Please let me never forget how hard it was to follow our dream and days like yesterday are the exact reason why we did.

 

Spring Has Sprung!

The grass is growing, the birds are chirping outside, and our hoophouse walls are having to be opened each morning and closed each night.  Spring has definitely sprung at Finding Eminence Farm.  Our “high tech” seed starting setup is full of tiny new plants in our commercial seed starting facility, which we sometimes refer to as “the basement.”  The hoophouse is starting to pump out spring blooms of anemones and angelique tulips, with ranunculus and sweet peas soon to follow.  We’re still in the calm before the storm, but only for a few more days.  I was on spring break last week from my job as a teacher, so we decided to use the opportunity to zip down to Florida for a few days to stay with some of Audra’s family and enjoy some warm weather and sandy beaches.  To be honest, I was initially reluctant to go.  This time of year, I am chomping at the bit to get back out there and grow some stuff, and I had plenty of things I could have gotten done while we were down there.  Audra was adamant, though, that we take some time for us.  

I’m so very glad that she persisted.  

The trip was brief, but it was exactly what we needed.  We spent a few days at Cocoa Beach, went to a zoo, took a short air boat ride to see some gators, and hung out at Audra’s uncle’s 10-acre farm.  And Lincoln had many firsts:  first airplane ride, first salt water up his nose, first boat ride, first time seeing alligators, first time eating alligator, first time eating crab (which he liked even more than the alligator), and maybe a few other firsts as well.  It was a simple, scrappy, and fairly inexpensive vacation–just the kind we like.

And now we’re back and ready to crush it.  Our new two-wheel tractor, a BCS 749, arrived right before we left.  I cannot wait to get this thing going.  If you aren’t familiar with a BCS, look it up.  You’ll want to be a market farmer too, just so you get to use one of these brilliant machines.  It’s the best thing to come out of Italy since…pizza pie.  Though, to be fair, I think pizza might have been an American thing that is just pretending to be Italian, but I really have no idea.  Don’t quote me on that.  But DO go enjoy some pizza because it’s delightful, regardless of where it came from.  

Yesterday we “potted up” a bunch of transplants that we ordered.  Basically, this just means that we transferred the teeny tiny plants into slightly bigger containers so they can continue to grow before we get them out into the field.  

I also set up our mini-hoophouse inside of our actual hoophouse.  I should take a moment and explain the story of this tiny structure.  I bought this 4 x 8 hoophouse on clearance at Menards maybe eight or nine years ago.  They had it marked for $40, which I am convinced was a mistake, but regardless I bought it before they could change their minds.  I used this for years at our house in town to start seeds and grow out transplants before putting them into our postage stamp size garden.  Our first year on the farm, this was our only covered structure in the spring, so we filled it with plants and then had to carry flat after flat after flat into the house every night there was a change of frost.  Now, we set it up for a short period of time inside our hoophouse to transition our tiny seedlings to the field, and it allows us to provide some supplemental heat to plants that need it on these cold spring nights.  It’s perhaps the smartest $40 I have ever spent.  Except for that $40 I paid for Audra’s wedding ring from that guy in the van in that alley.

We’re kicking it into high gear here.  We currently have angelique tulip bouquets available for a short period of time for either farm pick-up or delivery.  This week we will also be announcing a series of classes offered at the farm this summer.  As always, our mailing list gets first dibs, so sign up below if you’re interested in being the first to know.

Thanks for continuing to follow our story.  We promise to keep it weird here on our little carved out chunk of the inter-webs.  

Sometimes

Sometimes you forget what it’s like to walk into your childhood home and have your mom greet you with a smile and open arms.

Sometimes you lean on the people in your village and ask for help and your problems are solved over beers and you tell the people who are important to you that they are important because life is too damn short not to tell people you love them and they matter.

Sometimes you move to your dream home and it takes you two years to go get your library card.

Sometimes you have to lose your stupid phone. On purpose. You put it in a drawer and realize no one is emailing or texting you really all that much and you are better off reading a library book and going to bed early.

Sometimes you make chicken salad twice in one week because it’s too damn good not to.

Sometimes you need to create things just for the autotelic pleasure of creating them. Not to sell them. Not to brag about it online. Just to make it and enjoy it.

Sometimes you’ll hear the soft sound of tiny feet padding the carpet and feel the miniature version of yourself slip into your bed in the early morning. You’ll hold that tiny person tight as these encounters are numbered and one day he won’t want to snuggle in your bed with you.

Sometimes it takes awhile to let things go and enjoy the adventure that you signed up to be a part of.