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Let’s Celebrate the Women Who Raised Us

Here’s to Carmen. Who let me brush her beautiful long, blonde hair and who never rolled her eyes when I would ask her to Pepper (volleyball game) with me in the backyard. Who is pee your pants funny, and reminds me the only way to succeed is to put myself out there and ask for more. Here’s to Joyce. Who let me look through her jewelry box, sleep on the floor right next to her bed during weekend visits. Who taught me not to put up with bullshit, who cleans up our family messes and is the glue that holds my family together. Here’s to Margie. Who held my hand after Lincoln was born and told me I can do this. Who is an active member of our daily village that makes this farm and family work. Who taught me that good food is made with time and a lot of love. And that homemade applesauce tastes better with a marshmallow thrown in. Here’s to Diana. Who brought me into this world and would only …

Prairie Winds

This is my first spring being full-time on the farm and boy are things different. We have most evenings together, which has been such a nice treat. In the past, most spring planting was crammed into weeknights after supper or weekends. We’ve gotten more time back as a family and for that I’m extremely grateful. We always try to develop a game plan for where the plants will go in the field. But what always happens is we’ll have two or three nice days where we can plant and so it’s a mad dash to get whatever plants are ready into the ground. We always forget how strong the winds are this time of year. I tried to put up low tunnels with Agribond fabric yesterday on the newly planted crops, to only to have it be a fool’s errand with the wind whipping it around like a bunch of Kleenex. Our hoop house is just about to burst with blooms. We just need a few more sunny days. The violas in the hoop fill …

It’s So Close

We’re almost there, can you feel it? The way the sun hangs above the horizon a little longer each day? The way the thawing earth squishes beneath our feet? How the thermometer tempts us by stretching towards 40 degrees. Spring is almost here. I can see it in the little snow birds nipping near the peonies, the pheasant who has taken residence near the creek, the way Sweet Pea stalks the vole trails, and the third opossum who has made it’s way into our chicken coop this month. Yuck. We’re almost there. We’re slowing shaking off the slumber we have been in. The hibernation we need that winter brings. Chris has been upgrading our microgreen set-up. We’re swapping out metal shelves for custom wood shelves that house a large watering tray for the microgreen trays and it will speed up our daily watering process. And we are upgrading to LED grow lights to conserve more energy. Seeds are being started, corms are being soaked, and anemones are poking up in the hoop house. I have …

Do You Think We Can Make it to the Bridge Today?

“Do you think we can make it to the bridge today?” I ask Lincoln as we trudge through the tall grass next to the creek as two kittens follow us like a pack of dogs. “Um. Maybe. But it’ll take a long, long, long, time,” he responds. During my maternity leave I turned the options over in my mind on what I could do. Being a stay-at-home mom was something I knew I wasn’t cut out for and I enjoyed my job and wanted to continue it. But I also couldn’t stand the thought of leaving the tiny swaddled burrito in my arms 5 days a week with someone else. I was stupid lucky and my employer-at-the-time agreed to let me work four days a week. Linc would go to daycare during those days and then on Friday we would be together. “Mommy/Lincoln Days” as we called them. Sometimes these days went great, other days I’d constantly watch the clock counting down the minutes until Chris would come home and I’d get a break. In …

A Lightning Round

Almost since we started the farm, Audra and I have listened to Chris Blanchard’s “Farmer to Farmer Podcast.” I don’t even remember how we learned about it, but from the first episode I heard, I was hooked. Each episode is essentially Chris interviewing a small-scale grower and learning about their farm and how it fits into their life. The podcasts are engaging, funny, insightful, and uniquely educational for small growers like us. Even a couple of our “farmer friends” were interviewed for the show. Audra and I would occasionally joke that if we ever got our act together, maybe we could be cool enough/successful enough/lucky enough to be interviewed as well. This fall, Chris Blanchard passed away after a long battle with an illness. Though I never met him in person, or even spoke to him in writing, he has left a profound impact on my life. I have listened to his voice in my ear for dozens of hours. As a result, I, like so many other listeners, feel as though I got to …

Redefining the Notion of Success

I’ve been thinking a lot about what “success” feels like for me and for the farm.  I think part of this fascination has been a direct result of my new obsession with constantly listening to farming-related podcasts as I work.  This is a double edged sword. Typically, to become a guest on one of these podcasts, you need to be a pretty “successful” farmer in some way. On some days these podcasts can be inspirational and provide me a cornucopia of ideas to try out on our little farm.  On other days, though, listening to all these people’s seemingly instant success just really pisses me off. What is it about other people being successful that, on our worst days at least, make us intensely, irrationally, immaturely jealous? I mean, how in the hell can these people be so successful, so quickly?  What are they doing that I’m not doing? What am I doing that I shouldn’t be?  What’s closer to the truth is that we’re all slogging through the swamp of life.  Everyone’s boots get …

The Booger on the Sheet

It was a spring day when I was changing my son’s sheets on his bed when I noticed the weird shape hanging off the side of his fitted sheet and on his bed skirt. I knew what it was before I actually knew what it was. I had done the same thing as a kid. Too lazy to get up to get a tissue, I’d wipe my nose contents on the side of my bed, hoping no one would notice, especially my mom. When I came downstairs to ask my son about it, he got a confused look on his face and said, “How did you know I did that?” My response: “I’m a mom, I know these things.” The booger on the sheet. The little tiny secret that doesn’t really hurt anyone, but also doesn’t tell the full story. We’ve also had a giant booger on our sheet. A figurative booger–please know I stopped doing that when I was 8. I’ve had a thing looming in the background that I’ve not talked about all …

Dahlias (A Slap of Reality)

We haven’t posted at all this summer. We have had some major turns of events happen behind the scenes for us (more on that later). As we’ve become more established, have more businesses buying from us, have strangers approach us on the street to ask us if we are from Finding Eminence Farm because they’ve seen our Instagram (this has happened twice – we are by no means celebrities), it’s been really hard to be so open about what’s happening on our farm, like it was in the beginning. There were only a few eyes and now there are many. So when we fall and talk about it, it seems to hurt more on our end. So with my teeth gritted against themselves, I share with you one of our biggest fails this season: dahlias. “Chris we need to quadruple our dahlia production for 2018. It’ll be a cash cow. Let’s move them out of the hoop house and grow them in the field.” 2017 Audra told 2017 Chris in their annual “Come to Jesus” …

2 Months Go By

How have two months flown by since our last farm update? In May we had our first peony flower arranging class. It’s hard to think of a time that existed when the days and nights were cool and you didn’t sweat in places you didn’t know you had. Some other awesome local businesses that have bought our flowers and microgreens are Forget Me Not Flowers, Hy-Vee, Growing Grounds, Kemp’s Upper Tap, Nightshop, Sugar Mama Bakery, Daffodil Lane, Chesterbrook Academy, and Green Top Grocery. We are extending those feelers and developing those relationships to get people on board with the good ass stuff that we grow. This year, it feels like we finally have a weed management plan down. And by weed management plan, I mean I wear gross overall bibs, a dorky hat, and force myself to go through each plant and weed everything by hand and with a colinear hoe. Chris keeps us on top of our spraying schedule. We utilize organic pesticides and fungicides to control insects, powdery mildew, and various disease issues …

Spring Farm Update

It’s hard to believe we are starting our fourth summer here at the farm. Yet, here we are. Chris has become a seed starting and micro green badass. We still order in a fair share of plugs of the varieties we’ve figured out we are just not great at growing. Almost all of the seeds Chris has started looks as if they were grown in a professional, heated greenhouse. We decided last fall to stop growing a lot of things okay and drill down and grow a few things really well. Chris has been growing and delivering micro greens each week to Green Top Grocery. We saw a need with other florists last fall for dahlias, so we kicked off a lot of varieties we were kind of crappy at growing and went full blast with dahlias. We definitely scratched our heads when 3/4 of them went in and took up most of our growing space. “Um, oops,” I said to Chris as he gave me the buggy-eyed “WTF” look that I know all too …