Pana

“The farmer’s labor circles back on him

As the seasons of the year roll back around

To where they were and walk in their own footsteps.”

– Virgil’s “Second Georgic”

Hello friends & farm-ily,

We hope you are all doing well and are enjoying this beautiful start to Fall!  A friend sent me the quote from Virgil’s “Second Georgic” over the weekend and how suiting it was to receive it as I had just tilled the area that was first to be tilled in the Spring.  But instead of planting beets, or broccoli, or mix, I was getting ready to seed in our winter cover crops.  I found myself here – in these same footsteps that I had walked not so long before – very vividly in my mind.  I remember the tilling, the bed prep, the transplanting, the weeding, the abundant harvest, the re-tilling-in of plants… it’s amazing how connected we are to each season, each week, each day here on the farm.  It didn’t seem so long ago when we had planted winter squash and corn here in this same place in 2013… our first trial year on this farm.

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We’ve come a long way since Working Hands started in 2009 and even more so in the past 2 years!  We’re coming up on our 2-year anniversary of serendipitously discovering this piece of earth that wasn’t even listed yet for sale.  And we’re coming up on our 1-year anniversary of officially moving the farm and ourselves over to the place we had spent so many hours and days dreaming, building and becoming…..

2 years ago, an older gentleman stopped by our farm stand at the old property to buy tomatoes and asked if we owned or leased and if we’d be interested in seeing a property just down the road from us that hadn’t yet gone on the market…  little did we know…

19 months ago, we broke ground on this piece of dirt after months of sketching, planning and getting permits through the county.  Starting with the house foundation and squaring off our garden blocks… the vision started to take shape!

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18 months ago, we began tilling the back 20 acres of the property in anticipation of planting pasture (for the first time!) Which took us 2 months to make a first pass, working into the late of the evening on our little John Deere.. and another 2 months to till it again!  and fences!  can’t forget fences…

16 months ago, we planted our first crops at the new place.. and kept on planting… working the field at two different farms all while building a new place for Working Hands to call home.

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13 months ago, we began construction on our gambrel style barn.  We also seeded in our pasture before the rains returned in hopes of having food for our critters in 2014!

1 year ago, we began our official move from one farm to another… including storage crops, tools, animals, and everything in between (in 4 years of farming you can accumulate a lot of stuff!)

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It’s crazy to think that in the past 2 years so much has changed for us and for Working Hands.  All the hard work, work shopping, critical thinking, blood, sweat and tears, and intentionality gave us the solid foundation that we needed in putting our dreams into application.  We kept the big picture in mind but focused mostly on each individual step as to not become overwhelmed.  We had each other, our amazing families and friends who helped guide and  encourage us every step of the way and the support of our CSA members to lay the foundation for what is now the permanent home of Working Hands.  So much good energy has gone into this place and we’re just getting started… !

In farming, everyday can truly feel like an adventure into the unknown.  *I s’pose this is true for most things that you LOVE to do* You just never know what to expect and in trusting in that (and yourself) you can learn so much.  We gain so much inspiration from other young, first generation farmers, books, documentaries etc but for us (like most farmers) first- hand experience is everything.  You must try and fail and try again until you succeed.  And that all might change depending on the weather, seed vitality, and all the other variables we compete with.  And we love that challenge.  For some, it would make them anxious and cause them to sleep restlessly (trust us, we’ve been there too!) but as we grow better – we feel better.. more confident, more sure.. despite any variables that present themselves.. we are up for the challenge and are ready to meet them head on.  You only get one life… which doesn’t leave much room to be too scared to try!

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So, as we stand here in this garden, on this farm, remembering the string and stakes that first marked these beds, or the first Fall crops of 2013 that we harvested from nourished soils, or to the first full season here on the farm (yeah, 2014!)… We feel blessed and we feel grateful (and, maybe, just a touch pooped).

So, here we grow.. moving in our circles and remembering and carrying it all forward, season to season.

We look forward to seeing you all this week.

All the best,

Your farmers

Jess & Brian

 –

dirty hands, clean hearts