This is the post that has been haunting me. It’s what I have been wondering if I would have to write for months now. It’s made my other writing shallow and half-hearted as it has hung there in the shadows and now it steps forward.
We are being relocated.
I need to say goodbye to this farm.
It isn’t that there won’t be another in our future. We intend to find another farm and possibly return to a larger scale, full time model, someday.
The pain is like the severing of a limb or the removal of an organ. It’s the broken heart of a lost love you still have to see, that still requires your attention, the only thing more painful being knowing you’ll soon not have them at all.
It sounds too dramatic, but I know her. This farm is a female. She brings life. We’ve been raising children together. She has infuriated me and taught me, fed me and made my heart swell. She has been a cruel task master and soft place to fall. She’s tough and beautiful.
I know this soil. I know it’s smell and taste. We’ve been feeding it and it has been feeding us for years now. Its nutrients are part of me. I know it’s pockets and nuances, where the clay runs and where the soil is rich, what areas need clover and what need buckwheat this year. I know where the popcorn needs to go this spring and what bed got too much lime before we switched to wood ash. I know where the weed pressure is going to be worst next year. I know what isn’t a weed.
I know what I can eat wild and what I can’t. So do my kids.
I know these trees, the way they sound in the wind and how much they have grown. I am grateful for their shade and take pictures of them often. I know the animals they shelter and hide. I have struggled for the fruit trees we have. I know how those scant white peaches taste and what it’s like to snag fresh mulberries as I mow.
I know these birds. I remember how quiet it was before the song birds came. I have watched the same pair of falcons come back every year. They spent their days with our chickens but never went after them. Last year, one of the pair didn’t come back. This is the second season of only one. I know the swallow who spends weeks knocking on the top window in the living room every year. I know the bird that mimics the sound of my sweet dog, who is buried here. It followed us, barking her bark, to the bus on my daughter’s first day of school. I cried.
I know where every animal we have lost is buried.
I know how the frogs can be so loud you have to raise your voice to talk over them. I know where the toads will be at night so I don’t step on them and how the lizards will tilt their heads as if they are listening when you talk to them.
I know how to do things here. Not all things, but many things.
I know the days my family spent working on projects together and the nights I sat in the barn with a glass of wine to talk to the horses and cats.
I know how long the damn yellow flies will be here and that there are more beneficial insects here than detrimental.
I know the neighbors, the ones who want to be known and the ones who don’t. I know where we will be for holidays and who to call for bonfires. We’ve had a lot of parties here and a lot of impromptu nights on the porch or in the garage.
This was where I turned from industrial food to food that feeds people. There is where I got my real education.
We’ve struggled and grown together, this farm and I. I know her next partners may not care about any of that.