All We Need Farm

  (Needville, Texas)
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Thanksgiving...

Thanksgiving…

 

Jay and I decided not to go to Louisiana this Thanksgiving.  Lots of reasons why, but I am happy for this choice.  We spent the time at home in very productive ways.  We finished all of the winter homes for our animals and spent real quality time with our family and some dear friends.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner sourced from our farm and a beautiful TX wine.

 

I am so happy to finish our animal shelters because we had our first frost this morning.  All of the basil is now gone, but the chickens, the goats, and the rabbits were happy.  We started the fence on the Dannhaus side of our property only to realize that we need a new drill bit for our auger.   There is always something – thus the name of our farm – All We Need can be taken two ways. 

 

Today we did horse judging in the morning, Santa pictures in the afternoon, feels like a holiday, rested and full.  Now is time for a fire and Thanksgiving leftovers. 

 

We are so thankful-thankful for our family and our farm, the stars in the night sky, our incredible vegetables, our animals (even big bad Ben), and the firewood that my father chopped all summer.  We are thankful for our customers and CSA members who support our family and for this holiday that allows us to reflect, even if just for a moment, about this beautiful life that we share. 

 

I would like to remember a Jessie Clare quote, “God is good, all the time”.

 

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Progress

We have gotten so much rain in the past week.  The good news is that the carrots and the beets that I planted last week have sprouted.  I am so very excited to see that progress.  This week's momentum is slow.  There are many weeds to pull and the ground is saturated.  I am hoping to get in front of that situation very soon. 

Emelie and Jessie Clare will enter Ketchup into the Fort Bend County Fair tonight.  This is our first attempt at presenting a food product.  I am guessing that we will learn soooo very much from this experience. 

Emelie shows rabbits on Thursday night.  Our bunnies are looking good.  Emelie has come a long way from where we were last year for the fair.  We are so proud of her. 

There is so much to do.  I will provide an update later in the week... Stacey

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One man is not an Island.

A friend from college wrote me last week.  She lives in NYC, and they are thinking of leaving the big apple for the farm.  She asked for advice.  I thought long and hard about the very best advice I could give someone looking to make this lifestyle change.  There are so many things to say.  Five years into this adventure, and I feel as though I could write a book and add a chapter every month.  Here is what I wrote.

1) Know who you are and why you want to do this work. Write that down, and when you get off the road, because it happens, go back and read it.

22)How do you define success is another thing to have for reference. For example, I lost every cucumber and squash I planted this year to a bug infestation. So easy to get down, but my success is not defined by how many cucumbers I bring to market. 

   3)Have an off farm friend or mentor to lean on.

I have been thinking about this advice, specifically about #3. 

I have a friend Cathy Sullivan.  Cathy has a farm 10 miles south of me in a little town called Damon, Sullivan’s Heart Happy Farm.  She is an amazing lady.  Her style of farming is very similar to mine and because our land is so close, we share many of the same problems and sometimes the same bounty. 

One thing I know from this work is that it is very, very hard.  If you try to go alone, you will fail, drown, or be blown away by much bigger competition.  The only way to go the long haul is to work together towards a goal that is better, cleaner, local food.

We live in a society that values the independent soul, the self made man.  However, anyone who farms knows that one man is not an island.  I need the support of a pat on the back or a “hey did you think of calling that guy down the road”, or a “hey I called that guy down the road for you”.

A gentle push or a kick in the pants never hurt anyone.  Advice like, “Stacey, you can’t point a gun at the crop dusters, if they fly over your property, it’s illegal.”  That’s priceless. 

I did not know Cathy when I bought my land, but I am so happy to know her and to work with her.  Find a friend and let them know how important they are to your work, your life, your family.  Share that today.

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Fall

Just in case you haven’t spent the last two weeks “under the Texas sun”, I thought that I would share with you that fall is on its way.  During August, our days were hot, hot, hot and sticky humid.  Now we are transitioning into shorter days, the sun is rising later and later.  There is a beautiful cool wind from the South, and the cloud cover is wonderful. 

The animals are moving just a little more and so am I.  Looking forward to the bounty of fall, watching my crops and my children grow while hoping for less weeding and more harvesting. 

Yesterday, my 9 year old brought me a doll that we bought while visiting a friend in Peru.  The dress was coming apart at the waist.   “Mom, can you sew my doll?”.  I asked her if she remembered where we got the doll.  She replayed back to me the train ride, the sidewalk, the lady that we bought it from, what she was wearing, and what we did following.  I was shocked.  

The doll is now 6 years old and still beautiful.  As I sewed it together, I thought of the care that went into making it and how beautiful it still was.  My mind wandered as I thought about the lady we bought it from, what her life is like now, is she still making dolls?  I wish that she could know how Emelie cares for her creation and the impact that she had on my little girl. 

Long story short, how we spend our days makes a difference in the lives of those around us.  I hope to know that my work brings beauty and variety to the tables of my family and community.     

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