So what’s that “one thing” Curly?

Well, I’ve been busy these days with school, trying to rethink how to be profitable with the farm, and not once have I stepped back from the madness to think about what I’m really trying to accomplish with school or my farming efforts.  Actually, taking a step back was much more effort that I expected.  I had to be honest with myself.  I forced myself to acknowledge expectations of myself.  What???!

Yup, I am a driven person that is generally competitive with myself.  Now, I’m in a position of having to ask myself why am I doing what I do – am I altruistic and believe in unicorns and “made for TV movies” with happy endings?  Or maybe, just maybe I’m afraid of being still or bored.  Borrowing from the movie “City Slickers” Perhaps, I want to try everything at least once so at the end of my life I know that I did search for that “one thing” (thanks Curly).  Here’s the YouTube in case you missed this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r9iX39wUAg

I know what my “one thing” is – it has taken me decades to understand that I’ve been living it all along.  I love being outdoors with the hot sun on my back, seeing the possibilities of what the land will bring forth, waving at my neighbors, helping others in need (I think I did see too many “made for TV movies”), and as goofy as it sounds I believe my one thing is: being thankful.  I’m going to work on accepting my “one thing”  because honestly, as an introvert, I want to be that extrovert that saves the day.  I’m me – a farmer, daughter, mother, friend, and smiling all the time.  But it is fitting that I make my commitments to farming, family, and being thankful at this time of the year.  I am afterall a work in progress and have many more days of being “honest” with myself……..

I’m thankful for you and please know that “Dia de Accion de Gracias” is “Thanksgiving”  all the time and everywhere.

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Oh they’re hiding and good luck in trying to find them……

On my commute home, in an effort to avoid my vocal commentary of some people’s lack of common sense, I began thinking about how do we avoid eating GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms)?  Honestly, I was trying to figure out just how do I know that I’m eating GMO’s.  When I got home (and less stressed because I did not provide my usual sarcastic “vocal commentary” of traffic) I googled (love this new verb!!) the subject.

Well, the best article I found was provided by Consumer Reports (here’s the link:  http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/10/where-gmos-hide-in-your-food/index.htm )  and it is very interesting or shocking to a neophyte like myself.  I mean – what the heck?!  This game of “we don’t have enough research available to determine if GMO’s are harmful” but “let’s sell it to people anyway” really is shameful on the part of government and business.  There should be an honest effort by the companies feeding GMO’s to find out what they are shoving down our guts.

Okay, so on with the article……..  Consumer Reports did tests on over 80 processed foods that contained corn or soy.  Why corn or soy?  Well that because these are the two most widely used ingredients in a variety of foods:  Kellogg’s, General Mills, Doritos…….  Oh Doritos……why?!?  And oh, baby formulas as well:  Enfamil, Similac, Gerber.  But what I didn’t know was that if something is labeled “Natural” doesn’t mean “Natural” because there are no standards on what that means!  So in a nut shell (is it truly a nut or was it’s poppa a potato?)  we just don’t really know what we are ingesting unless we grow it ourselves.

To every season there is a purpose

In Ecclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV) the simple yet profound words:  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

There has been a loss in my life.  One of my friends died way too soon.  Young, beautiful, loving, and fun.  She too was a farmer.  She was also a daughter, friend, sister, cousin, and mother.  Often we are defined by what we do for a living and to her honor she is remembered by the way she made people feel:  she never made a person feel forgotten or lost in a crowd.  She let you know just how important you were to her and she let you know just how important you are to the world.  What an amazing gift – imparting self-worth.

Today was a beautiful day with the sun shining but yet I was feeling bleak:  depressed.  My loved ones whom I’ve lost over the years overtook my thoughts.  Tears flowed down my cheek more than once as I was looking at the garden where all I saw were frozen, brown, masses of what were once vegetable plants.  Then Ecclesiastes 3 came to mind and it didn’t give me any peace.  I went on my business of gathering wood for the upcoming week.

I took a break from my paperwork later in the afternoon and returned to look at the garden.  Can you imagine just wanting to stand and look at brown decaying plants?  But I did because somehow I wanted it to give me peace.  I don’t know how long I stood there just staring.  In my scanning the garden I spotted a patch of green hidden under a clump of brown.  I cleared the plant and there were 3 small tomatoes attached to this green plant.  Suddenly I snatched those 3 ripening tomatoes and the words came to me:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

 

I had to pluck those tomatoes.  It was their time and without hesitation I accepted this fact.   Now I need to become real with myself and accept her death so I may mourn.  I pray at this moment that you have a bright and blessed week and the challenges you face be overshadowed by your amazing gifts…

It’s a gloomy day: alright!

Yikes, it’s finally cold here in New Mexico.  The weather outside is cold, windy, overcast, and to some yucky.  This morning at five a.m. I initially thought “geez (actually substitute a bit of profanity here) why can’t the chickens learn to feed themselves??!!”  “UGH!”  But I trudged onward and fed not only the chickens but the rabbits and dogs as well.  But after a few minutes of being out in the cold air and soft wind, I felt energetic.  So, what to do in yucky weather (not an approved National Weather Service term by the way).

I decided that since it was quiet outside for the exception of the amazing cranes gracing the air space, I would plan for the spring.  So, composting will be spread in December, my seed order will be placed in December , the trees will be pruned in January, cabbage seeds will be spread in February (and probably again in March), plant grape seedlings in March, indoor seedlings in March and April.   Looking out my office window it is indeed gloomy weather; however, in my mind:  it is glorious and brimming with flowers and herbs – oh, pruned trees (can’t forget that….!)!!!!  At this very moment:  it is raining!!!  Yay!  Yesterday we planted a bit of winter wheat and so this is amazingly cool!!!  Okay, ten seconds later it stopped (this is New Mexico after all….)  I’m back with you – tangented out but I’m back……  I’m so happy for the opportunity to enjoy this gloomy day and share my random madness with you.  You are a blessing!

It’s alive I say, it’s alive…….sustainable farming vs. organic

Yes, it’s alive!  The soil that is….  When a person practices sustainable farming the person becomes a steward of the land.  I don’t necessarily care for the word “practice” because it seems as if all efforts are just a trial run rather than the real deal of work.  Sorry back to the soil:  My first question a few years ago was “what is the difference between organic and sustainable?”

Organic requires certification through the USDA whereas being sustainable is more of a philosophical or ethical approach to farming efforts.  For example practicing water conservation, keeping the antibiotics away from livestock,  and allowing your livestock to pasture over the winter in what was the chili field the previous summer – that’s being a good steward.  Nada mas (nothing more) is required when you are being sustainable.  I’m sure my grandfather and Pop are shrugging their heavenly shoulders with the “well yeah” gesture.

So is the food healthier?  My kiddo used to run around the farm chasing (take your pick here) chickens, ducks, or puppies.  In her signature move she would plop herself onto the ground and sneak into the rows of squash and emerge with a lemon squash between her little hands just munching away.  So how cool is that?  Would you allow your little one to just grab produce from the grocery store aisle and partake of the chemicals?  I think it’s cool to think I’m helping the earth (okay I’m reaching far beyond my neighborhood with that statement) and someday that carrot I pull from the earth will be just as nutritious as the carrots pulled a century ago.

I’m going to leave you with this short article from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa (it’s short and sweet):

http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/news/05-23-2013/soil-building-benefits-organic-practices

May your week be amazing!!

Why didn’t I know………

October 16th was World Food Day and the theme was “family farming and caring for the world”.   My questions:  Why didn’t I know this AND why didn’t any of my farming circles know this?  Not that I would have know what to do about it anyway but why didn’t I hear about this designated “Day” from the several organizations I receive emails from.

How can we be united toward a common goal of “providing people with food” if there isn’t a common portal to communicate the needs of: the farmers, the interests of the people, or most of all those who are undernourished.  Let’s get real here – there are 800 million (at least) globally that are undernourished.  I can’t wrap my mind around 800 million people that go to bed hungry each night with little hope of change when they wake each morning.

The development of unified communication is essential in times before/during/after a crisis and I believe that unified communication is no less vital for farming communities.  In an effort to being part of a solution it requires me to take a stronger voice and stand in my effort to being a better farmer.  “If not me – then who?” and “if not now, then when?”  ( just paraphrased someone and I did it badly, my apologies) Won’t you please take a moment to be kind and help me on this journey of being an active participant?  Better yet, how can we join together and make things happen?

Are farmers mentors??

I know that I’ve posted and gushed over my Pop.  I love him (not gonna say loved, because he may be gone but my love remains) to the moon!  There are many examples of true stewards of the land and animals.  Let’s take for example San Ysidro, the patron saint of farmers:  San Ysidro was a pious man and would spend a bit too much time in prayer.  So much that his fellow employees complained and his employer Senor Jefe went to talk to him.  When Senor Jefe saw Ysidro, he also saw two angels plowing the field while Ysidro was praying (what??).  He wasn’t deemed a saint as a result of taking a break and having angels work for him…….

He was a man of prayer – farmers pray (for rain, for nice weather, for good soil, good crops, healthy livestock, for their family and neighbors – you get the picture).  Ysidro was a kind man to those that were less fortunate and to the animals.  Miracles happened when Ysidro fed the poor at his table and when he shared crops with the animals – he was blessed with much more bounty.

Many farmers give without hesitation to those who are in need.  Many farmers plant extra in their fields knowing that “people aren’t the only ones eating from this land”. Many farmers share their knowledge with others.  Many farmers pray for all of us.  Many farmers do without luxury so they may share with others.  Many farmers show us how to live by being humble examples.  I am feeling so blessed.  So THANK YOU to the many farmers/ranchers out there that have been a mentor and you probably didn’t even know what a wonderful example you were – when you thought no one was looking.