Route 27, Belgrade, Maine · 207-649-3331

Farming with children

IMG_3791Farming with children: My kids and I started this farm together: I remember the day like it was yesterday, Kenya then 6 years old, helped me make a batch of strawberry jam, and harvest a bumper crop of basil. That frist year at the farm 2001, we plowed up some sandy earth, most of our farm is sand. And then we piled high on this sandy earth sheep manure very old maybe 20 year old sheep manure that we dug out of the barn some spots were waist high in sheep manure, we had to bend over to walk through spots of the barn. so that fist summer we had bumper crops of everything including weeds.

At the time my grandmother had a home in Oakland, not far from the farm and Kenya and I went to my grandmothers barn and found a well worn cabinet of drawers and a window with its frame intact. We bought some Martha Stewart green paint and back a the farm we painted the window glass, basil on the top half and jam on the bottom half, then we set it all up at the end of the house drive way and hid behind the big popple tree, and our first customer stopped and well we have been in business ever sense.

What an adventure farming with kids, through all there developmental changes and me the center of the wheel learning to farm and run a business and a house and kids all first time challenges for me.

When I get frustrated with how something gets done, I break the stress by thinking of how funny it really is.  and when my kids are wondering does mom really know what shi is talking about, well they never get frustrated with me, and they always support me 100% no matter what we are working on.

I would not change this for the world, I know I would not be farming with out my kids and I know I could not have raised my kids to the ability that I have with out the farm guiding us.

I have been trying to discipline my self enough to write in a journal each day about all that goes on. Like the little things that I remember. But of course I have not had the energy left at  the end of the day to get that done. some day though i will write that book. Farming with kids.

Here are some visions that I remember oh so clearly, Gil when he was 4, 5 and 6 or so would run from the barn to the house, and I would watch him he was so care free and happy his red curls just a bouncing all over the place, and a song coming from his mouth just as loud as he could, he had no worrys, and it would make me so happy.

Then there was Kenya who was allergic to milk, but was passionate about cows and miking them. Effortlessly she would milk morning and night we had 3 or 4 cow at different times , over the years. and they well were not great about leading, and day after day those cows would drag Kenya from the barn to the pasture and she would get up and do it again. She was so strong and she would get so angry that those cows would not listen to her.

And then of course Sage, last fall I was having a meeting in the house at the dining room table, now this house of ours has 45 windows, so I was always able to see what was happening no matter where I was. so on this day, I sat there with NRCS folks who were helping us with a grant. and  I had the perfect view of Sage who said she would run the apple press squeezing some apples, and the shop was open. Next thing I saw was Sage with some customers at the cider press she was showing them how to run the press, by the time i finished my meeting she had single handedly  pressed 12 bushels of apples and showed a few customers how pressing is done. That would be Sage the socialite of the family.

Then of course there are the not so funny things that happen, but still finding humor in them is what its all about.

Farming with kids: I wouldn’t have it any other way!