Thursday, September 9, 2010

When God talks in subtle ways

Normally I would leave the deep and inspirational thoughts to Sister Silvia. She is much better about those things than I, but today's story merits retelling. . . at least in my mind.

(Author's Note: This may be a little telling about me, but please - folks that I work for. . . don't panic!)

Most of our crops are at least 2 weeks ahead of schedule. In some cases they are as much as four weeks early. The visual cues that the plants are putting off have caused my mind to switch into autumn mode - a quieter mode. I am tired. It has been an amazing season, a busy season, a productive season, but a long season.

In my head it is autumn. It is time to slow down - to plant things that will grow more slowly - to focus more on reflection and planning and less on actual farming.

In reality there are still 7 weeks of market left, the masses of hungry young people have returned to campus, the Mercy Market just opened (I will write more about this later because it is just darned cool!!!)and we haven't even held the Eat Local Challenge yet. In little words. . . we are still farming people!!!

The crops that we should be harvesting now are done. . . there is enough time to squeak in a few short season veggies that we can use, but there is going to a be a lull in the diversity that we have enjoyed offering over the summer. Topping that with the farm's conversion (funny word there) over to the Mercy Center a lot of the things that I really shouldn't be worrying about have changed. Leadership, funding, protocol, reporting - it's all changed.

The chaos of it all has really added weight to the stress that I am already under - thinking in Autumn mode while trying to function in Summer mode. Earlier this week I was ready to throw in the towel. . . till the ground, eat the sheep and ride the llama off into the sunset to look for some cushy office job (um. . . yuck).

My head was all a blur with worries and thoughts and there was little calm up there. What does a farmer do when he/she is stressed out. . . . . . . they weed. So that is what I did. I tucked myself in the back of Hobbes - our hoop house with the jungle of cucumbers. I hid behind the trellis of cukes and sat with the peanut plants for a while gently plucking the lambs quarter out that had so unwelcomely taken root.Most of the lovely orange peanut blossoms are gone now, but still the plants themselves demand a certain respect. In many ways they make me think about potatoe (yes with an "e") plants. They start small, but quickly take over, making a carpet of themselves, covering any visible soil. The blossoms which are bright like the rising sun sit low on the plants and stay there quietly whispering beautiful thoughts that bring joy. . . at least to my heart. But these were largely missing now.

The placement of our peanut plants was not ideal. We tucked them into the back corner of the hoop house because they were ready long before the other plants and there were still a large number of greens growing in the hoop. The back corner was the first open space that promised freedom from early spring frost. It never occurred to me that the veil of climbing cucumber vines would be so thick as to obscure the peanuts from both our site and water. Hence they were a bit neglected, and now I had little hope of any harvest - yet another point of frustration.

As I pulled one particular lambs quarter from within the patch of peanuts, it's root mass pulled up quite a bit of dirt. After a brief conversation with the rotten little weed (it had about 50,000 seeds on it) I returned my attention to where I had been weeding to find that where the root mass had been there were two peanuts in various stages of development!Peanuts. . . really, really, real peanuts!!!!

I had given up on them and yet there they were!!!!! Growing and flourishing in spite of all of my misgivings. . . . then the "Ah ha!" moment hit.

And there was a little whisper from God saying. . . "Knock it off knuckle-head! Fretting and stewing will get you no where."

I was in the most beautiful place in the world doing the most wonderful job I can think of and still I somehow found a way to selfishly be miserable over things neither can I control nor do they really matter in the long run anyway.

Funny how a little thing like a peanut saved six sheep, a few "still-growing" veggies and my sanity. . . but thank God for the small things!!!!

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