Ten Years...

Through my history’s despite
and ruin, I have come
to its remainder, and here
have made the beginning
of a farm intended to become
my art of being here.
By it I would instruct
my wants: they should belong
to each other and to this place.
Until my song comes here
to learn its words, my art
is but the hope of song.
— Wendell Berry, The Collected Poems, 1957-1982

It is a snowy April day, and I sit here formulating my thoughts and plans. Actually, I’ve been forging these plans for the past ten years, but the goal seems tangible this time. After all, I have a farm...

Let me back up. Ten years ago this year, I married my best friend, the love of my life, my dream maker. We got hitched in Parkdale, OR near the base of Mt Hood, at the most stunning ranch B&B. That day, obviously one of the best of my life, I not only married that stud, I began to conceive of a dream that would overlay and slowly direct the next ten years of my life.

That B&B is really a small working ranch and farm. The grounds were spectacular on that perfectly overcast June day. The lush green lawn extended beyond the tiny charming pond and the picturesque vegetable gardens (where of course, everything could grow - it was Oregon after all. You could throw seeds up into the air, and no matter where they landed, they would grow). I digress... All of this led to the most staggeringly perfect view of Mt Hood. That exquisite space, its subtle imperfections, and the simplicity of this rural life (even though I know how insanely complicated it really is) gave me pause. I wanted this. Bad. 

But for the short term, I tucked the dream away into that little back pocket where many of my lofty aspirations lived, and focused on the immediate: marriage, moving, and education. The next few years were more than a blur, they were a tornado. Dan entered into hell, otherwise known as residency, and I continued my work in women’s health for Planned Parenthood and pursued my Master’s Degree in Public Health. 

I also took on revamping our first backyard into a perfect gardening oasis, and really fell in love with dirt. I didn’t just fall in love, I fell into an obsession. I was consumed by the cycle: seed, dirt, plant, edible perfection. I grew bounties of lettuces, peas, arugula, and tomatoes. I kept taking away yard space, and adding garden space. And then I started taking over other people’s yards too. I grew more than we could eat. I grew more than I could give away. 

And then, I grew my very own perfection: Hazel. She arrived on a warm October day, and she stole my heart. Never in my life had I felt this kind of wonder and awe. True un-abided love. It broke all rules. I began to incorporate our little bean into the harvesting of my actual edible beans. I wore her on my chest, close to my heart, as I pulled tomatoes from their yellowing vines, cut spicy arugula, and tapped butternut squash for ripeness. I set her next to me on a blanket as I shucked garlic and planted the cloves in semi-straight lines throughout my garden. It became clear, I was now doing this for her. 

I wanted a family that loved the soil, that ate from the ground. I wanted a job where my children could see me working, run out to me, and pull the beets from the dirt alongside me. I wanted my daily commute to be a short walk from the fields to the door. I wanted a home with space, with land, with potential. It was now a dream that was bigger than just me, it was now for my family. 

Fast forward through years of hard work, sacrifice, growth, success, tears, and laughter. Our family has expanded again, adding one feisty, captivating, beautiful, belly-forward, Ingrid. We celebrated her joining our family with a move to Park City, the purchase of our current home, and the transition to a full-time pursuit of the farm dream. Our mountain home sits on nine acres overlooking the backside of the Wasatch Range. The land is a gentle southern slope of horse pasture. And I’m gonna farm it. We have a lot of work to do (a lot of rocks to deal with - any volunteers?), a lot of planning to take on, and a lot of learning to still get under my belt, but it’s here.

So now, about ten years later, I look out over the mountains, the land, the future, and I feel a sense of peace, of satisfaction, of fear, and of overwhelming joy. I look at my two girls running out into the tall grass, giggling as our puppies bound after them. I sit on the sun-filled deck and pat our old dog’s graying muzzle and ears. I adoringly stare at my “farm doc” husband in his Carhartts and boots, and say thank you for ALL of this. I look into my heart, and know I’ve done the right thing. I stand ready at the precipice of my dream... and I jump.