Farming is about cycles. You know, “for every season, turn, turn,” that sort of Mother-Earth-with-a-tambourine sentiment. And I have to say, after an initial blush of enthusiasm for the snake-eating-its-own-tail circle of life, I had come to hate the cycles. Spring a time of rebirth and renewal? Yup – but also of killer frosts that occur AFTER the last frost date (which is supposed to be an AVERAGE, so that makes no sense to me), still born lambs, and the arrival of the lovely fluttering white moths (that are NOT peaceful butterflies tipping their delicate wings to me as I garden, the salute of a fellow creature – they are nasty parasites waiting to lay the eggs of their vine borer evil spawn on my squash plants so monsters can destroy it from the inside out and render me, again, the only gardener who can’t grow zucchini).
This spring though, I might reconsider. We are seeing the cycling back of people, and I am finding that more enjoyable than watching livestock die. Green Fence Farm 2.0, Max and Vanessa, are making great progress on their slice of farmland. And not only that, but Max has started working for Tom Hayman of Grains of Sense, a craft coffee roaster located in downtown Staunton. Grains of Sense was one of our tent neighbors when Green Fence Farm sold at the Staunton Farmers Market, but the connectivity doesn’t end there. Grains of Sense shares store-space with Nu Beginning Farm, run by John and Stella Methany, also long-time Staunton Farmers Market vendors. In addition, John worked for a couple of years on Green Fence Farm and was a regular contributor (bread, jam, and vegetables) to our CSA back when we had the energy for such things.
(OK, EVERYBODY! Will the circle be unbroken…)
But I am not done yet. After John left GFF for greener pastures (or, as they are called in agriculture, a profitable business), we had for a season a fabulous intern, James Cooke, who was trying everything he could think of to get out of being an Richmond architect, including taking from us minimum wage and a lot of blow-hardy bad advice on how to make a farm work (Ha! He should have been talking to John). Fast forward three years, and Jamie has escaped Alcatraz and landed in his own business (Black Swan Books and Music) in Staunton, just a couple blocks from John and Tom’s store.
(By and by Lord, by and by…)
Still not done. Tomorrow 5-7 PM we will be hosting a book signing for Nick’s new novel (he writes better than he farms, I promise), Steel’s Treasure, at, of course, Jamie’s store (see the poster for the event below, which was designed by daughter Vivian, who will be around the farm this summer as she returns to her job as a counselor at Camp Mont Shenandoah and her boyfriend Will Root stays with Vanessa and Max and works for the summer on the farm which, if I am figuring this right, means Will will probably be opening a pool hall in Staunton about this time next year).
(There’s a better world a-waiting…)
Of course, John and Tom are invited to the book signing, and Jamie will be there because he owns the place. Viv is attending, as are Vanessa and Max and Austin and Liz, who are staying for the weekend in what has become their vacation cabin, which is the house we built twenty years ago so we would have a place to bring the newborn Viv to experience the cycles of rural life.
(In the sky, Lord, in…the….skkkyyyyyyy.)