It’s been a week for some difficult personal changes in my life and I am still reeling from the aftershocks. Suffice it to say that for the first time in my 35 years I find myself living alone and it’s taking some getting used to. I admit at first I was a little fearful; my very first night alone in a house by myself I sought out the baseball bat to put beside the bed and found myself missing Willow in the worst way.
But the fear passed as the novelty of finally being able to have things my way won me over. For example, having always been an early riser, I’ve always spent my early mornings being very quiet…writing or reading typically, while the rest of the household sleeps, holding off on the more active projects until later in the morning. Now if I decide to wash the dishes at 4am, or crank up the sewing machine at dawn, I’m not disturbing anyone and I can finally have MY tunes playing in the background whenever and wherever I please.
And so I am learning to be alone. I need a chance to catch my breath and get my feet back under me. I need some time to just be ME for a while. All by my little self. I am going to become one with my farm and see where this newfound solidarity takes us. For the foreseeable future I am devoting myself to Runamuk and this farm, and with fewer distractions I’m hoping I’ll be able to accomplish much more.
Having never lived alone before, I’m discovering some gaps in my education─for example, on Monday morning as I was about to get in the car to go to work at the orchard, I realized one of my tires was flat and I’d never changed a tire in my life!
It’s been a week for naysayers too. At a point when my morale was already low I had to deal with a select few folks who just look at me and my little farm with disbelief. Runamuk doesn’t meet their mental image of what a farm should be, or they see a scatterbrained young woman, and so they write us off. And then too, I’m reminded of the fact that both farming and beekeeping tend to be more masculine careers, and─ever the tomboy─here I am, farming and keeping bees. For all the talk in the media lately about the increase in female farmers, it’s still very much a man’s world and I see judgment and conviction in the eyes of some folks.
I know it’s a lot of work. I know it takes money. I know how hard it is. But I would make any number of sacrifices to be able to keep farming, including working on and off farm, toiling in the dirt and hot sun, in the freezing cold and the wet, and giving up untold number of frivolities just so that I can pay for another bag of chicken feed. And yes, I realize there’s not much to Runamuk at this point; it’s been a long journey to find land to farm─a journey filed with wrong turns and false starts. But I’m here now and working with dogged determination to gain ground with Runamuk.
Farming is my first love. My true love. But it’s not for everyone, and not everyone can understand why farmers do what they do. And that’s OK. I’m OK. I’m OK with the work and the sweat and the dirt, the stress and the sacrifices─it all makes me feel alive. I feel as though the work I’m doing is important and that it gives meaning to my existence. I live with the profound sense that we’re here for such a short time, and I want to really live, to live happy, and to leave some kind of small impression upon the world around me when I’m gone.
And so I am alone, but happy with my farm and I know that the rest will come. I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire; I’ve got a business plan and a farm-strategy, a marketing plan, plans-A and plans-B (just in case). It takes time and hard work, but good things are happening at Runamuk…slowly but surely.
If you want to support Runamuk too, you can help just by sharing my blog with friends! You can also help by clicking on the ads that you see on my site, or by stopping by the Madison Farmers’ Market where I sell Runamuk’s farm-fresh eggs, beeswax soaps and salves. A gift certificate for one of Runamuk’s on-farm workshops would make a great gift for someone special this holiday season, and our soaps and salves and lipbalms all make great stocking stuffers or additions to gift baskets of Maine-made products. Every bit of support that I receive goes right back into this farm, and I am grateful for even the smallest contribution─and I thank you for taking the time just to read these words!
Stay tuned folks!