Hello all. This blogging thing is new to me… it feels strange to talk about myself to an unseen audience. But this is different. I’m taking over Mud Creek Farm, and that’s not just about me; it affects the whole amazing community that is Mud Creek Farm. Suddenly, I want to tell everyone everything that’s going on in my life, because right now what I’m doing is building a home for Mud Creek to live. Its been an intense time, taking over the business from Erin is a pretty big step for me, but it’s also super exciting. Erin has been an incredible mentor, and I feel honored that she trusts me to carry on the amazing CSA she’s worked so hard to build. I also feel very grateful to all the members of Mud Creek who’ve welcomed me so warmly, and I’m also very grateful to the amazing crew we have, two (possibly three) of whom are staying on next year. Its a great relief to me, because I’ve never worked with a better crew and they would be hard to replace. We will be hiring, though! Betsy, who is a rock star, has joined the Peace Corps and is going to Malawi next year, and if Anna does work for us she will probably be part time. So if anyone out there is interested, stay posted, we’ll be putting out the word soon.
I haven’t been around the present Mud Creek Farm as much as usual lately, because I’ve been spending a lot of time getting our new land ready for next year. I didn’t go to Ag school, I leaned everything I know about farming from other farmers, which I think is the best way to learn anyway… no, I went to art school. Alfred University, in fact, just over an hour south of us. One would think there’s not much correlation between my degree and what I do now, but you would be surprised how many connections I make every day, and these past two weeks have been no exception: our new land is a blank canvas. Up until last week, it was a blank canvas shrouded by a blanket of extremely tall, extremely thick weeds (this is definitely fertile soil!). In order to even see the canvas I have to work with, I had to mow. It took two days, and there’s still some to do, but everything that will be field is mowed down. The weeds were too thick for our mower to handle, so I used a mower and tractor very generously lent by the folks at the Apple Farm, just up the road. They have dangerously excellent cider donuts.
Once the canvas was visible, Josh and I could walk around and stake out where our fields will go. There’s a lot to think about when you’re working with such a blank slate; how can you place all the fields so the beds are all the same length? Where’s the best early ground? The best late ground? Which way should the beds face? Where will the lane ways go? Etc. I’m hoping I’ve thought of almost everything, because it’s hard to change once you have it plowed. I started to plow yesterday. It was tough going, the mowed weeds have made a blanket on the ground that can accumulate and clog the plow. It was so satisfying, though, to see that first section of ground turned over. It makes it easier to picture what will be there next year; onions, flowers, beans, people picking basil and little kids running around. It’s a beautiful place, full of potential, and I feel so lucky to be the one who gets to build it.