BACK AT IT.

Well, as you can probably tell by our blog and internet presence, or lack thereof, we are back at it here in Bugtussle. We’re planting, and starting seeds and getting ground worked up. It’s a lot of work, a little soreness and a very welcomed feeling. I’ve never suffered from any sort of seasonal depression, but I have to say that I come close to it towards the end of February. I get antsy to get back in the dirt, to correct my mistakes. I get cabin fever. I wait, with baited breath, for the first favorable forecast so that I may finally start working towards feeding people.

And we’re going to feed a lot more people this year, which is very exciting. Our CSA is filling up quick and we have many returning members, several new ones, all great families. We had a shiitake party/workshop a couple weeks ago! That was great––we’ll likely do it again next year. We’ve got thousands of transplants in the greenhouse ready to go into the garden. And we’ve done a lot of garden work to get the season going. Anyway, here’s a bunch of pictures of what we have going on. And as always, bare with the sparseness of the blog through the growing months––we’ll do our best to give regular updates!

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FARMSTEADING.

When we originally came up with the name Rough Draft Farmstead back in 2011, our thought process was simple. We liked “Rough Draft” because it fit us as artists, but also “Draft” spoke to our ambitions to one day have draft animals. “Farmstead” originally just sounded better than homestead or farm, but it also felt more accurate, like it was directly in between the two. But over these past few years, I really feel like our farm has begun to embody the farmstead part of its name. And I’m proud of that.

We homestead, sure. We grow our own food and cure and preserve and dabble in permaculture, cheesemaking, etc. etc. etc.. Certainly, we are very involved with our home. But we also farm. Professionally farm. We make our living growing food––a living that becomes increasingly more reasonable as we get better at it and as we dig in further.

And I like it this way. I see a lot of interest in homesteading and permaculture, but not enough in actually making a living on this lifestyle. I love completely sustainable ideas, but nothing is sustainable if it can’t pay for the farm, or the bills. This doesn’t mean you have to drop all of your dreams and buy a giant tractor. It just means you should find ways for your life make your living. For us, we want to eat good food, so we grow a bunch of it and sell the excess (so to speak). We want fruit and herbs and mushrooms––same thing. And we do our best to feed as many people as we can. I have no idea if farmsteading is a word people use––my word processor is certainly skeptical––but I do like what it implies. It’s a combination of farming and homesteading, and a viable way to make your life your livelihood.

– Jesse.

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BIRTH STORY.

I am sharing Further’s birth story here for several reasons. Mainly, I wanted to write it down so I wouldn’t forget it – it is amazing what happens to your brain when you are breastfeeding! Also, it was really helpful for me when I was pregnant to read other people’s birth stories. I think it is important for us to hear/read stories of successful homebirths – and my midwife especially wanted me to share mine because it is a story of a successful loooong homebirth. So here it is. It is incredibly long, so if you are not interested or you dislike the details of birth or don’t want to see a photo of me and my son a few seconds after he was born, just pass on by! Continue reading

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FURTHER AND FATHER ALONG.

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I’m looking forward to the summer. Wholeheartedly. I’m excited about fresh veggies, about sunshine, about dirt (as opposed to mud, about which I cannot even feign excitement). But I have to say that I’m going to miss seeing Further as much as I have been. We spend a lot of time together, and it’s been a wonderful thing. I’ve watched him progress, fatten, smile. Though with these tastes of the busy season, days worth of soil blocks and working around the farm, I’ve been worrying that in the summer I’m going to be too occupied for us to get much time together.

Then, as soon as I have this thought, I throw it out. I am, to be clear, a very lucky father. My job, our lifestyle, makes it so. I will get to see my son often during the busy season––in the cabin, in the garden, all around the farm––even when I’m literally running around to finish projects, but especially when I’m not.

Farm life is an ally of parenthood. Our home is near the garden. The garden is close to home. Work and life are neighbors here. And sure, farming may not always be completely in sync with parenthood––especially for how demanding the job can be––but they certainly seem to look out for one another, as good neighbors tend to do. Hannah gets to be around full-time with our child and I get the next best thing. And when Further is older, he will begin to work with us in the gardens, joining the family business, but also allowing his poor old pop to spend a little extra time with his son.

If time is indeed money, well, farming may not always make us much of the latter. But time, it can offer a little of that in exchange. Time with my wife. Time with my son. Time as a family. And right now, I’m happy to get paid a little bit in time. As my child changes with almost blinding speed, there are few things more valuable.

– Jesse.

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