ROOTED | LEANING IN

 

At long last, we find ourselves moving through this morning at a pace best described as Extremely Slow. Our heavily used French press met an end in the metal sink last week, thus temporarily changing our morning coffee ritual. Otherwise, life looks normal. After two blessed and remarkable weeks back home in Ohio, we returned to Vermont to ring in 2017 the way any good farmer who works the next day would: asleep. Just shy of two weeks into a new year, we keep remarking on this, our stone home; this, our Vermont home; this, our year ahead that is deeply mysterious yet very likely our most rooted year. Just outside our door are 140 goats, almost all of whom we know by name. A year ago, we didn't even know how to pronounce the name of our town (for those curious, it's pronounced West Paw-lit, not West Paw-lette).

In almost five years together (and, in six days, one year married!) we have moved a combined twelve times. Bearing that in mind, along with our bordering-on-irrational affection for a place called Ohio, we sense that this place is not permanent. But for the foreseeable future—this calendar year, 2017—it looks like we'll be here. Rooted. Here. It's unfamiliar, but welcome, territory. When we toted our belongings down I-90 this past October, the idea that we were laying down our roots was just beginning to take hold. But as our first season at Consider Bardwell Farm became "last season," and as the proverbial "next season" became "this season," our life in Vermont has assumed greater weight. It calls upon us to lean in; to give our best selves to this place, and to love this moment in life in a way that we may also be loved by it.

DSC09612.jpg

These days we find ourselves doing less heavy lifting, spending less time out in the elements burning the candle on both ends. This is part of the beauty of a seasonal existence: our work and our way of life is informed deeply by what Mother Nature allows us to do. So, we are found more often indoors: poring over literature on pasture management, grazing systems, and animal health; digging through seasons-old farm records and understanding our place among them; and, in the process, settling in.

Our home, which doubles as a living space & a working space, is becoming ever more familiar. We now know which gapped floor boards allow frigid air to come blasting into the house. So, we lay down rugs woven decades-ago in Greece by Mark's Yia Yia. Wooden and canvas pieces painted by Sam's grandma hang on the walls above, placed intentionally beside icons that were given to us by our sister, Erica, and the foundress of the religious order to which she now belongs. Our collections of records, books, and houseplants fill in the gaps, having moved and grown alongside us from place-to-place. (If ever someone is looking for guidance on How to Move Twenty Cacti in a Uhaul, consider us your free and willing resource!) The most recent journey back to Vermont included hauling a 1953 Remington-Rand typewriter—in perfect working condition, though weighing something like a metric ton—to make corresponding at our writing desk all the more special.

Suddenly, this home doesn't feel so separate from home home. Rather, our Vermont home is like a tender little root branching off from the strong taproot that we have always known. This little root is taking in as much nutritive goodness that the soils of the Indian River Valley have to offer. 


—M&S