Once upon a time, a girl and a boy fell in love, got married, moved to the big city, and started a family. When their family began to outgrow their 2-bedroom condo (not so much because of living space but their desire to do more than merely survive), they decided to move to an area with affordable land and attempt to start a farm. So the boy and the girl and their 3 junior would-be farmers (one of which was only 2 weeks old at the time!) moved back to their home state of South Carolina. Little by little, they found their new living space, plotted a garden, bought some chickens, bought some goats, had another baby, expanded their garden, bought (and hatched!) some more chickens, made friends with the local farmers’ market, expanded their garden some more, joined the farmers’ market, sold plants and produce, expanded their garden even more (Lord help me), joined a second farmers’ market, and that’s pretty much where they are now.
One day, as the girl was potting cherry tomato seedlings, she glanced over at the boy digging holes and transplanting bell peppers; he smiled a proud and thankful smile that filled her with utter joy. At that moment the girl thought, “What are we doing? How did we get here? We’re farmers! Bona fide FARMERS!”
It’s funny–we wanted to be farmers, but I don’t know that I ever really believed that it would happen. We just kept taking the next step, and here we are. I can’t tell you how much I love being outside, digging in the dirt, starting new seeds, picking luscious fruit off plants that we grew, packing it up in my minivan early Saturday morning and trucking it off to market and then handing it to someone that is planning to eat it and feed it to her children. What an honor! I’m so completely humbled and thankful for this opportunity. I just love setting up at market and talking to our customers–people who get it. I love sharing and receiving growing advice. I love the farming community so much. And I just adore gardening and farming.
But probably my favorite part of farming is building this business and this home with my family. We spent nearly all of this past weekend (after the markets on Saturday) planting tomatoes and peppers. Side by side we worked in gorgeous sunshine, digging, adding amendments, removing the plant from its pot, placing into its new home, pushing dirt up around the stem, and then finally staking it. Over and over again. The kids were out with us for a good part of it (though because they are still so little, we don’t require much of them!), sometimes working with us, but sometimes just running around and playing. The kids are seeing a business and a farm come to life! They are learning so much–things that will stay with them and actually be helpful in life! We also had some help from great friends this weekend, which was truly a blessing.
We are really doing something. I thank God every day that He is faithful in leading us, even when we don’t exactly know how things are going to go. Gardening, after all, is the reason we were put on this earth. That’s not to say that you’re not fulfilling a purpose if you are not gardening. I know we all have different circumstances in life and many of us are not able to garden. I understand that. What I’m trying to say is that gardening is a fundamental purpose of mankind as a whole. And if you garden, you have the pleasure of fulfilling that purpose on a personal level. And also reaping the incredible rewards! Gardening and farming require (and also teach!) real faith, patience, forethought, problem-solving, flexibility, contentment, gratitude, and so many other virtues. We as family are blessed to work side by side building this farm and growing and selling plants and food. It’s excruciating work sometimes, but oh, that feeling when we come inside for the evening, knowing what we accomplished. What a gift.