Insane driving and the irony of the stoic audiobook

6.21.21

Since I obviously deleted the photo of the offending car, I thought you might enjoy this picture of veggies in shoes. Farm Life. What do you harvest your veggies into?

 

I spend roughly 7 hours alone in my van each week during the main season. This leads to a couple of things. One, I see some crazy driving. And two, I listen to a lot of audio books.

So today, on my way back home from Lenoir on Highway 268, which is a rural curvy 2-lane “highway”, the car following very closely behind me pulls out into the oncoming traffic lane to pass me. No big deal, right? Except there IS on-coming traffic (and it’s a no-passing zone, but even that isn’t super alarming when you drive as much as I do).  I expected the car to slide back in behind me when they saw the oncoming car but they did not!!!  I braked hard and the oncoming car braked hard and actually pulled off the side of the road and there was much shock and a fair amount of cursing and head shaking. Then, shockingly, they did it AGAIN!

Of course, the audio book I happen to be listening to is a book about the Greek philosophy of Stoicism.  I’m only half way through, but it seems to be all about living the best expression of yourself in each and every moment.  It happily rambled on about not letting external circumstances out of our control allow an emotional response over a reasoned response. 

Because it’s 268 and of course said crazy car got caught behind other reasonable drivers, I ended up behind it and even (not proud of this) took a picture of the license plate (what, exactly, I thought I was going to do with that pictures remains unknown but somehow it made me feel better for a second) before the audiobook caught up with me.

Was I having an emotional response?  Well yes. Yes I was.  Was whatever I thought I was going to do with the picture of the license plate a reasoned thing to do? Did I stop to consider that, while that sort of driving puts many more people at risk than the driver of that car, nothing terrible actually happened (the rest of us took responsibility to allow that car to return safely to their proper lane and speed on ahead) and that maybe there was a perfectly good reason for their haste.  Like rushing to an injured child, or umpteen other scenarios.  Well, no. No I did not.  At least not until I heard that audiobook droning on.  Sigh.  I’ve got a long way to go.

The Golden Day

6.14.21

Do you ever experience days where it feels like an angel has cleared the way in front of you so that everything just goes perfectly right?  Saturday was one of those days.  The Saturday before my trailer lights were…let’s say “ornery” at 4:30 in the morning.  We wiggled the plugs around and duct taped them into a position where they worked just to get me safely to Hickory.

Of course, we waited until Friday afternoon of this past week to do anything about it. First, we replaced the van plug to no avail.  We tested continuity and voltage and everything seemed to be in order so we replaced the trailer plug.  Still no lights.  We tested the ground-it was good, we tested voltage and continuity after the new plug connections and again, everything was working properly except that we still had no trailer lights.

At our wits end, I just resigned myself to head out the next morning without trailer lights and hope for the best until I could get it to our mechanic for repair on Monday.  It just made no sense that they weren’t working! 

So Saturday morning, we actually attached a head lamp with a flashing red light mode to the back of the trailer so at least people would be able to see me and got ready to head on my treacherous journey (what else could I do?  We don’t have another vehicle that could hold all the produce, and we make our living in such a limited time, skipping was not an option).  So I get into the van and turn on the lights a lo and behold: the trailer lights were working perfectly!

I giggled the whole way to market.  Then, for the first time this year, I backed that trailer absolutely perfectly into a parking space on the first try without any adjustments.  I recognize that this does not exactly sound exciting, but it definitely was exciting to me—that’s a tight space there where I have to maneuver that trailer.  So by the time other vendors came to market and were talking about the imminent rain, I assured them that it wouldn’t rain until after market was over because I was having a “golden day”. I don’t know if that’s a thing, but if not, I’m coining it.

And so it was a “golden day”.  It did not, in fact, rain during market hours and then again it did not rain on our lovely farmily dinner that evening.  Such a perfect ending to a perfect day. Insert pleasurable sigh here.

Swimming with schools of thought

6.14.21

Did you know there’s no such thing as talent?  Well, at least according to one school of thought, that is.  A school of thought that includes authors like Daniel Pink, Malcom Gladwell, Geoffrey Colvin, and Carol Dweck.  What, then, separates the world-class from the rest of us? Blood, sweat, and tears basically. And a mindset that turns mistakes and failures into learning opportunities instead of finding excuses and throwing blame.

Some days I want to be world class.  I work well into the evenings thinking that if I just work a little longer and harder, I’ll achieve success. Other days I’m just tired.  I think I’ve been delving a bit too deep into these schools of thought, trying to fit in with those fish, that I forget that I’m a mammal and I have to surface to breathe.

I forget that I owe it too my employees to get enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition.  I forget that pursuit of other interests often helps me be better at my regular job. I forget to surface.

But not this Sunday. Nope. I read somewhere that you should pay attention to what makes you happy and do more of that. Hanging out with my pets makes me happy, so this weekend I embraced another school of thought. One that believes that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of the progress toward a successful and ultimately happy life. One that believes I should “hang out with my pets”.

But I’m also an incessant list maker (if it’s more than three things-I need a list), and also find joy in crossing things off from lists.  So I literally put “hang out with pets” on my list.  And, I’m happy to say, I was able to cross all the things off from said list.

Queen of Sunday Funday takes a day off

5.31.21

Last Sunday Funday with farmer friends Will and Marie of Bluebird Farm

My market neighbor Jennifer called me the “Queen of Sunday Funday”.  I’ve decided I’m going to do my best to live up to that moniker.  All farmers know you don’t get to take days off because “the plants don’t know it’s Sunday.”  While this is true, a thing you learn after 10 years or so, is that you can shuffle the work around so you get a “mostly day off”.  To be fair, we don’t have livestock, but it’s the same principle.  There will always be a small thing or two to do: water the greenhouse, or irrigate the crops in the ground if it’s dry, open/close the high tunnels, etc. but if you get your weekly choreography right, you can still leave much of the day for play.

Every third or fourth Sunday or so, though, I’ve found I need the day to catch up.  With many late evenings and early mornings throughout the week, and markets occupying Saturdays, I’ve found I need a Sunday now and again to catch up on cleaning, mowing, and rest.  This past cool Sunday was the perfect day for that.  We mowed the yard, and caught up with a bunch of delayed house cleaning, and just plum rested.  No pressure to go anywhere or do anything.  Even the Queen of Sunday Funday needs a day off to play the pauper of Sunday Funday.  

We'll be at the downtown Hickory Farmers Market on Wedneday 10-2 and Saturday 8-1, and the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market 8-1, and the Watauga County Farmers Market 8-noon. Not a harvest share member and couldn't get a cucumber or tomato? You can order from our farm stand here: https://www.harvie.farm/farm/tumbling-shoals-farm/shop

Here's what we'll have:

Baby Lettuce Salad mix: $4/5-oz compostable container (or 2/$7)

Radishes: $2.75/bunch

Zucchini: $2.25/pound

Red Leaf Lettuce (summercrisp): $3/head

Green leaf lettuce (summercrisp): $3/head

Kale: $3/bunch

Celery: $3.75/bunch

Collard greens: $3/bunch

Rainbow Chard: $3/bunch

Scallions: $3/bunch

Cucumbers: $2.95/pound

Tomatoes: $3.95/pound

Zucchini: $2.25/pound

Parsley: $2/bunch

Cilantro: $2/bunch

Dill: $2/bunch

Parsley: $2/bunch

Garlic Scapes: $3/bunch

 

Adaptation

5.24.21

 

We went directly from long johns and frost protection to summer and swimming weather.  Or as I saw today: we went from North Carolaska to North Carizona.  But I (don’t curse me!) would rather be hot than cold and was growing rather tired of that box of summer clothes sitting in purgatory on the guest bed. 

It’s amazing the things you just get used to.  For the first week, the box looms large and you hem and haw over whether to take the leap and put those summer clothes in the drawer and put away the long johns or whether to just put the box back in the closet and wait out the weather.  Eventually though, the box blends into the landscape of the bed and your mind just slides over it as if it was supposed to be there, as if the guest bed couldn’t exist without it.

We humans adapt to the craziest of situations.  Remember this time last year when we were adapting to the crazy conditions of a global pandemic?  Ugh. But by the end of the year, our minds just slid around the strangeness of masks and intense anger as if they were supposed to be there and the world couldn’t exist without them.

And now, as we venture back out into the world once mad, we will again adapt to new idiosyncrasies and work around new challenges.  The human mind is simply amazing.  

We'll be at the downtown Hickory Farmers Market on Wedneday 10-2 and Saturday 8-1, and the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market 8-1, and the Watauga County Farmers Market 8-noon. Not a harvest share member and couldn't get a cucumber or tomato? You can order from our farm stand here: https://www.harvie.farm/farm/tumbling-shoals-farm/shop

Here's what we'll have:

Baby Lettuce Salad mix: $4/5-oz compostable container (or 2/$7)

Arugula: $4/5-oz compostable container (or 2/$7)

Radishes: $2.75/bunch

Red Leaf Lettuce (summercrisp): $3/head

Green leaf lettuce: $3/head

Kale: $3/bunch

Celery: $3.75/bunch

Collard greens: $3/bunch

Rainbow Chard: $3/bunch

Scallions: $3/bunch

Cucumbers: $2.95/pound

Tomatoes: $3.95/pound

Zucchini: $2.25/pound

Parsley: $2/bunch

Cilantro: $2/bunch

Dill: $2/bunch

Garlic Scapes: $3/bunch

 

Pictures are worth 1000 words

5.4.21
     
     

 Saturday's farmily dinner

 

We'll be at the downtown Hickory Farmers Market on Wedneday 10-2 and Saturday 8-1, and the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market 8-1, and the Watauga County Farmers Market 8-noon.

Here's what we'll have:

Baby Lettuce Salad mix: $4/5-oz compostable container

Radishes: $2.75/bunch

Boston-Bibb (buttercrunch lettuce): $3/head

Romaine lettuce: $3.50/head

Green leaf lettuce: $3/head

Kale: $3/bunch or bag

Carrots: $4.95/bunch

Celery: $3.75/bunch

Collard greens: $3/bunch

Rainbow Chard: $3/bunch

Scallions: $3/bunch

You can pre-order through our new and improved virtual farm stand here: https://www.harvie.farm/farm/tumbling-shoals-farm/shop  (sorry I forgot to open the virtual farm stand for last Saturday!)

 

The Importance of Levity

4.26.21

My favorite picture of my mom laughing as hard as one can

 

How often do you laugh? How often do your kids laugh?  According to Dr. Jennifer Aaker, social psychologist, author, and professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the average 3-year-old laughs about 300 times a day.  It takes the average 40-year-old 2 ½ months to laugh that much.  Basically, around the time we enter the workforce, the number of times we laugh and smile on an average day begins to plummet and doesn’t rise again until our 70s and 80s.

I consider myself someone who takes humor very seriously (J), and as such, I try to find and spread laughter as much as possible, but 300 times a day in between naps seems unattainable even to someone as dedicated as me.  Everybody romaine calm and lettuce be thankful for veggie puns!  How else are we going to get our 300/day?

Okay, Okay, I’ll quit while I’m only a little behind.  But in all seriousness, levity is important.  I mean, life is going to throw challenges at us.  Grief, anger, heartbreak, frustration, and indignation are going to be part of it.  And if we let them, they’ll grind us down into the ground, and leave us to feed the worms.  It’s the laughter that lifts us up. And lucky for us, it’s contagious.

I’m probably going to spend a lot of time this season appreciating the awesome crew we have this season.  They’re efficient, competent, smart, mature, fantastic team players, all the good stuff blah blah blah.  But also, they’re as dedicated to silly as I am, and even better at puns (I heard that sigh of relief!).  All this is to say, yes, farm work is hard, sometimes frustrating,  sometimes  mind-numbingly repetitive, and physically demanding, but levity makes all of that fun (not to mention delicious!). And we’re planning to share as much of that levity as we possibly can, because it feels like we all could use it after the past year.

The Watauga County Farmers Market in Boone opens this Saturday! We'll be there 8-noon.  We'll also be at the downtown Hickory Farmers Market on Wedneday 10-2 and Saturday 8-1, and the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market 8-1.

Here's what we'll have:

Hakurei Turnips: $3/bunch

Baby Bok Choy: $3.95/lb

Baby Lettuce Salad mix: $4/5-oz compostable container

Radishes: $2.75/bunch

Spinach: $5/ 1/2-lb bag

Boston-Bibb (buttercrunch lettuce): $3/head

Romaine lettuce: $3.50/head

Green leaf lettuce: $3/head

Kale: $3/bunch or bag

You can pre-order through our new and improved virtual farm stand here: https://www.harvie.farm/farm/tumbling-shoals-farm/shop  (sorry I forgot to open the virtual farm stand for last Saturday!)

 

The brain is AMAZING!

4.19.21

Feed those AMAZING brains lots of fruits and veggies!

Saturday mornings begin for us at 3:45am.  It is not a rising time known for it’s brain capacity.  We stumble into our clothes, make coffee, load the market vehicles and head off to our various markets.  In that hour between rising and leaving the farm, we are um, not at our best.  We try to have everything all set so we can accomplish what we need to accomplish without thinking.

So, imagine my surprise when, only a mile away from the farm, my brain alerted me to a possible break down in our system: it reminded me that we had taken out the sides of our complicated cedar market stand in order to get kayaks into the van and had never put them back in!

Without losing way too much time, I was able to turn around and go back to the farm to retrieve said sides.  I have no idea how I would have managed to set up that beast of a stand without its sides!  “The brain is AMAZING” I kept exclaiming in a fit of delight.

It’s true!  The brain is AMAZING!  Did you know that if you are working on a problem and have all the parameters in place, it’s a good idea to walk away and do something else for a bit (like a puzzle or game) because your subconscious will continue working on the problem while you’re “away”?!  It’s so cool!  It’s easy to witness if you do puzzles.  Try leaving your sudoku or crossword or math homework and go play a round of four square or something (or cook dinner, or knit, or…).  When you return, the answer will be readily available!  The brain is truly amazing. 

Speaking of AMAZING brains, let's keep them healthy by feeding them lots of delicious fruits and veggies (and exercising them). We have about 20 slots left in our harvest shares and they begin in 2 weeks.  Get yours today if you haven't already!

You can sign up here: http://www.harvie.farm/signup/tumbling-shoals-farm and you can find more information here.

Here's how it works: you sign up and pay for your share now (at least in some part-no need to pay it all at once, although there are benefits to that), set your veggie preferences, and then start receiving a box of the freshest, most delicious, custom harvested and packed veggies beginning in May all the way throughSeptember!  Our harvest share is now fully customizable so you only get veggies you love (and you're more likely to eat them).  Going on vacation? No problem, put your share on vacation hold. Feel free to contact us with any questions!

The Wednesday Downtown Hickory Farmers Market opens this week!  We'll be under the sails downtown from 10-2!  On Saturday, We'll also be at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market from 8-1 and the downtown Hickory Farmers Market from 8-1.

Here's what we'll have:

Hakurei Turnips: $3/bunch

Baby Bok Choy: $3.95/lb

Baby Lettuce Salad mix: $4/5-oz compostable container

Radishes: $2.75/bunch

Spinach: $5/ 1/2-lb bag

Boston-Bibb (buttercrunch lettuce): $3/head

Romaine lettuce: $3.50/head

Kale: $3/bag (still in the first harvests, so we're bagging it instead of bunching it)

You can pre-order through our new and improved virtual farm stand here: https://www.harvie.farm/farm/tumbling-shoals-farm/shop

 

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