Saturday, October 17, 2015
on seeds and words
A few days ago I bumped into a dear friend at pick up time at school. It was a bit windy and I blurted out how frustrated I was that I had all this writing to do and couldn't seem to do it. Physically I was having a very difficult time sitting still long enough to write more than a couple of sentences and then when I finally did, the words just wouldn't flow. I told her I was worried I couldn't do it anymore, that I'd left it too long and now it was gone.
She laughed and saw right through me as only a good friend can. She told me that from what she could see, I am just deep in farmer Kate mode at the moment. That I am wearing my overalls as a uniform. That I am slashing and planting and weeding and watching and irrigating and mulching and planning. That maybe being so intensely engaged in one means that there's not quite so much room for the other.
And she's right too of course. After three months away from this place we've returned just in time for the spring explosion. I'm seeing everything as if for the first time. I'm making lists a mile long of all the veggies I want to plant. And slowly I'm planting them, labelling them and watering them.
I'm celebrating all the little leaves that have poked their heads up through the soil since we've been home. Hello!! Welcome!!
And even though we are behind this year, I feel like I'm loving it more than I have for a while. And I'm seeing it with fresh eyes and I'm noticing all the details. Grow little babies grow.
Before we left I would sit in the orchard waiting for the kettle to boil and notice all the work that needed to be done. Now we're home I am more interested in the feel of the warm breeze on my cheeks, the tiny bird with a yellow mask across its face, the path the bees take from one blossom to the next, the way the fruit is setting on varieties that aren't always so bountiful, the scratchiness of the bits of straw stuck inside my bra, the way my farmer boy runs his fingers along a piece of wood imagining the spoon that could be, that my new kettle is slowly being charred black from use...
And when we're not working out on the farm, it's a pleasure to be using our own freshly picked produce in the kitchen. That was the thing I found most difficult while we were away and now we are home eating what we've grown makes me happier than any European meal ever could.
And we've started a new starter, Steve. Baking bread feels like such a good measure of a kitchen's health I think. At the moment we're still feeding, smelling and admiring Steve's bubbles, but soon we'll be back to kneading and shaping and baking fresh loaves each day and I can't wait.
In the end, after giving it a bit of thought and realising that my friend's words were true, I decided I needed to find a way to trick my system. Farmer Kate is great but writer Kate still has deadlines and responsibilities. So yesterday morning, for the first time in the three weeks since we've been home, I got dressed in town clothes. I wore a dress, tights and clogs and wore my hair out, very unfarmy. Then after I got home from school I sat up at the computer. I brainstormed a page full of sentences and then fitted them into a story. Then I did it again. And then I submitted my stories, changed into my overalls and went out to water my seedlings. Ahhhhhhhh...
I love my life as a farmer and I love that I get to write about it too. I feel relieved that I can still do both. But I think I might need to carve out a bit of regular time for my writing though so it's not quite so hard next time. Maybe a morning a week? Maybe two?
In the meantime I'm going to go and hang out the laundry and then sit outside in the sun and cast on another pair of socks.
Then we're going to Melbourne for a party!
Have you got something fun planned for this weekend?
Do you make time for all the different parts of your world?
Yellow socks ravelled here.