Privacy and Identity Protection

Trying to get some insurance quotes… It used to be so easy to call an agent and get a quote over the phone in seconds really. And then came the convenience to get a comparison of rates online… Still easy and straight forward in the early days. 

But now I find myself being stripped naked virtually… I have to give my full name, full address, phone, email, date of birth, driver license and social security just to get someone to call me back. And the questions don’t stop there before I even get a quote!

To have to give all this information to every person I call to get a quote while I am shopping for a good rate and good service is alarming. Not to say annoying when I am subsequently bombarded with texts, calls and emails from even more sales people in the days and weeks that follow my inquiry.

But… Where is my right to privacy and safety and security? I do not want to give all this information to anyone until I decide to buy insurance and even then I should be able to protect at least my social security number.  

We hear about identity theft all the time and here I am forced to give up all my personal information just to get a quote! And worse, whoever gets hold of my SSN has power over my credit report – yes, any inquiry against the SSN is recorded and weighs in on my credit score – and over my credibility and value and buying power.

I like progress and development and easier access to what I need… But in the age of cell phones and internet and the myriad if hackers, rhieves, scammers and other crooks, I draw a line at who I am allowing in. Just because I give someone my number I do not invite a myriad of texts or phone calls from hundreds sales and call centers. I expect only that one person to call me back…

I find it increasingly unpleasant to own a cell phone and use the internet. 

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Fall

I love the cooler weather and the changing colors of nature all around. The farming season is done with my last delivery gone out this past Thursday. And now comes the ckean up. Putting the harvest shed back in order, tucking away deer fences and seeding supplies, clearing the greenhouses and tying up loose ends… 

I am still waiting for my pumpkins to change color… With the lack of sun and recent cooler weather they are lagging a bit behind… So are my green beans, and there are still a few eggplant and peppers and watermelons limping along, too.

I had hoped for a fall delivery for Thanksgiving, planned on raising turkeys and putting together a harvest meal in a box, but I am glad I decided not to. Once the season got rolling, there was little wiggle room to fit any more work into the days. And now I am grateful to be done with the tight schedule and the long drive for the deliveries every week.

It is time to slow down, breathe, put my feet up and enjoy life a little more, ponder what might come next. I am looking forward to finding a farm to call my own, to still grow vegetables and flowers, if not for a second CSA season, then for a farmers market or just a farm stand in the driveway… And to realize some of my ambitions to raise more animals… Like a cow or rwo for milking, sheep or goats and a few turkeys… I have a dream!

And I finally have the time to work on some artsy projects, some of which I intend to sell at the upcoming art fair and christmas boutique.

Fall, time to fall in love with life again!

Gratitude

As the season winds down I am grateful to have received some lovely emails from members and neighbors who enjoy sharing in my harvests and appreciate the beauty and bounty of the fresh food I deliver. Here are a couple of the messages I received

~ Hello Neighbor!

 Holy cats. Those are just beautiful tomatoes! Thank you so very much…

 Have a great rest of your week! Cheers, J ~

Hi Susanne,

Thank you for the email informing us, and thank you for all your work starting this up. I commend you (actually that’s understating it – I’m in awe of you) for entering the risky world of CSA farming and doing a mountain of work – not to mention successfully providing a year of delicious veggies! Please keep me on the contact list if you start up in another location. My husband Bill and I would love to continue to support your efforts starting up a farm. Take care,  Celesre .M. and Bill S. ~

Dear Susanne,

I apologize for my slow reply. But I’m so sorry to hear that this has been a difficult season. And I’m even sorrier to hear that Kate is selling her farm, and that you won’t be able to continue next year. We’ve very much enjoyed our season with you and have loved the many delicious vegetables you’ve provided. Thank you for all you’ve put into this–your work and care have been much appreciated.  Daniel and I look forward to these final few weeks of the CSA, and then we wish you all the best for for what comes next…

With gratitude, Erik ~

Tomatoes

Every size shape amd color of tomato you can imagine! What fun to harvest even just a small-ish basket full for the end of summer bash for the folks at the assisted living where I work part time. 

A Season Review

I have been facing a bunch of difficulties here on the farm that are trying my creativity and abilities to say the least… Torrential rains and relentless critters munching away on my crops are just some of the influences that I am grappling with. Plants not growing or not producing crops is another challenge I am learning to deal with – calling on fellow farmers in the area who are willing to share their extras with me, or even buying things like sweet corn since mine was a complete loss.

There are many differences to Kate’s CSA besides number of members and her many years of experience. There were always 6 or 7 helpers on the farm, and a lot of action everywhere throughout the day.

I am here by myself, there is much less activity. It is quiet and peaceful and apparently quite inviting to the overflow of deer and rabbits and rodents that mess with my stuff 😉 And much less (wo)manpower to do the work.

In essence, running a CSA is quite an undertaking. And while I enjoy the work and farming very much, I have my share of disappointment and frustration with the things that don’t go well. I still am proud of the beautiful food I grow and the full bags I deliver.

I had big plans for my CSA – fun festivals on the farm, volunteer days throughout the season, scavenger hunt on and around the farm… But all these plans were derailed and fell flat as time progressed. Too few members right from the start, insurance limitations, Kate’s decision to move in spring, preparing for her move early in the season, and finally her move and decision to sell the farm… Things did not turn out as planned at all.

So now that Kate has moved to California and decided to sell the farm, I will be finishing my season here in early fall, and depending on the sale and new folks moving in, will probably stay on through winter to look after things here. This means of course that my CSA on Kate’s land is shorter lived than I initially planned. I am not certain where I will settle next year and whether I will have the opportunity to continue my CSA on another farm.

I thank all my members for their trust and giving me the wonderful opportunity to grow and deliver vegetables this summer. A big thank you also to my lovely drop site hosts! I appreciate all the support and feedback this season! And I regret not having had the chance to have everybody out here for the hands on festivities everyone enjoyed so much with Kate. And to continue growing with everybody through the seasons I hoped would follow this one.

Everything grows with love

I know it has been a while and I am sure my members are all eagerly anticipating their goodie bags.

I have been busy tilling and transplanting and weeding and deer proofing (who knew deer went into hoophouses to munch on lettuce,) and irrigating… and more planting and transplanting and mowing and tilling.. 😉 And with the recent stretch of hot and sunny weather things are finally taking off and growing wonderfully.

I am planning my first delivery for the 15th. There will be boc choi, lettuce, rhubarb and herb pots (basil, chives, rosemary, cilantro, parsley)… And possibly garlic scapes if they keep growing as they have been.

I am excited to be starting deliveries, knowing folks get to enjoy the fresh and yummy goods I so enjoy growing!

Here’s to summer!

Weather aside…

There is spring in the air and great progress in the greenhouse! As in nature, where the first wild flowers are adding spots of color to the greener and greener surroundings. To my delight I spotted a large patch of violets happily abloom along the driveway! And in the greenhouse, another batch of seeds I feared lost is finally poking its needlepoint-tiny buds through the soil.

Despite early hiccups with that batch of bad soil that fried my first big set of seeds and set me back about three weeks, things are now growing nicely and rapidly and we are moving right along. Luckily there is a wonderful community of farmers working together and trading seeds, seedlings, and advice is the name of the game.

The first phase of deer fence is up around the garden, next comes the netting to keep those smarty-nosed dears from just walking right through the lines… But I will leave that tedious task for a dry and more pleasant day.

A new bigger hoophouse is going up, replacing the small “pepper shack”… This one is literally twice the size and with double siding offers opportunity for an extended season… Aaaah the possibilities.

I love this place…

Spring has arrived

The weather continues to get warmer, birds are singing and building their nests, and our greenhouse is filling up fast as we plant our carefully selected seeds and watch as tray after tray sports happily sprouting seedlings. 

Hoophouses are prepared for planting carrots, beets and green beans in a few days… A new deer fence is going up around the garden, and we are getting ready to fire up the tractors and spread that compost,  

Yep, spring is in full swing and things here on the farm will keep moving swiftly from here on out.

Home Alone for the Holidays

Christmas eve. I am sitting here in an empty house… Just my animals and I. No fancy dinner with lots of people. No laughter, excited voices, clinking glasses, christmas carols and no blinking lights and tinseled christmas tree… No embarrassing family stories, no presents, no regrets.

It may seem sad, to have none of the typical definitions we so readily attribute to the holidays. And yet, all the commercially created festivity aside, in the stillness I am content and I remember the true origin of Christmas. 

The birth of Jesus. He had no fancy dinner and no festive christmas decorations. Born in a simple barn with only the animals and his parents sharing a moment of quiet celebration and appreciation. 

To me there is no place more perfect to celebrate Christmas and the true gift of love and life and the power of truth within me than the quiet of a manger surrounded only by animals and the presence of spirit. What a blessing to be living on a farm, here and now, and to enjoy a time of solitude and reflection in this still and peaceful winter landscape. 

New Life

As I am waiting out winter in preparation for the new life I will be starting – myself as a new farmer and with the seeds I will be planting and nourishing and cultivating – I am working at a dairy farm, milking 48 cows and, my favorite, hand feeding the new calves.

There is such innocence and curiosity and expectation in those big eyes… I am drawn in from the first moment and just want to capture that sweet wide-eyed expression. It reminds me of that wide-eyed inner child of mine that has gotten buried under the weight of growing up and striving to have and be and do great things. 

As I watch the calves grow and move through the stages, outgrowing the bottle and eventually giving birth and joining the ranks of milkers, I can’t help but notice that their eyes never change. Even in the older, seasoned cows I see that same gentleness and curiosity and expectation…

Animals live in the moment and see each moment new and fresh. Unlike us humans whose vision becomes blurred by the accumulation and assimilation of every moment we live. We do not let go, we do not move on, every moment is measured against all that have come before. Until we overload, have to regroup, and restart. And finally open our eyes again and start a new life – wide-eyed, full of innocence and curiosity and expectation.

Here is to new life and big, open eyes. Blessings for a wonderful season and a fresh start to a new year waiting to be lived one amazing moment at a time.