Farmer's Market 7-27-19
Been another good week on the farm. We are slowly getting into the swing of social media and Beth has become the Queen of Instagram! Well, at least she has learned how to post a picture or two. Now you can see some cool pictures of what's happening by checking into #harmonyfieldsfarmky on Instagram.
A couple of really good pictures at #harmonyfieldsfarmky are of Beth's father in his shop on the farm where Beth grew up in Breckenridge County. We enlisted his help several years ago to help make some wooden boxes from re-purposed wood from the farm. It had been a cold spring with a late frost that killed most of the stuff we had growing and it didn't look like we would have anything for the first market in May. Thanks to the internet, we located an Organic Greenhouse in Maryland that specializes in herbs and were able to purchase herbs from them and pot them up into containers that went into the wooden boxes. They have been very popular and much loved by those who have purchased them.
We had no idea that this simple idea would lead to even more wood products becoming part of our market. Next came a kitchen counter compost container that matches the herb boxes. With a removable metal container inside the wooden box, it provides a beautiful option for those who want something more than a can on the counter.
We never did imagine that he would start making intricate bird houses that are of artistic folk art quality. Or that people would be so impressed by theses that he would be commissioned to build replicas of their own homes or lake cabins.
My father-in-law is 87 years old and has farmed his entire life. He grew up in a time that was much different than now. He attended a one room school and actually had to ride a mule to school. When it came time for high school he had to move into a boarding house in town (the town was Cloverport -- still there, don't blink or you might miss it) in order to continue his education. There were no buses and cars were also in scarce supply. And I guess the mule didn't want to go that far. You know how mules can be!
Many young men at that time would not have made the sacrifice to continue their education. Most just stayed down home on the farm. Bill Newman (Beth's father's name) knew he wanted to continue learning. He graduated as class valedictorian and went on the college and eventually got a Master's degree in Shakespearean literature. He retired many years ago from after teaching high school English in Breckenridge County.
He really wanted to farm full time and did take a year off to try it but discovered it wasn't going to pay the bills. Thus, he went back to teaching and farmed a couple hundred acres on the side. It helped having the summers off.
Bill has helped us construct buildings on our farm but we never knew that those skills could be downsized to hand craft the beautiful bird houses, barns, cabins, etc. that he now spends hours on each week. He doesn't sit around and watch TV in his "retirement" but is engaged in doing something creative. Something that still engages his mind and challenges his hands to create.
Perhaps it was all the experiences that he had growing up that helped shape him for having the patience to sit for hours and hand craft wonderful works of art. And I'm sure that he never thought that he would be doing this at age 87 and that in the process he would be helping his daughter (and son-in-law) make a go of it on their farm. We never anticipated taking old dead trees from the farm and crafting something useful and beautiful.
But we have and the direct connection to the land continues. So, when you purchase one of these items you are not just getting something really nice to grow herbs or make compost or provide housing for birds or be inspired by a hand crafted building. You are continuing the connection to the land and hopefully pass these down to the next generation for the connection to continue.
And to think, it all started with a stubborn mule.