Wednesday is the new Tuesday, well, just this week…

Since the multiple snowstorms, our week has been shifted and so shall our reportings and plans. We cut the ribbon with the big scissors – the gracious mayor, the chamber of commerce, and a local state senator (who is an organic farmer- perfect fit!) were all welcoming and kind to come and usher us in. We’re officially official now (now onto signage…). And then Fedco seed saver Clark Heijbroek offered a great demonstration on saving and choosing seed to save, resplendent with a little seed swap (still open at our store – with 10% of all seed books until Spring). Good fun was had by all.

Meanwhile a couple of rounds of good snow have hit our little pocket, I think we are up to about 16″ and another storm is coming in tonight (they reckon around 9″, but the other day they said 3-6″ and we got 10″…we shall see). We’re hoping it’s good for an impromptu sledding party. I like to make a hot pot of something good and invite folks for our nice racing trails that J & D carve out of our little hill. It’s a perfect hill for a good ride but not too long of a slog back up.

And then next week is our Imbolc celebration with a Scotch Tasting – I think technically it’s our 8th or 9th, with mostly the same core crew and then new folks we want to have good conversation with who might enjoy J’s kooky way of explaining the nuances of Scotch Whisky (he’s won me over a little, sometimes, with some that don’t taste so much like ‘skeleton pee’ – thank you long lost Ian). So, we decided to rearrange most of the house into a new configuration – cozy books by the woodstove now, a lounge in ‘the dining room’ (we named him Stan), an improved pantry and therefore kitchen.

I was reading a little article earlier about how to ‘slow down’ time, which is just to pay attention better/more feeding right into my deep belief in non-multi tasking. A feat to be sure in this day and age, with our enculturation (especially women), but it’s key – do one thing 100%, then you are more likely to do it well, and be in sync with the real rhythms of time, not clock time. Slow and easy, like a lover’s stroll, a forager’s pace, like we have all the time in the world.

Tuesday: Happenings in the Future

First things first – Grand Opening at the store January 21st Noon, Come to Stone Broke Bread & Books, 347 Water St, Gardiner, ME for a ribbon cutting by the mayor and a Seed Swap event. Hopefully we’ll have a seed saver here to chat about best practices and to answer any questions. Seedy Bread is on the menu to entice you.

I had envisioned more marvelous culminations such as our store signage and a speaker series but alas, it all happens so fast and many of these things take time to get set up. But all we really need is some delicious bread and an engaged community to share it with. I’ve been working on some new art practices and a little series inspired by my amazing glass gem corn seed this year (supplied from last year’s saved seed from our lovely friend Justin and shucked steadfastly by DBR) – though much of it doesn’t look like it matured enough to replant this year (it was a short wonky summer), it did grow enough to impart beauty and inspiration. Hopefully my inspirations will stand up to the expert artistic ministrations of visting artists El Costell, Nikki, and maybe Sam Jones (more on them as the week unfolds). And I do think we might have an event visitation by the Wild Seed Project to talk about focusing on native seed and rewilding our yards.

Also, Sage Hayes and the Equality Community Center of Portland, ME are hosting an evening with bodyworker and trauma healer Susan Raffo (author of Liberated to the Bone, which we carry, from the Emergent Strategy series), Feb 1, 6-8pm. I can’t wait to pair up with some of our community outreach peoples to host events here, too.

Monday’s Muse, a life well lived: Stephen Harrod Buhner

It has taken me a lifetime to understand the nature and necessity of compassion. To see in every person I meet a human being that is trying as all of us do to live a life based on inadequate information and insufficient capacities. There is not a one of us who has not hurt another life, sometimes terribly. And every single one of us, when we are older, are awakened in the night by a voice in the darkness saying, “There is something we need to talk about.” In those moments, we replay each and every one of those hurts. And one of the curses of growing old is that our sensitivity to moral transgressions increases with every year we live. Behaviors that were once thought free of hurt are recognized later in life as hurtful, sometimes terribly damaging. There is not a one of us who has not been hurt, not a one that has not hurt others. And we will always hurt others no matter how carefully we approach life, how carefully we craft our actions, how careful we try to be. This is one of the terrible tragedies of the human condition.
Over time we are forced to this recognition. By its nature it forces humility upon us, one of the most difficult of the virtues to develop. There is not a person I meet now for whom I do not have compassion, however much I may dislike them personally. And this growing capacity for compassion has brought me another understanding. That the hardest compassion there is to develop is the one we must learn to give to ourselves.
~ from the essay ‘On the Necessity for Compassion and the Dangers of Moral Purity

Happenings on a Tuesday: New Beginnings

I’m not much of a New Year person – for me, everyday is a start of a new year and the seasonals mark our time more efficiently. But there is always time for extra celebrations, so a little New Year’s as a thing isn’t the worst (it just isn’t a big thing…we go to bed at a reasonable time, though I keep reminding myself that hedonistically we used to try and never go to bed on New Year’s and now it feels deliciously excessive to go to bed early). January, however, marks the planning time.

Homestead plans for us, mostly. We unroll a swathe of kraft paper over the studio table and map out our orchard, our gardens, our sugarbush and see where we want to spend our energies in the coming months. We lament the wandering compost pile, the multiplying brush piles, the projekts from last year undone (my dreamy grass garden around the ‘big rock’, rebuilding the rock wall, the new kitchen and herb garden ‘room’) adding to this year’s possibility of tearing down and rebuilding the garage into a small barn and putting in some long term perennials into the ‘sundial garden’ and shaping the blackberry patch (with rows and lines). And assessing our successes and less successful endeavors such as garden clean up and winter preparations (I’m pretty sure there are still tomato cages out there).

We had an anniversary date (#26! Jade and Art, apparently) to our local favorite Slate’s, which we haven’t been in quite awhile. It was nice – really nice with a pre dinner glass of wine with friends at Table Bar and a nice drive around to see the lights. It was a welcome respite as we get our rhythms down both in the new store and at the homestead. Rhythms and revolutions.

So, here’s not to resolutions but revolutions! May your plans revolve around your desires and your values and your satisfactions.

Duendesday: gal of a thousand faces

{life with a curious and crazy 12 yr old}

This gal is hilarious. She loves making faces – ugly faces, scary faces, witchy faces, goofy faces, sometimes sweet faces.

I had a dream she was wee again, just a little thing – maybe 2 or 3, and was leaning over a porch railing dumping little puddles of water on the steps from a tiny pitcher. When I told her to stop, I realized I didn’t want to be too harsh so I softened my chastisement because I knew she was playing a ‘trick’ and meant to be funny. So, I said, ‘hey! you cut that out, you little stinker’ and she laughed her deep guttural giggle that she still has when she’s truly tickled. And I thought in my dream, man, she’s so gorgeous.

Even when she’s making her crazy faces, I still think that. Oh, my beautiful Tulips. ❤

Tuesday Happenings

The paperwhites in the store window are starting to bloom. The starter, Doris, is very happy in her new kitchen. And the Solstice countdown is on.

We got a typeset tray a few years ago and decorated it up as a countdown calendar – painting all our favorite activities and treats inside. D repaints the window covering every year so we can cut out and fold over the days as we go along. However, this year, our lives are quite different and we’re struggling to make all our festivities happen. When the waffle breakfast square popped up, we realized we rarely have mornings long enough to get that together so we organized a day in Portland, visiting Hot Suppa for brunch and doing a little Solstice shopping. I’ve yet to figure out why there is a monkey in jail for family game night but we’re ready.

The frost (and a light snow) have finally come with the Cold Moon so we are hoping the sugarbush gets some much needed rest and rejuvination. They need it to regroup and express sugars so we can make Maple Syrup! J is thinking it will be a late and short season for us – I hope we can make enough for our needs this year. Anyone who doesn’t believe in climate change is not paying attention.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to prepare for a Grand Opening Seed Swap – getting my seed packets ready, organizing a speaker, and a group art show. Yes, the holiday shift is nice – we love to signal the seasonal change with the Solstice (it’s more of a beginning for us, than an end) and think about the new growing opportunities!

May you grow.

Rock Bottom Tuesday: Giving Thanks

It has been a whirlwind of getting this store ready. We certainly could not have done it without the many wonderful folks in our life that support us – family, friends, customers, business partners and those who cross all those divides. This weekend is our soft opening (Shop Local Saturday!) and we are excited to invite all and one to come in and visit us. Gardiner has become a great little downtown to get some gifts and enjoy some time traipsing.

In the midst of getting it all together, it finally snowed and the temperatures have stayed semi-stable at the low end – it is Maine in November, after all. We’ve been canning Carrot Jam and Cranberry Jam (both good with toast, and even better with warmed Brie and little toasts, or with cake, or meats), getting foraged teas and bath soaks ready, and the baker has been making a delicious Cranberry Pecan Bread. This is the official last bake of the house – next bakes in the new kitchen!

Onto more shelving, decorating, and putting the final touches on our little store space to welcome you all. Ledgeway Farm soaps and goodies, The Chef’s Cupboard spices, Farm House Coffee Roasters coffee and a couple of highlighted publishers and small presses like the gorgeous handbound poetry collections from Akinoga Press, the exciting titles from 3:A Taos Press, the voices in praxis from Alternative Field, inspiring and activating books from PM Press, creative language from Terrapin Books, foraging goodness from Sam Thayer, stalwart philosopher/homesteader/writer Scott Nearing, hopefully some posters and fun books from the Bread & Puppet theater, new and invigorating work from Emergence Magazine, Greenhorns’ Almanac, Taproot Magazine rounded out by mission driven groups like Chelsea Green Publishing, Akashic Books, AK Press, Poetry Magazine and New Society Books all grace our space or have been ordered. We’re excited!

So, thank you again for all of you who have helped, monetary, time and space, or even just emotionally from afar! It is all welcome and we are grateful.

Tuesday on the Homestead: Balance

It’s tough these days to find any – balance, that is. Between the wonky weather (70 degrees last week – flush little late Tatsoi and Purple Pak Choi, this week our first snow and down to 20 degrees by the end of the week!), the store opening (in a mere week and a half?! egad!, it looks like impossibility now if you peek in the windows but it will all come together suddenly, will we? that remains to be seen…), and the Solstice creeping up for us (our countdown calendar board starts also in 2 weeks – I need supplies!), it feels like a lot. Besides, the dissertation, the bakery, and yes, the homestead.

What happens around here when we are ‘busy’ with other things? Not much, I’ll tell you that. Everything this Fall is neglected – it looks like we might have to eat the seed garlic we didn’t plant, the garden will likely wait until Spring to be rolled in by the magickal Garden Fork or light tilling, and half the wood is still in the driveway under a tarp. The stargazer chairs that J made are still in the yard, some of my terracotta pots (because just days ago they had thriving nasturtiums and snapdragons still in them) are still out, and the chicken tractor is lonely and still set up for birds we won’t likely have for another year. I might have missed out on the last of the Calendula seed, and a final sweep of Cleavers and if I don’t get out there soon on the last of the rose hips (the deer are eating them like crazy, they must know they need the Vitamin C).

I managed to pull my corn seed (yet to be hung), and some final Mullein and Comfrey for drying. I dehydrated the last of the local apples for snacks and tea. And I managed to get a nice bagful of Milkweed fluff (and seeds) for Winter projekts. D neglected her tree study (she did a couple of good days of nature journaling/drawing of leaves while they were still around) so now she has to identify by bark and twig (which is how I learned, and man, it’s not the easiest way!). And J still needs to clean up the Sugar Shack so it is ready for him in February (which comes sooner than you think by November).

Balance. Always the teeter-totter of sacrifice and attention. We’ve had a lot of (very appreciated, we’re very grateful) help with the store which propels us forward toward this elusive balance. I think it’s going to be very good when we get there – if we can stay upright until then. Keep your eye on something stable, that’s what they say…