Recalibrating.

How do you make a decision?


Or is it that decisions make us?


Is there a subtle compass point within us pointing in a particular direction? Guiding our steps? 


In that same way that roots know to go “down”…?


Every decision has consequences. Some more impactful than others.

“Risk itself is a process of constant unfolding. And taking risks is the process of peeling back the layers of what you are and who you want to be.” – Phoebe Eng


What if you were offered an opportunity, that would support a long-time dream/hope for your life, which would call for a great leap of faith (and a lot of hard work), but would require you to leave all that has been familiar?

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.” – Thomas Merton


I have lived through enough changes in my life to know that not all decisions I’ve walked towards have felt like “good” ones. That some have felt like flat out “mistakes”.

Enough to know that sometimes, things working out the way you hoped isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

“When God wants to punish you, as Isak Dinesen declared, He answers your prayers.” – Barbara Kingsolver (from Animal Dreams)


Or, reframed euphemistically:

I’ve had quite the many learning experiences.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” – Pena Chodron (from When Things Fall Apart)


I could stretch this further, and even say that reflecting on the past number of years, I can see how it all seems to be a set up for this very moment. 

“The real voyage of discover consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust


It’s tricky, this weighing of pros and cons…

this heart gets so attached to certain beings.


It’s an unfamiliar practice to simply rest in an uncertainty, and not try to force an answer. To step by step, keep responding as things unfold. Neither avoiding, nor pushing.


I’ve never been much of a planner. And I suppose I’m still not. But I’m noticing it’s like there are two forks in a road, and I’m treading tentatively down both. It’s like having two “plan b’s”.


I’ll follow up when the next step becomes clear.

Till then, wishing you all a many-moments-of-joy-filled-and-long-steady-Spring.


PS – I’ve never chosen a word for the year, though I’ve read a number of blog posts which speak to such a thing. The word “recalibrating” will be one for me this year to roll around in my mouth-mind like an apricot pit.


A few things.

Hey folks. 

I know it’s been a while.


Last time I posted was in Autumn.

And I happened to be in a ‘Verizon zone’ and was able to post from my phone.


An Autumnal moment in the cathedral. I admit to rarely taking the time to walk around the farm to visit everybody. 

‘Everybody’ being all the babies, all the seeds I happened to have the good fortune to touch and plant some time before.

All the plant-beings in the cathedral I planted.

I write that to remind myself, because I find that I forget. And start to doubt my doing any things of benefit.


Although it’s raining as I poke at my little phonefacekeyboard, this photo was taken after the first big snowfall on November 22nd.

We got more snow during that snowfall than the entire last Winter.


I’ve housesat for various kitties…


Some who love their kale…


Some who like their space…


Some who look very sweet, but are like the The Oatmeal’s whiskey cat.

I’m very grateful for the cozy homes, for the use of laundry, for the connections over the years.


And as I watch the miles tick on, I’m ever grateful I was able to purchase a car back in 2001 that is still running.

Many miles gone by, many years… learning to drive standard in hilly Ithaca was humbling, and driving out to California cemented the training.

It’s been over 10 1/2 years since returning to Ithaca.



There’ve been many jobs.

After one of my employers was suddenly let go after a downsizing, I was laid off this past summer soon after moving.


It really knocked me out of orbit. Seeding (and cats. and family. and friends.) was one of the few things that helped keep me (sorta) steady.

(That’s me, btw. It was taken by one of the on-farm interns & he shared the photo with me.)

And that’s Sebastian, the ginger tabby with the tiny meow and a huge purr.


I applied to a LOT of jobs. 

Some of which I was qualified for, some not.

Eventually I picked up part-time work with a friend who grows sprouts.


These usually live outside in a greenhouse, but there was below-freezing temperatures, so inside they came, where they got ‘a little leggy’.

Still just as tasty, though.


It seems to be a good fit. 

It’s mostly behind the scenes, and all three of us get along, and it’s pretty mellow while all the work gets done.

The above photo is along my most favorite (and to my mind, most beautiful) road in the county back in October.


I’ve been trying to ‘get behind myself’, and so despite all the inner-critical-voices/chorus, I had cards printed up of some of my artwork…


I worked with a woman-owned printing company in town, purchased 100% post-consumer content recycled envelopes…


Found some nice glassine sleeves (which were probably meant for candy…) to protect each card & envelope pairing…


And with some freely offered new (recycled content!) food containers & paper, made up some packages to sell at the credit union’s holiday craft fair.

I didn’t take a photo of the table with all the cards, unfortunately.

But to my surprise & delight, with an email and two Facebook postings about the event, a whole bunch of friends came out to support my work.

I was really blown away by all the visits & support.

I’ve never really had faith in the artwork that comes through me.

But I started to question: what if I just trusted it… let it be what it is…


It’s far too easy to compare myself to classmates who have work at The Whitney, or The MOMA. Or places like that.

The art that comes through me simply isn’t like that.


I’ll admit, I still think of leaving. Of moving somewhere else. Try to find a place where the rent isn’t so high. Or where I don’t have to run into people who aren’t really friends anymore because I said something or did something that upset them.


I’ve thought of moving to go back to school… maybe for biology… or phytotemediation… but that takes a lot of math & chemistry. Which I basically suck at.

And the truth is, i love seeds.


Maybe that knee-jerk reaction will always be to move, to run.

Aversion is so my go-to habit.

I’m so grateful for the friends who are still my friends despite my (very) imperfect ways.


I wish I was perfect, but I’m not.

I’m trying to befriend myself, with all of my imperfections.

This year I’m going to try to drop the whole trying-to-be-perfect thing. It wasn’t such a conscious thing, and I’m not succeeding at it anyhow, and the attempts at it seems to just create more tension inside.

A sort of letting-go practice. Or allowing. Or awareness, I suppose.


To quote my Yaya, “who needs it?”

Anyhow.

I know I’m leaving out a lot, but engh. It’s okay.


This is one of the cards that didn’t make the cut. But it’ll become mail to someone.

Wishing you gentleness and steadiness, a sturdy ballast for all to come.

Thanks for reading, for your encouragement, and for whatever acts of creativity you can get behind yourself for.

(Or with. Goodness I was never good at grammar…)


Wishing you all well.

May the planets smile kindly on you all through 2017.


Home.


Autumn at the farm.

Panorama view from the greenhouse, which is now occupied by heaps of winter squash.


This isn’t an up-to-date photo… It’s from last week before I cleaned & sorted onions. Now the wire racks are covered in Butternut  & Acorn squash, while the floor has twice as many crates of Delicata, Buttercup, Honeynut and Kabocha varieties.


Greens are dunked, or properly termed “hydro-cooled” in the greenhouse.

Here’s John, one of the on-farm interns washing endive for this past week’s CSA share pickup.


Head lettuce in a wheelbarrow awaits it’s turn at the sink.


Jared, another on-farm intern, bags mesclun for the shares, which are given out in re-purposed banana boxes.


“Captain” Bob talking with the interns about what will be going to market this coming week near the list of vegetables in Week 17.

These are some of the most dedicated & hardest working people I know.


Yellow tray full of Basil and boxes of Hot peppers for the heat-lovers.


Equinox brings changing. This is from just this past Sunday.


And the previous Sunday.


Sebastian (the Elder) cozy in the “cold frame” where tender seedlings are a step closer to being set outside in order to “harden off” and adjust to being out in the swing of temperature & elements.


These are all from the last seeding of the season in early September. They’ll be heading to the high tunnels for the Winter CSA share.


Tio. The neurotic farm dog. 

In a recent/former life, he was used as a “bait-dog” and consequently has some unresolved issues. He loves laying in the sunshine and being the center of attention.


Dandelion greens (photo from last week’s share) at the greenhouse.

Also from last week, I got to housesit with a sweet pup & kitty:


Tiara.


Who loves a good sock.


Genuine.


A polydactyl kitty. 26 claws and toes in all.


At night, T slept on my legs and Genuine slept on my chest.

Best. Thing. Ever.


Wishing you all a happy Autumn.


Good morning from Caroline.


Good morning from Caroline.


Good morning from Caroline.