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2017 Thanksgiving

November 22, 2017

It has been a year. A year of success. A year of interruptions. A year of sorrow and loss. A year of just flat not giving up.

The farmer’s market expanded for SlowMoneyFarm this year. More growth, more sales. Fresh basil of several varieties, herbal vinegars, jams and jellies, homemade herbal salves and lotions, fresh baked goods and more went through the stall at the Walker County Farmer’s market. A bat house is made and will offer a home for bats – winged mosquito eaters! – in the years to come. More things are explored and will be added in the time ahead. A new to me truck joined the work force this fall…more hauling capacity!

It’s been interruptions in that I didn’t get the bees started as hoped. I see lost sales and lost time, but it takes precious dollars to set it up! It’s been a struggle but the pantry is nearly framed in and next is on to the kitchen, which I’d hoped to be done by now but it takes – sigh – money for materials. Time. Progress is happening but slowly!

A year of loss. Unspeakable, sometimes paralyzing can I keep going loss. In August my dad’s time on Earth came to an end. That is something all go through but no way to really prepare for the finality of it. In September Troy Gentry was killed suddenly in an accident – so many memories with him around it. Later in the fall Kenny Beard, songwriter inspiration for many passed away also suddenly. Big losses. Ugly crying losses. There’s others, but these left scars. There’s the loss of Pixie, just after my dad passed and after several days of being a comfort to the whole family. Old Red, Missy, Taffy have been laid to rest this year. They were getting older, and we knew time was coming but it’s still holes that can’t quite be filled.

And Faith joined the team. Faith is a loves life Doberman puppy that will join Diva as security. Old Bella is also getting older, as is Girl and each week is a blessing. Diva and Girl made two trips to Illinois with me this year. Always ready to go again…and Faith is learning the same thing.

It’s time to breathe life back into the blog, as I’ve been absent dealing with life for so much of the year. A snapshot just won’t cover it. It’s uncomfortably tight going into winter with not enough funds, but hoping for Christmas sales to ease the tight and cold months ahead, so I can afford to expand offerings next year, which means a seed order. And if things go well you just might taste SlowMoneyFarm basil at a restaurant in Jasper!

Brighter times ahead. I greatly appreciate everyone who bought a bag of greens, a tin of salve, or jar of herbal vinegar. It has allowed progress, that although not as much as wanted is still progress.

As we gather around Thanksgiving tables, say an extra prayer for us, for friends dealing with real issues like Michelle and Amy, for those struggling to keep heads above water and those who you might be able to help. Remember those who have an empty chair at the table this year.We don’t know when it might change but if anything was evident this year, it’s change. Lots of change. Sometimes change is good. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s lonely.

I ain’t saying I’m perfect. But I’m working. On a better me. ~ Troy Gentry.

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I Earned This Hair

July 14, 2016

As life ticks on and there is more days behind than ahead I’m reminded age comes to us all. I’m in no way ready for a retirement home but life’s realities have come increasingly clear.

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This is no more visible than grey hair. Silver…frosted…classic. Old. I looked at renewing color from a box. Threatened a purple wig.

Then realized like the laugh lines and scars those grey hairs have been hard earned. It comes from half broke horses who forgot whoa, cows who became running trainers complete with motivation and close calls of a wide variety.  It comes from teenagers and losing friends and burying good dogs and horses who knew more than most people but never told anyone.

tmp_28001-FB_IMG_1460997606803-881081104It comes from life. A life not experienced by so many who never had a chance to celebrate their 25th birthday.  Or 20th. They will be forever young in our memories.

Why cover up history?  Long days, sheep and cattle who had lessons of their own,  mistakes and misery as well as good times.

Seeing most US states has been interesting.  Experiencing backstage at the Grand Old Opry with Mark Wills, a variety of events and experiences and driving through this beautiful and sometimes not so beautiful country.

Not all experiences are good but many are memorable. Fire, flood, homeless, storms rage. Many didn’t survive those hardships.

So for those who scoff the grey hair…every one is earned.

Food Choices,$6 Jelly and Independent Agriculture

July 2, 2016

As the 4th of July approaches we celebrate independence.  Food choices are everyday ways to buy direct,  from a store produced in volume or a host of in between.  tmp_21675-20160515_232655-958961259.jpg

As a small direct to consumers seller at farmer’s market I don’t expect every person likes what I do.  Some resent my very existence.  Some love the options of different things.  Some buy and enjoy hot pepper jelly, or mint jelly or homemade from scratch bread.

Some appreciate a sugarfree homemade  blackberry jam at $8. Regular sugar options are a bit cheaper.

tmp_21675-FB_IMG_1467434625550-1280841180.jpgOnce in a while someone snorts about paying  $6 for a jar of jelly.  others undercut the price. Why $6…in the store…well, in the store there isn’t the small scale producer. I, and people like me, may raise the peppers and process them into jelly. The jar alone is 70 cents and $1.50 for pectin. Add the peppers,  sugar, vinegar and other ingredients.  Add the unseen power bill and labor of growing,  harvesting and processing as well as transportation to a convenient location to buy, with a shaded area to buy and fans to deal with the heat… $6 is too much?

2016-07-02 10.58.07.jpgAny food large or small produced and processed food is yours for an exchange of money.  I am not getting rich. I am happy to be comfortable.  I don’t resent people who buy elsewhere.

Don’t resent the small farms for offering choices and expecting a fair living from it.

The Difference a Year Makes

June 8, 2016

One year ago,  June 8, life as we knew ir changed. Starting over.

It’s been a year of trials and struggle and tears and hope. It’s shown the worst and the best in people.

A year ago I didn’t know how we’d get by. Today I baked goodies to go to the farmer’s market to sell.

 

A year ago I questioned why. Today I see what has come from it.

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A year ago I wondered about survival.   Today I saw reality.

It’s going to be ok.

Rising Up

March 26, 2016

It has been some time since the blog has been updated but doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

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Quite the opposite! We have tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers,  herbs and more. Blackberries and raspberries,  rhubarb and other tasty things are growing.  Ducks and Pharoah quail are in residence.

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Our trial share customers just received a small first drop of greens and edible flowers. The spring events are underway and we’re signed up for the county farmer’s market.   A year ago we had trials pending we didn’t know of. We’ll be sharing memories of that and looking forward to a bigger 2016.

Easter is a time of renewal.  For Christians it celebrates an empty tomb and Jesus triumph over death, being a sacrifice for our sins. SlowMoneyFarm  has been blessed and is not going away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas 2015

December 24, 2015

Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.

It is a quiet but blessed Christmas this year.  Since June it’s been a trial. Loss in the storm and since has been difficult.

Blessings have been many. While it’s been a  case of uncertainty and not being able to give much for Christmas there is much good in the world.

Christmas lists change as one passes through life. It starts with wanting half of the old wish books parents dreaded. Then getting more practical then wanting to give to others. Then sometimes  the realization that we can’t out give God.

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Then there’s the impossible to us gifts.  Paying off bills or wishing a child or relative or friend would be cured of medical issues or one more holiday with loved ones no longer here. Phone calls are more precious. Sometimes the gift is in the giving which is the answer to a prayer of not being alone. Sometimes all is calm depends on us.

Sleep in Heavenly peace. Thank you to so many who have helped this year. Merry Christmas to those near and far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Stamps and Choices

December 12, 2015

For some time I have heard negative things about the lazy money suckling leaches on the food stamp system.  Living the high life on steak and lobster.  I am not sure where that is, but I admit to shamefully having a cell phone.

Most who know us know it’s been a tough year. Some have stood with us, cried and sweated with us, marveled at attitudes and discussed what is needed or not needed. That’s easy to do from the outside and a difference of opinion.  In June when a storm changed much, a setback was an understatement. tmp_9143-20151124_170015-552741758

Picking up the pieces has not been easy. Asking for help…not easy. Asking again…resent doing it. Losses…many this year.  Income is in the extreme poverty definition.  Shall I hang my head now?

 

Last month with a little pushing I swallowed the last bit of pride and applied for food stamps. Perhaps someone reading this will sit smugly in judgment.  Perhaps ignoring the many offers of things for sale and wanting to work where there is none. So the windfall arrived this week, and am grateful for it. The food budget is a whopping  $100 per month.

 

That is breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks for two people for a month. It’s not going to be steak…probably not a lot of beef unless I find burger on sale. I see that 99 cents to $1.50 pork, potatoes,  rice, homemade things. I see bargain hunting and taking advantage of  $5 off $25 that most folks throw away. I see soup and crackers for some lunches. Connor likes Ramen so some meals stretch with that. Grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwich or other stretchers are normal anyway.

 

Some people will undoubtedly resent that $100. Assume money is being squandered somehow and resent for the first time in 8 years we have television. For the first time ever a smart phone to connect with those not nearby. Forgive handwashed clothes as there isn’t a washer here. Yet. We have electricity,  hand drawn water,  wood heat  (thankfully not much needed this year yet.).

 

We aren’t partying on the help food stamps provides.  I don’t resent those with new cars, vacations and expansive Christmas displays. The truck is sidelined so no Christmas parades this year. The Christmas list is pitiful to some.

But we’ve found what we can do without and leading that is prying into managing other people’s lives as it’s enough to deal with this one. Simple things are sometimes good things.

For those who resent our watching a movie or tv show, or discussing not really needing a pantry or should do <whatever > different I am blessed to have the peace of mind to know what I want is possible even in the humbling times this year.

Sometimes the biggest negative times are eye opening.  This too shall pass.  Who will be there when it does?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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