Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"My Mom is an organic farmer"

We're still meeting our neighbors, as our arrival in this small, northern Illinois town was rather rushed and chaotic. We got a job, bought a house, found out we didn't buy a house when it was sold to someone else, moved in to a church member's house while they were on vacation, put our belongings in storage, got the kids started in school, looked for another house, bought a house, moved in.

So, we're still meeting our neighbors. It's a great street in a great town. People of different ages, different color, different interests. The daughter described it like this, "it's like God has put a protective shield over our street so nothing bad can happen here." So there are parts of her theology that I hope grow and develop, but for now, as an 8 year old, I'm glad her neighborhood feels like that. Like a place where nothing bad can happen. She knows the kids, she knows lots of the adults, and she feels safe.

She really likes the parents across the street, and I really like the 2 boys who live there. The daughter just learned to ride her bike without training wheels, and they have the perfectly placed driveway for "turn-arounds" as she then races back up the street.

She especially like the mother across the street, and will ask if she can go play with the boys, or talk with the mom. As the mom is planting flowers, watering plants, putting more seed in the bird feeders, the daughter is right beside her chattering away.

I walked over to chat with the mom this weekend. As we got to know one another, she mentioned that the daughter told her that I was an organic farmer! Huh!? I do work as an educator at the Learning Center at Angelic Organics, and I did get to work on the farm crew last season. I started my garden over the weekend and put in heirloom tomatoes and organic peppers from Seed Savers Exchange, and heirloom lettuce from Earthbound Farms. But an organic farmer! I wish.
I'm barely a gardener. Truth be told, I don't really like to weed, I often forget to water, and soon the whole thing will just be alot of work.

I don't do it because I find a sense of peace as I work, or because I love the solitude. I do it because I want the children around me to know where food comes from, and that it doesn't come from the grocery store. I want them to see how kitchen scraps can become the rich, dark compost that will feed and nourish the soil. I want them to see how the rich, dark soil will feed and nourish first the seeds and then the plants. I want them to learn to enjoy the tastes of different vegetables that are still warm from the sun and wet from the dew. I want them to grow up nourished by these vegetables.

I'm no where close to being an Organic Farmer, and I'm not even sure I can call myself much of an organic gardener. But my daughter thinks I am. It's who she sees me as. It's who I want to be as she grows up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hidden Spots

Many years ago, a family gifted a parcel of land to the county, creating a wonderful park. Many of the "old-timers" in town have fond memories of this little gem. I've heard stories of mothers and daughters fishing in the creek, of older sisters being married in this park, and of these same people celebrating 50th wedding anniversaries surrounded by these wonderful memories.

I'm new to my town, and to the beauty of Northern Illinois. But I'm not new to the beauty and the peace that comes from spending a day at the creek. Most of my childhood was spent in, on or near North Creek in Princeville, IL. We waded in it, tubed down in, and jumped across it. We got leeches from it, something I'll never forget. When my friend Lori's pregnant horse was missing, we hiked all around North Creek until we came across the lovely little foal and her mother in a sunny clearing. Another day I'll never forget. We named one part of the creek Demon's Cove after we were certain that we saw red-robed people walking across the woods. We even found a scrap of fabric on a barbed wire fence.

The sound of running water is the sound of my childhood. It calms me, restores me, and gives me a sense of peace. It also wakes me up from my slumber and quickens my blood. It gives me courage, and
invites me to take on adventure.

Thank you, to that family long ago who chose to preserve and protect this little haven for families you would never know. We will appreciate it, and keep it safe for another generation of mothers and daughters and sisters and partners.