The turn toward Autumn has me feeling the inward pull to reflect and give thanks for all that has come to pass this summer and since I began envisioning what we would accomplish this year at Imbolc (Feb. 2), the time to plant seeds of intention.
It has truly been a season of abundance — quite a bit of it unexpected — but we are so thankful for all that we have been able to accomplish.
I haven’t blogged about our life/farm in quite some time, but with all the changes and upcoming projects I think this is a nice time to share what we’re up to and the new dreams we have taking shape.
I taught my class about Herbal Oils a number of times, helping people to understand the difference between essential and herbal oils and how to begin incorporating this method of using herbs into their home toolkit.
In very early spring, construction began on our new pavilion. We were hoping to be using it a lot more this summer, but we’ve experienced a number of delays. However, we finally held our first classes there by the end of summer.
In addition to the pavilion, we have added a sugar shack/storage space and a hoop house. The hoop house is being made possible through the USDA’s NRCS programs.
We began selling some fresh herbs and a few of our value-added products through White Barn Local.
I began attending births as a doula, and have continued to overflow with passion about the importance of women’s’ experiences in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
We started our garden in our sunroom for what is hopefully the last time — I hope we are using one of our new spaces next year!
We had our first successful honey harvest (you can also buy some here)!
We started a few new bee colonies.
We hosted a number of classes on the farm. One was with Red Beet Row where we installed a medicinal orchard space.
Many of our event photos (like the two above) are from our summer live-in helper, Madeleine. Madeleine was an amazing help in the garden harvesting, painting a new mural on our chicken coop, and helped us keep up with daily chores in the house like laundry (and our favorite, after-dinner dishes 😉 ).
In fact, I had a number of great helpers this year! Christine (or Fleur as we call her here to avoid confusion) has been here for a number of years helping part-time with herb harvesting and product making, Madeleine was here this summer for the (I think..?) fourth time staying with us (this time was the longest), and Margaret has been the garden manager this year. I couldn’t be doing all this without them!! A dream team!
I think we’ve set new records in the amount of herbs harvested this year. It will be fun to tally up the totals here soon!
We also managed to take a break to Lakeside, Ohio for a week.
And then the strangest thing happened….
The land adjacent to our property went up for sale. NINETY EIGHT ACRES!
(Excuse the terrible photo of the map. It was from the original realtor’s “preview night” and the baby got hold of it! You can see where our current property is lining the far right. Our house and barn are circled. The red properties are what came up for sale!)
New dreams began churning as we imagined all the new directions our business could grow, and how much land we would be protecting. Most of all we knew how much we wanted to keep the land safe from development.
Long story wrapped up quickly…we poured our hearts into making this work out, our families all came together to help make it happen, and we are now the owners of this new space (although I like to call us caretakers or stewards since I do not believe we can “own” land).
The land has an interesting history which I hope to explore more as time goes on (and share here!).
There is a main farm house that is in pretty good condition. We’re hoping this is the new headquarters for Light Footsteps. This will allow me to “walk to work”, have a retail space, more classroom space for the winter, lodging for helpers, and probably a commercial kitchen space, too. Wow. Dreamy!
There are a few other houses on the land that are literally time capsules of a different era. They are fascinating to explore, and we have a lot of work ahead of us deciding how best to use these spaces while protecting all of their history!
In general, at this point we hope to have more space for volunteers, WWOOFers, community events, longer retreats, classes, and workshops, and other families/individuals who have dreams that merge well with ours that can help to make this a thriving place for people and the planet.
And –bonus — there’s a pond.
In the midst of all that is required to purchase real estate (it’s a lot and quite stressful!), we managed to keep hosting various classes, like this one about Folk Medicine with Aniko of Wild Origins.
Our gardens also continued on, especially with the help of Margaret!
Madeleine taught a class about making paper that incorporated flowers and herbs. It was the first class we had in our new (still not totally finished) pavilion.
And Leah Wolfe of Trillium Center taught a popular class about our local medicinal and edible mushrooms.
Soon after we made a family road trip to Tennessee so that I could study for a week with the renowned midwives at The Farm. It was so incredibly rewarding to be surrounded by women with a similar passion for birth! This fall I’ll be attending a few births as a midwife’s assistant and possibly start on the route to earning my Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential.
It was also a meaningful pilgrimage for me because my late father had visited the Farm in the 70s. It made me feel connected to him in a new way to feel his spirit driving down the main road at the Farm on his motorcycle as I walked the same path.
And then to end the summer with a bang we were surprised that an article that was written about us made it to the front page of our local paper! What a fun way to spread the word about all that we’re doing, and the author did a great job of representing us in a really honest and authentic way. I’ve had a lot of people around town mention it to me already.
And so, friends, I can hardly believe how much has happened since I set my intentions for this year back in February. It truly has exceeded my expectations, but is a great testament to the power of holding a vision and setting our intentions out to the universe.
This season has not been all easy. There have been stresses to make things come together and in my own personal development as a mother, wife, and person with unique goals, but in this season of shifting light, and as we head toward the dark half of the year I can offer up only gratitude for all the gifts in my life.
Blessed be. May your Autumn be full of gratitude and wonderful things.