The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has featured Abbe and Lucky Penny Farm & Creamery in its most recent blog, which is dedicated to highlighting Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) projects that support women and beginning farmers.Read the blog here: http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/sare_feature_1/
Lucky Penny News
Filtering by Category: Farm Life
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I spend a lot of time taking pride in the world around me. I love where I live. I'm not just talking about the farm. I love being in northeast Ohio and am constantly surprised by the beauty I see here everyday. Even on those cold winter days we all hide from, I manage to eek out a little beauty and little wonder. My experiences are of course enhanced by the person I share all my hopes and dreams with, my wife Abbe. In recent months we haven't got to see a lot of each other. This goes way beyond our normal tag team parenting and two full time jobs thing. It has more to do with the launching of our business and still trying to keep a normal life for our three kids. I joke with people and tell them to "Jump on in! The water is fine! Three kids and a farm is a breeze." Most give me a quizzical look and say something like "Really?".... No, not really, but it is important, powerful and full of love and I wouldn't trade our experiences for anything in the world.
I had a great opportunity this past weekend to sit on a panel with two of my favorite artists and talk about prospects for artists to go and make work at a residency center – or something like it. This process usually means leaving for several weeks or months and going and immersing yourself in your work. It's a great thing when you have the time. However, most of us don't and I of course am no different. I have been able to get away for a week or two and do some professional development things like this, that have brought new insights to my work and friendships that are important. However, those opportunities only come about because of the partnership I have with my wife. If she didn't support me in going, or I her in doing something for her professional development, neither one of us could grow and challenge our dreams. Further, there is a sweetness that comes with missing home, farm and family that I can't imagine living without.
So, is it nothing but "work, work, work, all the time?" Ask anyone who knows me and they might question if I ever truly work. Even when I'm sad I try to laugh and enjoy myself. No really, it's something I taught myself to do a long time ago. However, I am never truly sad because of the strength of my family and mostly because of Abbe. I wouldn't say she is as cliché as something like my rock, rather I would say she is like a rock in my boot. Now you're thinking, what the heck is he talking about? She is going to kill him! Wait, just follow me a second. The rock in your boot can be annoying, but your wearing that boot because you're out doing something, maybe it's work, maybe it's pleasure, but you're doing something. Often you'll find a spot to take off your boot and see what's in there and you 'll take a moment to take in your surroundings and perhaps see something important. You might then take off your boot, shake it out and find it's not a rock after all, it's a priceless gem or even a lucky penny. In my case, that penny would remind me of the greatest love of my life and the power of place and home.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It's fair time at the farm, and wow - what a busy week. Between running forth to the fairgrounds, milking goats, unloading hay wagons, getting the children ready for school and the two full-time off farm jobs we hold, it amazing that we are able to do this week at all. It's great fun for the kids and full of important life lessons that are unique to growing up on a farm. Madeline showed what another year of goat handling and learning can do, as she won "junior showmanship" this year. She took one of my favorite Does "Gloria" to fair this year, and they both did great. I couldn't stand the pressure, and Madeline was so tired when she got home, she tried to go to sleep with her clothes on.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
This is a bag of "Quality Mash" from the grain elevators my great-grandparents ran. It's old and faded, but the cotton used to make it still feels fairly strong. I know my great-grandmother used some of these feed sacks to make quilts and other clothing. It's an easy thing to imagine, especially when one sees a need to save every last thing for potential use. My grandfather wrote several books for the family about growing up on the farm and life as the surgeon he later became. I enjoy reading them when I miss him, which is pretty much every day. He would think what we're doing here is nuts, but he would appreciate the work that goes into it. He would also find great joy in my wife and children and the stories we're accumulating raising them the way we are. He was always up for a good story, especially something funny. It's in a way comforting to know ones history as I do. It's also interesting to see how the need for family and "quality mash" is no different now then it was 100 years ago.
Monday, July 20, 2009
When I'm drinking coffee in the morning something that John Steinbeck wrote in one of his books, I believe it was Travels with Charley, anyway, he wrote something like "I hope one day we (our nation) are not overtaken because we lack the will to bend over and pick what is growing." That's no direct quote, but I think it sums up the idea. I try, and mostly fail every spring to plant a huge garden that I hope will provide fresh food for my family during the summer and fall. I fail in some regard because I don't have the time to tend the garden as much as I might. I also lack the attention span or the will to fight every foe a garden has. However, in my career and in my relationships (including the most important ones) I have never feared to work on the things that are not necessarily the most pleasant or easy. So, when I can sit and listen to the world around me, that old quote old Steinbeck's that I've probably mangled and changed to fit me floats back like a former hit song and I remember why I wanted to buy this farm.
For Madeline's 10th birthday party I painted a mermaid for her to photograph herself and her friends in. I think they liked it, but one can never be too sure. Anyway, the birthday had a carnival theme complete with a fabulous visit by a fortuneteller. It was lots of fun and having 10 girls over for a slumber party is not to be forgotten. The house still hasn't recovered.
Monday, July 13, 2009
As farm parents it's easy to lose sight of why you're here. Like every parent we are extremely busy. Full time jobs, three children and over 100 goats, chickens and horses make for a full life. Yes, the simple life is in no way simple and I chuckle when people envy the "pace" I have. I chuckle because I know that many wouldn't enjoy the "pace" unless marathon running was their passion. Also like everyone else it's difficult to find time to collect your thoughts and get something you want to do done. I was looking through a bunch of images this morning and came across this picture of my nephew and my son playing together from over the summer. It says it all for me. Ezra clearly dressed himself (as snow boots in July are a choice only a three year old would make) and he and his cousin are looking into a bucket full of water and various life forms from one of our small ponds. When we bought the farm it was to provide opportunities like this one for our children. The chance to get messy in nature and discover worlds they might not see in our increasing homogenized antiseptic world. This image says a lot about who we are and who we are trying to be. I'm not trying to fool anyone into believing that we live an idyllic life all the time. However, here is a moment of perfection for all to see. Toddlers like to discover as much as any kid and tie-dye shirts and snow boots are always in style " no matter what month it is.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Things are progressing here on the farm. We've been working on the build out for the Lucky Penny Creamery in Kent, Ohio as well as working on the build out to the third generation dairy farm we're renovating in Garrettsville. It's a lot to do with babies being born everyday, full time jobs and three children. Still, it's good to work on a dream and it's better to be busy than not. However, our own house keeping has suffered immensely from our intense schedule. Abbe is focusing on getting all of our business ducks in a row and I'm doing whatever she tells me to – mostly. I've got artwork in a show in Cleveland this month at the Asterisk gallery and a couple of books I did with the American Ceramic Society have gone on sale. It's a rich full life and hopefully we'll be able to keep it all going. You know what happened to the family that worked hard, set goals and got everything they ever wished for? They lived happily ever after.