Start. And continue.

Sparing you the details of a horrendous yet amazing eight weeks, I'll start by sharing some life stuff. I recently became single, started taking an intense weekly Japanese Taiko drumming class, and even more recently completed the Stanford University's Cultivating Compassion Training (CCT). Cultivating Compassion Training are basically fancy words that say for eight weeks, I meditated. I'm sure I'll be writing more about this, but for now my biggest take-away was on our last night, where our professor shared three simple words:

Start. And continue. 

Take this as you'd like, but for me and for today's post, this relates to farming... ish.

~

The long driveway of my property is going through my least favorite stage of the year, with puddles from this week's rain, giant gopher holes and the gravel I spent my savings on (back in 2002 and multiple times since) disappearing into nowhere. The gopher holes mock me and my efforts to thwart their continued swiss-cheese impact on my beautiful driveway. I walk, and with every two feet or so, softly mutter the holy prayer all farmers say, "Fucking assholes."

 The short walk to where the fields start is still lovely, with wind-bend hemlock smelling sweet with the remembrance of warmer days in the fall. I get to the rows of saffron (Crocus sativus), to survey what has recently bloomed. This is a perennial crop that needs tending to just a few months out of the year, with the time before harvest being the most important. Since I was consumed by something less savory during that time, the saffron were completely neglected. This year's harvest is definitely lower then expected (hoped, needed, wished), but it's more then sufficient for our purposes with the Higher Ground serum. (We have lots of perfect saffron threads being popped into new serum bottles as we speak, a winter 2017 batch that will be available well before christmas. Check out this awesome article including our products, from Alicia Silverstone.)  

Coming home from harvest, I pile the little heads of purple saffron in a heap on my kitchen table. Methodically, I work through the pile, pulling the narrow petals away from the stigma and stamen. The saffron (stigma) is laid flat to dry for the next two weeks. I haven't figured out a good use for the petals, other then burying my face in them for the rest of the evening. The buds that haven't fully opened are my favorite to process, twirling open with a simple movement and easily releasing the bright rust red saffron. 

My evenings have been spent tending to these tiny flowers, allowing me to spend time on a sweeter focus in these short winter days. 

Start. And continue. 

The plan is to plant more next fall and restore this current crop. Onward. 

 

 

To order a bottle of our new batch of Higher Ground serum, click here or visit the shop

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Farm gate.

 

Full disclosure; I'm going to complain for a minute. 

Today I went to the farm early to unload an ungodly amount of shit out of my truck. Old sandbags (like 20), bags of wet manure, tools and green waste needed to be organized and composted at the farm. I was not looking forward to doing it alone, but my employee (Hey Juan Carlos!) flaked on work at the last minute, and it needed to be out of my truck. *Juan Carlos works his ass off and is normally reliable, so I wasn't annoyed at him - just that my back hurt and I didn't feel like doing the work. Plus, I had a million other things to do that morning. 

Setting my petty frustration aside, I arrived early, pulling up to the dirt driveway with rising excitement because I remembered my gate was finally fixed. For the past 4 years I have opened and closed this fucked up, broken gate, instead of paying someone to fix it. It has not been a priority to spend time and money on, yet is super annoying to drag open or closed. You have to use your body to open it, with spider webs, debris and god knows what else clinging to your shoulder and side. Rust gets on your clothes and finger tips. I chase myself in circles to try to find ticks on me from this gate. 

Plus, (did I mention?), it's fucking annoying. 

The other day it got repaired. Swinging freely open and closed, it was something that made me unspeakably giddy. The gate is fixed and all is right with the world again!

This gate is a symbol of a thousand little things in business that go wrong, that can be so minor, but so effecting. I've had a number of challenges in business this year, as growing pains are rearing their ugly heads from time to time. Employees decide they don't want to do their jobs, it rains for 6 months, things break, things get stolen, people yell racial slurs at me on job sites, customers complain about roses that don't bloom "fast enough", and I get my period at job sites - like every month.

Life is not always #instafabulous . 

This tightened-up-moving-freely gate was my win for the week. Hell, the month! I could... nay, would, ride high on this accomplishment for a long time. 

So this morning I pulled my truck up to the farm and with a smile on my face, opened the gate with a mere push of my finger tips. 

It swung freely... for about 6 inches - then dragged to a stop.

"Yaaaay... oh."

I tried again, another 6 inches or so. 

"Yaaaay... oh." Again. "Yaaaay... oh."

The fucker dragged and stopped about five times within three feet before I finally lifted it up the rest of the way to get it fully opened. The rest of the day, my nail beds remained rusty and smelling of metal.

In conclusion I'd like to personally thank the person who invented the tetanus shot - and I'd like this gate to be fixed. 

Ease has to be just around the corner, right?

I actually do well in mild chaos and with challenges, because I find it gives a needed opportunity to change gears and shift into a better vibe. This podcast touched on that today on her recent post. Uprooting the weeds is good for the garden (and sometimes I'm the weed). 

I hope your business or life or kids or goats are providing you with ease, grace and fun this summer. Meanwhile, if you see a farm gate on fire, just look away. 

 

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Farm Workshop #001 - recap

What a pure delight to have a gathering at the farm the other week!

It was a surly Friday evening, with clouds coming and going - until about 7pm, when the sky opened up and the setting sun shown through the back drop of our 100+ year old Cypress trees. If it sounds too dreamy, you're right. It was...

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DIY Succulent Letters

Love our succulent letters? Sweet - so do we!

Below is a simple DIY tutorial of how to assemble and plant your own succulent letters...

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GA + Merchant Home

A lovely post from one of most favorite companies, Merchant Home. This noteworthy company of the talented Alexandra Sklar, offers business insight that we have grow to depend on. I call her my ideas wrangler - although it doesn't begin to encapsulate all the Merchant Home has to offer. As a small company (and with my head mostly in the weeds, not the books), Alexandra's detailed eye for design, numbers, trends and business management is not only inspiring but vital. We have truly loved working with her and the MH team. 
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