Being A Regular

When I was in high school, one of my dreams was to be a regular at a coffee shop.

I know – I was a pretty ambitious kid.

My friend Melissa and I were so excited when we achieved this. Once we got our drivers’ licenses, we’d stop at our local Dunkin’ Donuts (conveniently located in a Shell gas station) to buy Coffee Coolatas every day on the way to pick up our friend Christy for school.  It took a few months, but the guys behind the counter started to recognize us, to greet us with big smiles, and (THE BEST PART) to know our orders before we said them out loud. Nothing feels cozier than someone handing you a perfectly created beverage without you having to give them explicit instructions.

I started daydreaming about our morning coffee stops because I noticed a phenomenon at the Catonsville Farmers’ Market, where our family goes every week to sell our local organic Wild Peace Farm vegetables and eggs. This year’s market season started up on the first weekend in May, and it’s always lovely to be back that first week – to catch up with other vendors, to see customers that we haven’t talked to all winter. The small talk during that first week is often something like, “How was your winter?” – a question that can have many different answers and allows for either a “Fine, yours?” or a detailed story about a skiing injury or a new grandbaby.

Now, every business has regulars – reliable customers who show up as consi26153104_2075250709427490_6951418033298472960_nstently as Melissa and I did for our Coffee Coolatas. (Which I think were probably 90% sugar and about 10% coffee, btw.) And I find myself giving regulars a slightly warmer farewell than I do for new or occasional customers.

For new or occasional customers, my farewell is often something akin to “Have a good day!”

But, for our regulars?

I tell THEM: “Have a good week.” It’s a subtle difference but means a lot.

It always warms my heart when we get to this level with a customer. Saying have a good week implies that we will see them again in a week’s time; it means our familiarity has reached a level that we expect to see each other every Sunday. It’s sweet and comfortable. And I hope I make them feel just as good when I start pre-bagging their arugula as I did when the nice man at Dunkin’ Donuts handed me my french vanilla Coolata before a word had been exchanged between us.

farming · writing

Wild Peaceful Days

It’s spring!

Sometimes we get shortchanged on spring in Maryland – we skip straight from April snow to July heat waves. It was looking pretty spring-y in late April, but the last few days have been hot and summery.

Me?  I’m feeling pretty springy.  The world is just beautiful on Wild Peace Farm these days. There’s laundry drying on the clothesline, which is beautiful and has nothing to do with the fact that the dryer broke unexpectedly.

I never in a million years thought that I would live on a farm when I was a teenager. I did not grow up on a farm. I grew up in Staten Island, NY, which is technically part of New York City but always felt like a mix between city and suburb. Our backyard was big enough for a basketball hoop and a game of mini-soccer in a space smaller than a regulation penalty box.

Now, Tee, Teddy, and I live on a 70-acre farm in northern Baltimore County. And I still feel like a kinda-city-kinda-country kid who’s new to all of farming and country living.

It’s been hard lately to balance being a farmer’s wife (also known as Assistant Farm Manager) and being a full-time working parent. I don’t get a lot of opportunity to get knee-deep in the soil. I’m hopeful that this will change sometime in the near future.

I’ve been daydreaming lately about more farm-centered blogging – writing about being a farmer’s wife, from the perspective of a person who knew next to nothing about farming ten years ago. That will be coming soon.

For now, I’m enjoying my wild peaceful Fridays with Teddy – baby boy napping, laundry drying, and me just typing away.







#WildPeaceFarm #DruidHillFarmersMarket #heart #body

Wednesday is Druid Hill Farmers Market Day!  Tee and I love both of the markets we currently attend as vendors – the Catonsville Farmers Market on Sundays, anDruid Hill Farmers' Market 2013d Druid Hill on Wednesdays.  This market is held in Druid Hill Park, right next to the Druid Hill Conservatory.

Each of this markets has a different flavor, so to speak.  One of the things I like about the Druid Hill Park market is its location, in Baltimore City.  I spend so much time in the country and the suburbs these days that it can be refreshing to spend a few hours in the city.  It also feels good to be bringing healthy organic vegetables into a neighborhood where our produce isn’t readily available.  Last week, a little boy came up to our table and, vegetable by vegetable, asked me what every single veggie on the table was called; it was the cutest thing ever.  I hope he retains the info; I didn’t know what kohlrabi was until I was 29 years old, so he’d be years ahead of me.

This year, as an extra special treat for me and Tee, Zeke’s Coffee is also at the Druid Hill market!  (I assume they knew Tee and I would love that.  Right?)  We get to pick up our two favorite varieties – Gunpowder Espresso Blend and Hippie Blend – every week.

Next week is the last week of the Druid Hill Farmers Market for the season.  Come visit!

balance · farming

Finding Big Picture Balance #AmeriCorps*NCCC #WildPeaceFarm #heartsoulmindbody

The two years that I served with AmeriCorps*NCCC were two of the best years of my life so far.

A lot of people can point to a year or an experience that changed their life.  It could be a loss or a life event.  It could be a certain job, or going to college.  It could be a year abroad, or meeting someone special who helps you to change your perspective.

My years of AmeriCorps service were life-changing – they changed the way I look americorpsat the world.  Those two years helped me to really figure out who I am and what I value.  Before that, I was a city kid.  I had no great love of the outdoors or of working on projects by hand.  By the time I was halfway through my first year of AmeriCorps service, I had learned more about myself than I had in three years of college.

My AmeriFriend, Squid, came to visit this weekend, and we reminisced about our AmeriCorps projects.  Squid and I had similar pre-AmeriCorps likes, dislikes, and lives.  We each had joined AmeriCorps*NCCC with limited experience with physical labor.  We each expected that our favorite projects would be people-centered – working as summer camp counselors, doing taxes for low-income families – and we were each surprised to find that our favorite projects were more physical and solitary – trail-building in the woods of Ohio, removing invasive species in the Smoky Mountains, etc.

I find the outdoors and physical work incredibly soothing and enriching.  At the end of a day on the trail, I would feel great.  I’d be exhausted, but my body would feel capable and strong and useful.  The repetition of a basic task – digging or smoothing or pickaxing – was meditative.  I’d feel calm and serene in a way that is difficult for me to obtain via other methods.

During my first few years of working after finishing AmeriCorps, I missed this Life-is-a-matter-of-balancefeeling a lot.  I started teaching at a school for kids with special needs, and I adored the children – but I craved that feeling of having spent a day at physical labor, and I missed being outdoors.  Eventually, that feeling was what led me to take a job as an outdoor educator, where I met Tee; we worked as team-building facilitators on a farm-slash-outdoor-learning-center in northern Baltimore County.  That job was a pretty good fit for me – but I really missed working with kids with special needs, and I felt that my true calling was to be a social worker.

Now, looking at The Big Picture, I feel like I have a perfect blend of the outdoors, children, physical labor, and mental/emotional tasks.  My Big Picture Balance includes my day job, helping little kids who need help – which is a lot of #heart and #mind food – and my side job, as (ahem) Assistant Farm Manager, which gives me the #body and #soul food that I learned to love through AmeriCorps.

That kind of balance feels pretty wonderful.


#WildPeaceFarm #What’sYourChurch? #heart&soul

I absolutely love Sundays.

Every Sunday, from May through November, we wake up early to drink coffee, read, write – just lovely morning quiet time.  Then we pack up the car and we head to Catonsville for the Sunday farmers market.farmers_market_vegetable_vintage_art_tags_digital_collage_sheet_d8f0c81d

When Tee first started farming, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about working the farmers market.  I do love and enjoy people, but I’m not great with chit-chat and small talk.  I was a little worried that the market would feel like work, which is not how I like my Sundays to feel.

I’ve ended up loving the market.  It’s time with Tee – our customers and our co-vendors are all friendly and wonderful – we end up taking home a conglomeration of amazing and delicious food, practically free – we’re outside  – and, it’s a weekly ritual.

I’m not religious, but I strive for rituals.  I think that having special Sunday rituals is especially nice, since I think of Sunday as the beginning of the new week.  A few years ago, I had a group of friends who liked to go to brunch.  One of the guys jokingly referred to brunch as “gay church,” which made me laugh.  For some comicpeople, church is their church.  For Tee and me, a few years ago, we took a short walk down to the river every weekend and sat by a waterfall with our puppy, our coffees, and our books.  For others, their church is hiking, a bike ride, family time, outings with friends, relaxing routines in their homes, etc.

From May through November, the farmers market is my church.  This is, in part, because doing a Sunday market means that it can be difficult for us to go to church, which we do sporadically during winter months.  Mostly, I think of it as church because it’s a weekly Sunday ritual that nourishes my heart and my soul and helps me to feel replenished and ready for the week ahead.

What’s your church?