South Egremont — While my feet are firmly planted in the dewy mornings of our daily work list, I find my mind sometimes slipping to 2016. Next year will mark my 20-year commitment to farming — first as an experiment in lifestyle at the neighboring Mahaiwe Harvest CSA and then continuing my journey to Indian Line Farm in 1997 making this my full-time occupation. There is so much between those book ends: a wedding; many many thousands and thousands of pounds of vegetables; two lovely children; amazing co-workers, volunteers, working members; and a supportive community of folks who say this is where they get nourishment. There has been abundant sunshine, lots of rain at times, much beauty and joy and many hardships, challenges and inner places to grow and adjust as a farmer, a woman, wife, mother and employer.
This 20-year milestone is significant to me and I am going to honor it by putting in a bookmark so to speak. I am planning a sabbatical beginning this fall. This is a plan I have been contemplating for a few years and I finally feel the circumstances of my life and the life of my family are ready to make it happen. The short story is this: I will be taking Colin and Helen on a cross country trip visiting family and friends, staying in National Parks and seeing some farms beginning in late October. Then, in December, we will be flying to Guatemala and staying there until late July of 2016. We will be living in a village where I used to work over 20 years ago. The children will attend school and I will be helping out in the middle school teaching English. I am really excited to provide my children an immersion experience in a culture and language that has been really important to me.
Meanwhile, the farm will take a sabbatical, too. There will be no vegetables growing for the 2016 season. The entire farm will be planted to soil building cover crops and will be taken care of in anticipation for the 2017 growing season. The land will appreciate a break and chance to rejuvenate and so will I. I have not taken this decision lightly nor does my decision to take this break devalue the commitment I feel to all of you for the commitment you have made to Indian Line Farm. Your continued commitment over the years has nourished our family in so many ways and we look forward to many future years together. There will be no changes in this season. You will all enjoy the quality and quantity (Mother Nature willing!) that you have come to enjoy over the years here. I just wanted to let everyone know now so that there are no surprises in the fall.
In advance, I appreciate your understanding and continued support during this time. I sometimes feel giddy at the idea and other times am terrified of what letting go of my current life for a year of exploration will bring. I looked up the definition of sabbatical and came up with the following from Merriam-Webster: 1) a year of rest for the land observed every seventh year in ancient Judea and 2) a leave often with pay granted usually every 7th year (as to a college professor) for rest, travel, or research — also called sabbatical leave. That’s what I am doing — except for the paid part!
Thanks for reading!