Farmer John Writes: How Does Anything Happen?

 In Farm News

Harvest Week 17, October 24th – 29th, 2022

We’ve had a few warm days recently. Maybe the weather will get the broccoli to form heads. Maybe not.

We are fortunate to be blessed by an abundance of many other crops, so scarcity is unlikely. This late in the season, it looks like we will still offer a bounty of head lettuce (which is not covered for frost protection) and spinach, amongst many other crops.

Bartolo washes beets

Our U-Pick Garden is Closed

With the recent frosts, our U-Pick garden is now closed. I hope you were able to enjoy some of its bounty this season.

A Festival of Pumpkins

Haidy and I have two deeply dead ash trees in the yard of our home. We plan to fell them soon, but before that, these two trees requested to host a festival of pumpkins. How did they make this known? And how do I register such impulses? It’s a mystery, how things come about, what guides them, what prompts them into being.

the ash trees’ final request—a pumpkin festival


How Does Anything Happen?

Recently, I have been pondering how things actually come about. I know that things come about through a confluence of will, need, inspiration, circumstances, discipline, resources, etc., but is there even more than that which manifests certain things into being?

I planned to install pumpkins in our dead ash trees with the same amount of determination that I bring to many other projects. Many of these other projects don’t happen; however, this one happened. Before it happened, I thought it has to happen. It must happen. It won’t happen. I have too many other things to do; it’s not that important to install pumpkins in trees. 

But then, last Friday morning, we took the boom lift from the farm up to our home, along with a trailer full of pumpkins, and the installation happened. Fine. Nice. However, the accomplishment led me to a review of many of the things I plan to do and don’t do, and also many of the things I plan to do and actually do. I don’t really have any answers for why certain things happen and others don’t.

Of course, I do a lot of farming things because if they don’t get done, you don’t get food in your boxes, but many other things are optional—they can get done or not get done. And I do a lot of these optional things (many people remark that I do a huge amount of these optional things) but as far as I am concerned, I only do a smattering of these optional things. And the ones that get done, why them and not others?

I reflected on unfinished projects, projects I fully intended to finish years ago. I thought about projects that seemed essential to complete years ago that I have basically forgotten about. I thought of projects I never planned to do, and I suddenly did them, some of which were huge projects, some of which I later realized were essential, some of which I later realized would have been fine left undone.

What gets done? Why? I don’t know. I just think it’s interesting to notice what happens and what doesn’t.

Where Are My Glasses?

Before I go to sleep at night, I put my glasses on a shelf on the side of the bed where Haidy sleeps. At 5 in the morning, I went to retrieve my glasses from the shelf, but they were not there. Hmm, I must have placed them somewhere else, but where? (It was going to be hard to find them without my glasses.) I looked and looked, because I really cannot do much without my glasses; the world is a blur. My wife was sleeping deeply and would not have been keen on my waking her up to help look for my glasses, so I left her alone.

After much searching, I decided our cat Elmer had run off with them. Actually, by the time an hour of more and more desperate searching had passed, I started to think that Elmer’s eyesight was fading and that he needed glasses. (I don’t pretend to be rational in the early morning.) I kept imagining Elmer wearing my glasses, and I sought him out just to make sure this was not the case. However, I kept thinking he had something to do with my missing glasses. Perhaps he had decided they were a mouse, and run off with them.

Elmer’s eyes seem fine

After an hour-and-a half of searching, I was about to call one of my employees to help me look for the glasses.

I decided to take one final look for them in the bedroom. I noticed that my wife had rolled over. Where she had been sleeping lay my glasses. Elmer had slung them off the shelf; they had fallen on the bed, and then my wife had rolled over on top of them. Just before I gave up on my search, my wife rolled again, exposing the glasses. It had never occurred to me to look under my wife for my glasses, as in “oh, yeah, my glasses must be under my wife.” I suppose the lesson here is that one never knows where something is hiding, and that whatever you are looking for, it might be underneath your partner.

From Our Lakeview Site Host

“It was great to meet you and see the farm, greatly overdue, during Field Day!  What glorious weather we had that day.  I thank the hands we see, in the videos you posted, for the hard work of getting dirty, making the vegetables that grace all our tables. I thank the minds that conceived and planned it, the hands that planted, tended, and harvested those fields, and the folks that packed it up so nicely for us.”
~ Keith Fort

Farmer John


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  • Regina M M Weber

    Farmer John,
    THANK YOU!! i love your pictures and so enjoy reading your letters! It gives me an insight into the goings on of your farm!

    • Farmer John

      Regina, They give me an insight, too. Writing is a process of discovery for me.

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