What’s been going on!
Forty years ago yesterday Betsy and I took a day off from work, drove down to Dillon, South Carolina and got married. 14,601 days ago but who is counting? It was just another practical decision on our part, like so many others we have made over the years. We had been together for a few years by then, having moved here from Utah in 1980 to try and start a small farm.
I was working as a carpenter and she was cooking in the kitchen at the Fearrington House while we were trying to bring the farm to fruition. We had incorporated the business in the fall of 1980, had raised some initial capital and were looking for land, a task made much harder during the recession with high interest rates but we forged ahead and eventually found this wonderful piece of land in the fall of 1981.
Getting married was a rational business decision (it made lots of legal things easier) as well as a commitment to each other but we were not at all tied to a “wedding”. We worked on Monday, drove down with a few friends and my Mom for the 30 minute process which cost $35, stopped at South of the Border for our “reception” on the way home and then went back to work on Wednesday. No fuss, no muss.
People have asked why we are retiring this month and I have said to many that not only is it our 40th season of farming but it’s Betsy’s 40th wedding anniversary present, instead of the traditional gift of a ruby. She replies she would have been happy to stop at 39 and wouldn’t want a ruby anyway. One of the words for retirement in Spanish is jubilado, very close to jubilation and we have taken to using it more frequently lately.
One of the other questions folks ask is “what are you going to do with yourselves?”. It has never crossed our minds that we might not have enough to do. Besides the joint care and feeding of all of our land and buildings, which is enough to keep us plenty busy on its own, we have a long list of over 30 places and counting that we want to travel to once Covid allows us to.
Betsy has become re-invigorated about what we have always referred to as her “recreational” flower beds, large areas around the farm dedicated to mostly perennial ornamentals. She has always been a plant person and has upwards of an half an acre in these beds that and she is excited to finally be able to give lots of attention to. She also plans to spend much more time in her pottery studio. There of course is her ongoing work with the local Democratic party.
While also a joint project, I am looking forward to completely re-designing what will be our personal food gardens starting with taking down five of the six sliding tunnels, keeping one for us, and developing a new rotation of outside beds that will surround the remaining tunnel that will include vegetables, some cut flowers and of course cover crops. We plan on finally planting some fruit trees and for the first time in decades some raspberries, blackberries and asparagus again. It will be a new age of experimentation and growing things we never have or haven’t in years because it didn’t make sense for the business. Small plantings, very manageable.
As some folks know I am an avid backpacker and plan on many more trips both local and in the western US. There will be lots of day hikes and I may even put my kayak back on the water for the first time in decades. Having just typed all of those plans I may have to sit down and rest a bit so we don’t overdo.
Pictures of the week
Two of Betsy’s recreational flower beds
What’s going to be at Market?