Dear MaryJane ...
Remember the lone farmgirl out in the wilds of Brooklyn who decided to jump on board and become a chapter leader when Farmgirl Chapters were a new dream and there wasn’t a spot of farmland for miles around me? I came out to a Country Home magazine event in Central Park because I needed to meet you all in person. Frankly, I didn’t think you really existed. Women who were building an entire lifestyle around the notion of brave, creative, and heartfelt lives that grow from country wisdom? To an expatriate farmgirl from upstate New York, this was like a whisper from a long-lost friend. I can honestly say that meeting you all that day played a central part in who I am today. Thank you, MaryJane, for reminding me what was most important in the world, who I wanted my daughters to grow up to be, and how I could return to my true self.
That day, we exchanged hugs, you met my baby daughter, Parker, and I offered to show you all the big city. You were so kind on that hot afternoon to invite me to rest with my sleeping child in the VIP section with you while you all ran about meeting new people and getting adjusted to the NYC vibe. When I left, I felt that in all of the millions of New Yorkers who surrounded me daily, I was finally no longer alone.
Now it is four years later (has it been so long?) and I am back where I need to be: a farming mom. I have two daughters now (Parker is 5 and Merry is 2) and I am co-owner of The Accidental Farm (www.theaccidentalfarm.com) in Delmar, New York. I went from tomatoes and herbs on my Brooklyn fire escape (I’m FireEscape Farmgirl on your message boards) to 25 poultry (including two types of chickens, guinea hens, and a peacock!) and about three acres of vegetables and herbs. This spring, I’m even trying out honeybees! Together with my husband, daughters, parents, and my siblings and their children, we are growing our own food, raising our own eggs, and trying to teach our children about caring for each other and the Earth. My husband has never lived in such a rural setting, but he has now taken up bow hunting and forest preservation, and he’s the father of “Our Ladies” (the chickens) and loving every minute of it. My daughters spend summers running barefoot through the yard and eat my basil while they play on the swing and demand zucchini raw out of the garden. It is truly a magical journey and one I was desperate to pursue after that hot day when MaryJane told me, “Children need nature.” Not only have I returned to my hometown and my farmgirl roots, but I am blessed to be part of creating a life where my family is the seed that will blossom into an incredible legacy.
Thank you for taking the time to sit with a new mom and share yourselves. It was a pebble in a pond, but the ripple effect has been tremendous and I hold so much gratitude in my heart.
Love and sunshine