March 26, 2012

In Montana Magazine

The current issue of Montana Magazine -- the one with the fox on the cover (a real fox, not me, jeez) -- features a really wonderful story by Beth Judy on our very own Prairie Heritage Farm.

The photos, by the talented Mr. Jeremy Lurgio, are great and Beth's piece captures us, our hopes, our dreams, our values and our challenges extremely well.

We've been extraordinarily lucky to get loads of good press over the last four years, but this story really shines at getting at the heart of what we do. (And that, as I know, is a hard thing to do as a reporter.)

I was particularly nervous about how this story would come out because we were beyond scattered when Beth came to spend some time with us this summer. We'd just found out the deal on our dream farm had fallen through, we'd just found out we were pregnant (we later miscarried) and our little one was sick, sick sick -- all the middle of high season on the farm.

So, I wasn't very on message (not that I ever am really) and felt like I'd given Beth just a total mess of a representation of us. But, maybe because of that -- or maybe because Beth is just a really good intuitive magazine writer -- the story feels more authentic than any other piece of journalism that's been created about us. (Other than, of course, our friend Rick White's amazing radio documentary, in which he chronicled our first year on the farm. Man, I wish I had a link to share with you.)

It's always hard to see yourself in print, or hear yourself on the radio, or see yourself in video -- to see yourself through someone else's lens. You're almost always left wondering: Is that really me? Is that how the world sees me? What you see doesn't always square with what you think or know.

But this piece wasn't hard at all like that -- it really looks and feels like us, like our true selves, mess, weeds, chaos and all.

So, if you're looking for some good reading material, pick up a copy at a bookstore, grocer or any magazine retailer in Montana (I found a good stack at at Town Pump).

Here are a few of our favorite photos from Jeremy's photo shoot (all photos courtesy of and copyright of Jeremy Lurgio -- see more of his work here!):

March 19, 2012

Outside! I Said Outside!

These days, Willa is asking, basically from the moment she wakes up, to go outside.

OK, so it really sounds like she's screaming "Die-ee!" "Die-ee!" "Die-ee!" over and over again, but I quickly translate that to "Outside!" (I'm hoping, at least, that it needs translation and she's not actually turning into a teenager already telling me to die. I don't think I'm doing that bad of a job.)

Anyway, I love her even more for this, because:

a) It means she has more than a healthy dose of her father in her;
b) It gets me out of the house too, which, if you work from home, sometimes seems impossible unless there's a toddler screaming at you to do so and;
c) It means she'll be OK in this farm life... maybe.

When we took this leap into farming, I'll admit, somewhere, deep down, I probably did it because I wanted to reclaim a childhood, both for myself and for my kids.

I spent a lot of time outside as a kid on the farm and I think that -- the wind, the sun, the dirt, all of it -- formed me in some pretty elemental ways. I wanted my kids to know that connection and farming was a way to create that. (There are of course, lots of other ways to make that connection.)

Willa has been an outdoorsy gal, by necessity, since birth, and she's seemed OK with it. (See photo below.) But, I have worried a time or two about thrusting this life on her. I mean, I think it's good for her to have this connection to food and land and the environment, but you never really know, you know? Maybe she'll be an indoorsy kind of gal who doesn't like dirt or animals. Then what? Then I'm just the dirty Mom who does gross things all day long. It could happen.

So as I watch her little personality developing, and her independence growing, I'm heartened to see her craving the outside all on her own.

The other day in the greenhouse, while Jacob planted (and confession: while I read a mystery novel), I saw Willa waving her hands out of the corner of my eye. She was covered in potting soil, a large clump of it tumbling out of her mouth as she ran to me, arms outstretched and her tongue, black with the stuff, plunging out of her mouth.

I think maybe she's a natural after all.


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