Available for Order Now : www.lusciousfarmers.com

I don’t know if the fact that it was a pandemic most of the year helped or hindered my process – maybe a bit of both. But regardless, it has been a challenging year, and I for one am excited to open up a new calendar in 2021. Not that we all didn’t learn a lot this past year. We had our compassion and patience tested and expanded. We had the opportunity to get more politically involved and stand up for justice. We had the chance to connect in new ways with family and friends and the world as a whole. We learned how to sacrifice things we hold dear so as to protect others more vulnerable. But I’m ready for a new chapter, and part of that is putting some positive and creative energy into this strange little project of mine, now in its fifth season, where I go out into the fields of the hard-working farmers of Nevada County, and have them in their natural habitats, as well as au naturel, showing off the beauty of small-scale, sustainable agriculture.

I am, as always, indebted to the farmers, for their enthusiasm for my project, but more so for their dedication to growing and tending to vegetables, grains, flowers, herbs, milk, meat, and honey – despite a world-wide pandemic – and thus literally nourishing us all in a time of uncertainty and need. I have long been involved with the advocacy work of training more farmers, those who will not only work tirelessly to do something important and life-giving with their hands and hearts, but who also work to feed their community’s souls. Photography is part of this. Activism on behalf of marginalized communities is part of this. Mentorship of other farmers is part of this. Educating themselves and others about food access, land ownership, climate change, regenerative practices, indigenous knowledge, seed sovereignty and so much more – is all part of this work. So gratitude to the farmers – may this photo project inspire more folks to take up the digging fork and grow food; to support local, sustainable, and humane agriculture; to fight for justice in our food system, and to spend time outside, with the sunlight on their skin and the soil on their bare feet.

– Maisie

Order your copy now! $20 each! Ordering 3 or more calendars? Only $15 each! If you buy one for yourself, and one for a friend, you might as well buy a third for your uncle’s cousin’s daughter-in-law, cause it’s only an additional $5 for the extra calendar!

I can’t quite believe it myself, but the 2020 Soil Sisters Luscious Farm Calendar is actually here. If creating the 2019 calendar was a minor miracle, than I don’t know what completing this years is. Maybe an astrological anomaly? Saturn just happened to pass into the house of Aquarius and the moon was waxing to almost full and the dog barked at quarter past eleven, just as Venus came into alignment with a small northern California foothills town – and voilà, the calendar became a reality. Even if that’s not what happened, it might as well have been, ’cause that’s how likely it is to successfully put together a creative project with a toddler in the house.

I’m actually proud that it is here. Not because I managed to take 12 photos and edit them and all the other details to transform them into a calendar, but because there were so many moments along the way when I really doubted myself. I held myself to the ridiculously high standards about what kind of photos I needed. I worried that spending too much time making this thing would take me away from being with my daughter. I had moments when I thought, who even cares about art, there are so many other pressing issues to deal with on our planet and in our too-full lives, why make a calendar of a bunch of naked farmers, why even take photos in the first place?

But luckily years of living creatively have clued me in to that particular brand of soul-crushing inner-critic speak, so I just pushed through and made it anyways. This is the fourth year of the calendar, and like a fine wine, I think the project as a whole is maturing with time. I mean, its still naked, local farmers (although I do believe the median age has risen over time). But the 2020 vintage brings some brand new vegetables (Ginger! Stinging Nettle!), new farmers (I never tell), and some novel compositions and subject matter. It’s an earthy almanac, with a full, fleshy body, and a strong floral aroma that hints of shishito peppers, marigolds, and rotting pumpkin. Avant garde to say the least.

I have so many folks to thank for this year’s calendar. Firstly, my fellow farmers. You guys are amazing. I love how you trust me to make you look awesome (it’s not hard), and I really enjoy how much fun we have together in the process. Thank you for your willingness and great spirit, not to mention for growing incredibly healthy, delicious food and flowers for our community. Thank you Josh, for supporting me in doing this while you continue to juggle your own book, our daughter, and life in general. Daily I think about how nothing would be possible without you. And to Willow, my amazing farm partner, who in the past two years has stepped up to not only keep our farm running but has really improved our business and our fields. I’m so grateful to have you in my life and for all your support as I have been navigating motherhood, farming, and living a creative life. Also the brothers over at Grass Valley Printers. I have no idea how they do so many people’s print jobs, with a seemingly endless stack of projects on the counter, plus 4 toddlers thrown in the mix (as in, literally in the office many mornings a week), and still get everything dialed for folks. Thank you for working with me these last few years and executing my vision on to the paper. And lastly, thank you for those people who at varying points this year asked, with hopeful expressions on their faces, “are you going to make a calendar this year?” It really helped inspire me to do it. Putting a creative project out to the world is a vulnerable affair, at least that’s my experience. It feels good to know that there are those of you who really look forward to having my calendar on their wall for the year. You are probably the same people who have actually read this far into this post. So thank you.

And other than that, please visit my website www.lusciousfarmers.com and purchase the calendar (or prints!). Buy it for your friends, your family, and that white elephant gift exchange you have to do at Christmas time and you never can find anything cool for $20 of under. It will be a hit in all of those situations. Buy it for your office, for your mother-in-law, as a gift for someone you are visiting this winter who farms/aspires to farm/aspires to aspire to farm.
Thanks for enjoying, and for your support, and I hope you all have a lovely 2020.

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Real Farmers. Real Food. In the Nude.

Calendar Cover 2019

I am pleased to announce that the 2019 Soil Sisters Luscious Calendar is not only here, it is now available to buy online at www.lusciousfarmers.com. It only took me 2 years (sorry about that 2018) to complete, but it was worth the wait. I managed to convince more than 23 local farmers to show me their fields, get in the buff, and let me photograph them in any number of glorious backdrops, and with the marvelous fruits and flowers of their hard work. I feel particularly proud this year, after giving birth to a human, and taking into account all the trials (and of course delights) of new motherhood, I still managed to make this calendar. I think in years past I have called this project a “labor of love.” Surely, it still is. Though I no longer use the word “labor” lightly, and instead will more aptly deem this a mere “exercise” of love. Let’s just say, I never felt like I was dying while I made this, or that the calendar was stuck at 7 centimeters and was never, ever going to make it out.

I could not have done this without so much help – mainly from my baby, for inspiring me to keep on creating the kind of world I want to leave to her (a world with vulnerability, creativity, joie de vivre, and the freedom to be naked in the mountain air), and to my husband, for taking care of said baby while I did my work, and helped me beyond measure with the trickier parts of editing, layout, and marketing, not to mention creating a website from scratch like the baller that he is. A thousand thank you’s to the farmers who went a little (or a lot) out of their comfort zone to let me find these beautiful images (and to those that were quite comfortable, all the same). I am so grateful to live in a county with such a spirited community of organic farmers. Our farmers are bad-ass – they do the daily work of coaxing food and flowers from the soil, work their butts off, and are passionate about taking care of our planet from the ground up. They do this each and every season, not often turning a large profit, but living a good life while at the same time feeding us all. So thank your local farmer (hey, you can get them one of these calendars as a token of your appreciation!) and enjoy looking at these sexy farmers in the coming year of 2019.

May your holiday season be bright, peaceful, and generous. May your upcoming new year be one of connection, compassion, creativity, and just the right amount of tasteful nudity.

Please visit me at www.lusciousfarmers.com to purchase the calendar as well as order individual prints! Thank you for your support!

With love,



And this year it is better than ever! 12 months of beautiful local nevada county farmers, their equally beautiful vegetables and flowers, and a whole lot of tasteful nudity. I am proud to say this year’s calendar is not only beautiful in format and photo, but is also printed locally and on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Recycled, local and naked – now that’s a calendar to feel good about!

Photography, layout, and design by Maisie Ganz, with huge thanks for the willingness and creativity of our Nevada County farmers-turned-models, Josh Horniak for support with some of the more difficult editing and layout, and Jared at Grass Valley Printers for the professional printing and easeful communication. After a year of photo shoots at dusk and dawn, lots laughter and learning, it is my honor and pleasure to represent our community’s incredibly wonderful (and conveniently sexy) farmers in the asthetically pleasing and ancient form of the calendar.

Even with the local printing, the new modern 11×17 format, and the 100% recycled paper – this year’s calendar will be priced the same as last year’s – only $20 per calendar, and for those buying 3 or more, only $15 each! So if you want one, and want to get one for a friend, you might as well get a third for your grandma, cause it works out to being only $5 for the third. To order please send an email to me at soilsistersfarm@gmail.com with how many you’d like to pre-order (I will be printing the first round this week – Let me know asap, though there will be opportunity for future orders). I will set up a convenient pick up and payment exchange downtown in the coming weeks. For those of you out of town, please include your mailing address in your email and if you would like your calendar(s) to be shipped to you (I will have to add shipping, sorry!). Makes an excellent gift for the holidays and the new year!

(A sneak peak into some of the months….)


Spread the farmer love and buy one for your home and for the food/farm lover in your life!




Willow and Maisie - Your Happy Flower Farmers!
Willow and Maisie – Your Happy Flower Farmers!

Do you know of someone who’s in need of a little Soil Sisters flower love? A friend who has had a rough year? A family member who needs a little extra love? Someone in our community who loves flowers but doesn’t have the funds this year to have them around? Well maybe a bouquet of flowers every week for twelve weeks this summer would cheer them up!

An anonymous donor has offered to purchase a CSA share for someone this 2016 season who is in need. Please respond below with your nominations. Keep in mind that your nominee needs to live in or near Nevada City/Grass Valley and be available on Tuesday evenings to pick up their CSA share. If your nominee can not, then we ask that you commit to picking it up and delivering it yourself. If you prefer your nomination/nominee to be anonymous, please email us at soilsistersfarm@gmail.com with the subject line: Flower CSA Scholarship. Please subscribe to our blog, where we will be announcing the winner Monday, May 2nd, or visit our site on that date. If a prefered anonymous nominee is chosen we will keep said-winner anonymous but at least let everyone know that we have found our recepient!

And if you can’t wait a month, consider signing someone you love up for our CSA anyways! We still have spots left and they are going fast. We offer payment plans, email us if you’d like to discuss options. The CSA runs end of June/beginning of July thru September – 12 weeks at $12/week. We harvest and arrange our CSA bouquets the same day as our pick up – always conveniently located in downtown Nevada City (exact location to be announced).

Thank you and Happy Spring!

Twelve of these!
Twelve of these!


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I blush. A lot. It can strike at any time, anywhere. I blush when i have to speak in front of more than four people. I blush when someone asks me a question and I have to answer them in front of someone else who happens to be eaves-dropping. Even if its freezing out, and I forgot my coat, and I have no hat, I still will feel that familiar flush of heat rise up through my cheeks, feel my arm-pits begin to sweat. It happens when I run into a cute boy, who I had a crush on briefly five years ago, and we’re talking about the weather. It doesn’t matter that i’m not interested in him, and it doesn’t matter that i don’t want him to have the impression that I’m interested. I blush anyways. I blush even at times when I’m on the phone, being interviewed by someone who CAN NOT EVEN SEE ME. I even blush, apparently, at the dentists, reclined on that chair, under that un-godly light, with Dr. Whosywhats forcefully flossing my teeth, as he tells me I have sensitive gums.

It happens when I feel embarrassed, about anything. It also happens when I don’t feel even the slightest bit embarrassed. Which then, undoubtedly, makes me feel embarrassed. I blushed today in fact, in the grocery store, when I ran into a guy who once helped me work on my plumbing in my trailer (I’m talking about my actual plumbing in my literal trailer – relax). We talked as we waited to check-out our groceries. I then realized, when I stepped outside into the brisk afternoon air, I was blushing. And so that we are perfectly clear, I do not, and never have, had a crush on my ex-plumber.

This last summer I was at a dinner with some neighbors and friends. The topic of blushing came up, as one of my friends it turns out, also has a lifetime of blushing experience. She described the years of anguish she experienced through her teens and early twenties. How she used to avoid large groups, speaking in front of people, talking to attractive men. It was only when she became older, and when traveling abroad she came across a series of lovers who considered her blushing not just acceptable, but downright cute, did she begin to accept this part of herself and relax around her body’s untimely demonstrations.

Listening to her struggles made me realize that at some point, long ago, I stopped realizing that I shared her affliction. Even a few minutes of her speaking passed by without me even making the connection between our almost identical symptoms. Because while there was a time that my blushing limited just how many times I was willing to raise my hand in class, that era has long ago passed. Its not that nowadays I’m completely unaware of what’s happening – that a blush is forming – its just that I’m able to hold that awareness more lightly, more of the time. It like in meditation – I don’t ignore the thought, but merely recognize it is there, like a bubble floating above my head, and then i blow it gently away. It works most of the time, and I’m able to proceed forward in whatever it is I am trying to do, instead of crawling into a cold, dark hole (which is what I would prefer to do, were one available).

I was thinking about this whole phenomenon recently while reading the book, “Big Magic,” by Elizabeth Gilbert (For the record, I do actually have a crush on Elizabeth Gilbert).  She tells a short story towards the end of the book, a true story recounted to her by a guy at a party, about his little brother’s trip to France to live as an artist for a year. Long story short, this American kid in France meets some cool bohemians one day who take a shining to him and invite him to the party of the year, letting him know that its most definitely a costume party, and also that all the biggest muckety-mucks in Europe were going to be there. So he works the rest of the week on this elaborate and amazing costume, rents a car and drives three hours to this beautiful castle outside Paris, changes in the car, walks up to the door, gets let in by the butler, and enters the great hall. That’s when he freezes. Everyone is indeed in costume, except he quickly realizes that there was a theme which was lost in translation. The theme was “a medieval court,” and so all these famous people are waltzing around wearing period-gowns and heavy brocade vests and glittering jewels and all the finest that renaissance royalty would have worn.

And this American kid is dressed as a lobster.

A full-on, head-to-toe lobster, complete with red spandex and red foam claws. So he has two choices: run or go with it. He chooses the later, because he spent so much energy and creativity on his costume, and he drove this far, and he’s learned from being an artist and continually putting himself out there, that he has little to lose. And he’s right. He sets off across the dance floor. The music stops and everyone stops their conversations and stares, until someone asks him what he is. He bows and says, “I am the court lobster.” Everyone laughs, everyone loves him, and he spends the evening dancing with royalty.

I love this story. I love it because this kid puts himself, and his costume creation, out into the world even when he knows that it may not fit-in and it may not be well-received. He could have easily been criticized, ridiculed, or shamed, and he knew this. You could say that he had no choice at that point, but he did. He could have never accepted the invitation, never created such an elaborate costume, and never even driven out there. And this is kind of how I feel every day. I imagine it is how many of us feel. When I publish something that I’ve written, or stand up in front of a group to speak, or even when I just leave the house and go to the grocery store – I often feel like a lobster. And when I blush, which I do in all of those situations, I actually look like one too.

What i realize about us blushers, is that our vulnerability is more visible than it is for most. We don’t have the luxury of putting ourselves or our work out into the world without looking like lobsters. And so we have learned to go with it. We have learned to stand up at our friend’s wedding and give a toast, dressed as a lobster. We have learned to make conversation in line for the bank, dressed as a lobster. We give farm tours, chat with neighbors, approach shops to sell our photographs, magazines to print our words – all while dressed as a lobster.

But as i get older – spending more and more of my days among farmers, flowers, and bees; and where how you handle a digging fork matters more than your chosen costume – its a vulnerability I’ve come to value. I am glad that I was put on this earth as someone who has a much harder time hiding her feelings. What once felt uncomfortable and unfair has morphed into feeling gratitude for the increased connection and intimacy my blushing affords. I have found that being vulnerable, and the practice I’ve had at it from my blushing, gives me a deeper access not only into my own life, but also into the lives of others. Being vulnerable, whether I intend to or not, is permission for others to be vulnerable as well. I feel as if I was forced, and am now choosing, to living more fully and with less caution. I can spend less time doing the complicated and impossible dance of trying to seem cool, calm, and composed in front of others – and spend more time being creative, adventurous, dorky, and brave. I can go for it, like the kid in the lobster costume. Besides a little discomfort, a slight fear of judgement, there really is no down-side to vulnerability. Life is more fun, more connected, more expansive, and definitely more exhilarating.

Maisie Ganz

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Are you a blusher too? Please share in a comment below!


a couple weeks ago i was on the phone with AT&T. this was the fifth phone-call i’d made to them in a span of only a few days. i will restrain myself from discussing my opinion of their services, since it is they who monopolize the internet connection for our county (oh, did i say monopolize? i meant provide), and most of you would not be able to read this were it not for their supremely iron-fisted rule. excuse me, superb internet wi-fi reliability.

my operator of the day was named david. he was in st. louis, missouri. i always ask where they are from, it helps me to consider them as human and thus helps to suppress my killing instincts as the call goes on, and on, and no end is in sight and they can’t help but charge me obscene amounts of money and they continue to sound like a robot. so i tell david of my troubles and he says, “don’t worry miss ganz, i am ready to take ownership of this issue.” he said this, like, three times. it must be in bold font at the top of his script or something, a sentence (the only sentence) he was given permission to use by his superiors to respond to just about any complaint given by a customer. and the funny thing was, i actually did feel soothed by this framing of the situation, this wording. ah, i thought, he’s taking ownership, finally i can relax.

ownership. flipped around to become the personal and the affirmative that word has a power to it. lately i’ve been wanting to write again. the farm season is drawing to a close, my time is freeing up, and the forecast calls for many rainy days of potential uninterrupted indoor writing. but i’ve been sluggish to begin. i keep finding excuses not to write, and reasons why it doesn’t make sense to even try. i feel fear – of failure, of judgement. i feel resignation – that its all been said before. i feel that there must be more important things to do, less frivolous then this thing called “writing.” but what if, as david of missouri so strangely and eloquently declared, i took ownership of my writing?

this, of course, is easier said then done. it takes some exploration on my part, to understand why i don’t write even though it is so enjoyable for me, so satisfying, and so deeply life-affirming. i am beginning to see that one reason it is hard for me to write is because writing does not have a measurable output. i spend the majority of my year doing. we wake up at dawn and i feel a deep sense of purpose – to don my work clothes in the early morning light and go outside to tend to our fields. we plant seeds, pull weeds, write emails, harvest flowers, dig beds, till in salad mix, arrange flowers for weddings, sell our wares at the farmer’s market and go to bed at night tired and fulfilled. i think i actually feel most relaxed when i know that i have been productive, that no time has been wasted that day or that week. so when it comes time to slow down and relax, embarrassingly enough, i struggle to do it. i can see that somehow i have confused my level of worth with the level at which i perform. i feel validated when i am busy. and at the base of it, if i wriggle way down into the depths of my self-created conundrum, i see that i’ve over-simplified the equation: (being productive + being busy) x being helpful to others = being loved.

which is where the idea of ownership comes in. no one else knows i’m working under the governance of such a messed-up equation; only i can recognize when that is my story, and only i can re-write it. which means i’m going to have to take some serious ownership of my writing. to me this means letting myself feel the obligations set into motion by my soul, not just the often louder and more insistent obligations of my farm business or household. otherwise the chores inevitably win out. vacuuming the house because it really is filthy right now will always win over taking time to write. so will ordering seeds, fixing the car, shopping for groceries, updating our farm’s website, making holiday presents…the list continuously mounts and evolves seasonally, drawing me away from, as stendhal once said, “the thing which gives [me] more pleasure than any other conceivable action.” well, he actually said, MAN is not free to refuse to do the thing which gives him more pleasure than any other conceivable action, but we’ll just ignore the man part for the moment and assume deep down stendhal supported women in pursuing their passions too.

so from now on i will aim to wake up in the morning and say, “don’t worry miss ganz, i am ready to take ownership of your writing.” i am ready to write freely and rollickingly (thank you brenda ueland). i’m ready to tap out some pages on the computer that may be crap or may be brilliant but at least there will be some tapping. i’m ready to forget the chores for the moment, turn off the internet, sit by the fire and write.

love, maisie

julius knows how to relax
julius: expert relaxer

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i am a farmer, which means that besides an implicit expectation that i know how to make things grow, i am also expected to be able to build shit. fences, sheds, shelves, greenhouses, work-tables, irrigation systems, and of course, the perfectly shaped garden bed. i have never been a confident carpenter. i was not a child who was given a hammer at age three, my own toolbox at age five. i did not work alongside a parent building our home. i did not even put shelves up in my dorm room once i got to college, or in my first apartments later on. i have a memory of my 10-year-old self, attempting to make a treehouse. i hammered three random two by fours up the trunk of tree and climbed up to the third rail. i was maybe 5 feet off the ground. i was high enough to look into the kitchen window, that’s about it. so naturally i emerged into adulthood believing that i was was basically building-impaired.

but that’s because no one ever told me the secret truth: building is not that hard. building is not a man’s work. men are not better equipped to build a shelf in the garage (unless they are using their penis in there when we are not looking). men are not born with a knack for calculating measurements or using a saw. and yet, this is kind of what i thought. this story was even further validated as i began to farm. time and time again my male farming counterparts, mostly my superiors, were making and fixing shit. complicated shit. broken rototiller motors. underground root cellars. outdoor kitchens. whole frickin’ houses. meanwhile i drew pretty market signs that i laminated at staples. woohoo. when a particular project was at hand i was enlisted, when enlisted at all, to pull nails. the power tools littered around me seemed large, unwieldy, and dangerous. i was told not to touch them. i pictured a circular saw coming to life in my hands, slicing through a leg or arm. so yeah, i didn’t touch them.

but then i worked under the tutelage of a manager who wanted to empower his employees – all three of which that particular season happened to be women. there was finally no chance for me to be overlooked and equally no chance for me to hide. so i began to learn. i participated in welding the spade arms on our tractor. i helped build a large greenhouse, standing on the lifted bucket of a tractor to screw in each panel. i helped to dry-wall an old shed that became our farm office. with fear in my heart i cut posts for a compost station with a circular saw. and it began to get easier. i built an outdoor bed and learned the hard way that although it sounds romantic to build bed-posts out of trees, its just not. i did all sorts of small repairs around the farm. i built picture frames. i carved spoons. and when i left that job, my going away present from that same manager was a set of tools i still use to this day.

from there i slowly built up steam. outdoor toilets for all of our farm sites, a counter for my kitchen, bamboo flooring for my trailer. i fell in love with the ease of screws, and the brilliance of pre-drilling. i borrowed an impact driver and suddenly realized that screwing a screw is not about skill as much as the right tool. i invested in my own drill set. i bought a circular saw that was slightly smaller, easier to manage for smaller hands and a lighter build. i learned to measure lumber, account for extra inches, be specific. i realized that hours would pass and i would be so engrossed in the process i’d stop only because it was time to have dinner.

my confidence has strengthened over the years. now i relish a good building project. i feel happy when i am planning, cutting, building, creating something useful. shelves are always nice. you can’t have too many shelves as a farmer. i’d picture them here but they are not exactly the belles of the ball. function, not fashion is the mantra for most farm projects. but my latest construction has been to date my proudest. finished last weekend, the last boards cut, the last screws screwed. i built a bed! and not a janky outdoor bed made out of fallen trees i found in the dry creek-bed. no, a janky INDOOR bed made from pallets i collected from behind our local hardware store! except for this bed, i have to say, is arguably not as janky, because a) it actually holds our mattress and us up and b) it looks like something that sells at crate and barrel for a whole lot o’ money. and total cost for mine? about $60.

so yeah, i feel proud. and not just because i built a bed. but because i believed i could build a bed. i imagined something beautiful then i made what i imagined. there were moments i felt lame, ill-equipped, over my head. but i just gently reminded myself that i could do this. and i realized that any activity a guy could do while drinking multiple beers, a woman could also do. i just read that less than 2% of carpenters in our country are women. this isn’t because we don’t like the sound of power-tools (though sometimes i don’t), or lumber is too heavy for our tiny little lady arms. nope, from my own experience i can say that there’s just a lot of intimidation to overcome. combine that with a lack of female role-models and an educational system that doesn’t exactly steer girls into vocational specialties (farming and building alike) and you get very few women checking the carpenter box on the census.

so i am grateful for all the men and women who have taught me the skills i use in my vocation. the teachers who have taught me to tend to seeds and the teachers who have taught me to quiet the mind. the teachers who have taught me to use power-tools safely and those who have taught me basic grammar and syntax. and today i would like to especially thank the teachers who have encouraged me to build the things of the physical world as well as the things i think up in my dreams.

love, maisie


a typical day on the farm for julius.
a typical day on the farm for julius.

i have this distinct memory from years ago when my little sister was super little, maybe four or five. we were poking around in the woods, picking blackberries, and i was telling her about this thing called “backpacking.” how you get to go hike up beautiful peaks, into remote deserts, through ancient forests, and sleep under a million stars at night – all with just a pack on your back, with everything you’d ever need inside. she was like, “can i go backpacking with you?” and i was like, “for sure, you just have to get a little older and bigger so you can carry a pack.” and she was like, “someday i’m going to be big and carry a backpack.” and i was like, “yeah, it’s going to be awesome.”

now my sister is old enough. but instead of being old enough to backpack, she’s old enough to be a consumer. she’s old enough to get an i-phone and to stare at it and check it for messages about twenty times a minute. she’s old enough to have a solid grasp on the latest youtube videos gone viral. and she’s old enough to have eighteen years of advertising floating around in her brain. and this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill advertising we had growing up – commercial breaks and some lame magazines – this is 24-7, words and images to the side of every email, every web search, every freeway telling her to buy this, fix that (your body), and go here (or there) and you will be happy.

i must have somehow managed to retain enough memories from a childhood spent climbing trees and camping with my mom, exploring the redwoods and building forts by the creek, writing poems about stone’s and seagulls and baby squirrels (for reals, i just found them), that i can barely, and only just barely, resist the call of the cyber-lords. buying things just doesn’t make me happy. it certainly gives me a rush, especially if it is something i can really use (a hot water heater for example), or something that i think looks cute (on my butt). but its not a sustaining high like that of diving into the yuba river on a hot day after work. or baking a cake for a friend’s birthday and licking clean the entire bowl of chocolate frosting. or lazing in a hammock with my sweetheart and making each other laugh like little kids.

and i know that i am only speaking personally, because i currently live in a glorified fort in the woods, i am going camping this weekend, and i still write poems about baby animals. i obviously chose to keep my own particular type of happiness going. and i guess anyone could argue that tracking justin beiber on facebook makes them happy too. but it makes me sad. i guess that’s why i’m writing about this, because i feel concerned by how easily the internet makes me feel slightly unsettled. how easily it sucks me in with it’s youtube videos and how surprised i am to find myself still searching past a farmer’s decent bedtime. even with my upbringing being relatively nature-based, and even with the lifestyle of a rural farmer, i still struggle to just be happy with the elemental things of the world – the sun, the breeze, my feet in the dirt. or i can feel a moment of peace, but there is always the beep of the text to snap me back into a world that part of me craves and part of me resists. i am sad that with things getting more and more virtual and artificial, too many people, especially the younger ones, don’t have those memories to draw them back into what is essential and tactile.

i acknowledge the irony of my typing this on a computer. but it’s not exactly irony, because i’m not making a call to abolish technology or the internet. i love writing, and i love how i am growing up in an age where writing is so accessible, and where this thing i love – the discovery of what is sacred through the ordering of words – has become communal in new and broader ways.

but i’m scared of it too, and it feels healthy to be, especially on days like today when everything on the farm is just so freaking beautiful. the smell of sweet peas is in the air, the red winged blackbird is making it’s sound like water dropping in a bucket, and the swallowtail butterflies are fluttering around the sweet william. this is the kind of happiness i want. it’s not some intense superbowl wedding proposal, or beyoncés latest dress, or a video of an eagle picking up a child. it’s just a day on the farm. and i’m going to cherish it. and go backpacking. and come home at the end of the day and make dinner and smell the bouquet of sweet peas i made instead of opening up my computer just because it’s there. just like julius, who is my model for most things, i’m going to do the only thing that seems reasonable at a time like this: turn off the phone, unplug the computer, and take a nap in the salad mix.

the simple life
the simple life

love, maisie

July 7th, 2013

Today my laundry flaps in the breeze outside my window. In the corner of my yard the peach tree droops heavy with fruit. Julius lays under the trailer, paws and nose against the cool earth there, passing the heat of the day. I’ve just eaten lunch – fresh salad mix with roasted beets from the solar oven, lightly toasted walnuts from our friends at farmer’s market, a simple balsamic dressing with our own olive oil. I have a typewriter now, and I look longingly at it from my perch over the lit-up letters of the keyboard. Lately I have been charmed by the click and clack of this classic machine over the conventional hum and slightly eerie glow of the computer. But for all its enchanting qualities, widely disseminated newsletters and blog posts aren’t it’s forte, and so it silently sits, awaiting my next love letter instead.

There is a bouquet on my window-sill that I admire when I look up from my writing, Tassels of red grass bursting like fireworks from a mountain of bright orange calendula, spidery blue nigella, and yellow fading to burnt orange rudbeckia. Tomorrow night Willow and i will begin harvesting for the first flower pick up for our CSA members. Summer is undoubtedly here with the dahlias opening for the first time at misty meadows, the pincushion flowers bursting with light purples and dark maroon blooms, and even the first sunflowers unfurling their yellow petals. Only a few months ago we were unsure of this latest farm plan – to break from the familiar vegetable CSA and just grow flowers and salad mix. But yesterday, when we sent off a very happy father-of-the-bride with twenty over-flowing buckets of mixed flowers for his daughters wedding – we figured that it’s all going to work out just fine. And when i returned yet again from our saturday farmer’s market, having sold all of what we had brought, and then tallied, out of curiosity, how much salad mix we’ve sold thus far, I suddenly felt like maybe Willow and I can put an end, once and for all, to our occasional lapses into questioning if we’re proper farmers.

To date we’ve sold 561 pounds of salad mix. Add to that the estimated 80 pounds we’ve eaten amongst ourselves and friends thus far this season, and that means we’ve harvested upwards of 640 pounds of salad mix since April. That’d be a lot of miles to walk, or a lot of sheep to herd, or a lot of puppies to pet, but it’s certainly a lot of frilly, almost weightless leaves to pick, wash, spin-dry, and eat. I think this season’s going to be a good one.

I realized that the last time I wrote the tomatoes were dying, sweet peas were being planted, hearts were mending, and gratitude abounded. This is an overdue update. Today we’ve got five rows of tomatoes thanks to our friend’s at Hidden Villa Farm, trellised almost up to our heads; hearts that are becoming ever more clear, flexible, and open; sweet peas growing faster then we can pick them, and continued sense of gratitude that deepens with the passing of each day.

To the river, to the flowers, to leisurely sunday mornings, to the laughter of close friends, to santa rosa plums, to early morning harvests with Willow after she’s had coffee, to handsome dogs and to typewriters – I give thanks. And thank you for being a part of this farm in whatever capacity you are.


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