A decade. We’ve been here at the farm for a decade.
Ten years sounds like a lot. But it feels short to me. In the life of this property, 10 years is a blink.
When we came to the farm, we were told that the previous two or three owners had each lasted only a few years. I hoped that we would break that streak. Now I hope that someday the farm may become Ellie’s and generations of our family will be able to live here and be part of this special place.
Be part of.
In living at the farm, I’ve become conscious that it’s not really ours. The land is its own. We care for it. Tend it. Enjoy it. Use it. Benefit from it. But it is its own being that has a life far beyond us.
A friend gave me a book for Christmas, Braiding Sweetgrass, that discusses an Indigenous philosophy of land and nature. The author advocates for a “reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.”
Since moving to the farm, my attitude a lot of the time has been that nature knows what she’s doing and works best without interference. A reciprocal relationship isn’t quite that. Reciprocity means tending the land so that it will tend to us. Sweetgrass thrives when it’s harvested–moderately, carefully and considerately.
I’ve always been conscious of the long history and future of the farm and wanted to do my best to honour that. Now I’m considering that honouring means being a bit more active. Cutting back brush and vines that are infiltrating the forests. Somehow clearing some of the phragmites from the pond and re-establishing cattails. Learning more about regenerative agriculture and working with our farmer to try some new (old) things.
Ten years at the farm is special. In part, 10 years feels short because living here still feels so novel. Each year, the impact this property has on me increases. And my desire to care for it–and ensure it cares for Ellie and those who may live here in the future–grows too.