Sure this is a couple weeks behind, but, we’ve needed the time to think.
First, the year in review:
- January: Within days of being fired, Maureen suffered 3rd degree burns from a grease fire in the kitchen. Nick spent most nights living in his car to reduce commuting expenses. The future looked uncertain for Tumble Farm. Oh yeah, the farm is in a drought as well.
- February: Maureen is hired in Gainesville. Nick is working two jobs rarely making it home in the evenings. But, traction is building, and Nick pursues a 9-5 office job.
- March: We had a wonderful WWOOF intern, Caitlin, who revitalized our hope for the farm. It is also around this time we start to connect with our tiny house resident Mark (mostly around campfires). But, simultaneously, tensions rose around an impending trip out west.
- April: With the first weeks spent in South Dakota, Nick hits a low point, depressed by family issues, and torn apart by financial stress of the trip. But, upon returning to Florida, Nick was offered a dream job.
- May: Weeks into the job, Nick is laid off due to a bureaucratic technicality. Somehow relieved, he feels guided to concentrate on Tumble Farm full time. Maureen has settled into her new job.
- June: The drought has broke and Mark has bought a bus. Things are happening.
- July: A deluge of rain persisted. But, we managed to enjoy some of the nicer days swimming in rivers and springs.
- August: Fatigued by the rain, Mark encourages us to begin The Garden Cottage project. We feel hopeful. Nick spends most days putting up hay with the neighbors. Maureen buys Bonnie the milk calf from Five Hammocks Farm.
- September: The cottage is taking longer than expected, the detail work is tedious and persistent. But, we continue to receive support from Mark and other guests.
- October: We begin building The Bathhouse. Maureen’s birthday coincides with a music festival at Deep Spring Farm. All is well.
- November: Nick lands another dream job developing curriculum from home. We meet our market manager Kaila and we prepare to make big strides in January.
- December: A rhythm has established itself. One year after the layoff and the fire. We have found a decent work/life balance on and off the farm. We don’t wake up every morning fearful of an overdraft or disaster.
So, there’s the year in review. We didn’t refer to any notes. We wanted that to fit on one page.
What a rollercoaster. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Truly. And the wheels seem intent on continuing to spin faster and faster. The first week of the year we were joined by 5 more tiny house residents. And our lodging accommodations tripled thanks to a partnership with Tryittiny.com.
Today, we tabled at a farmers market for the first time. Nick is in the process of buying South Dakota farm ground in partnership with one of his middle school friends. The farm is green lush today when last year it was brown and dusty.
If you came by, it might not look like much is happening. Most days you’ll just see animals munching on a bale and spanish moss blowing in the breeze.
But, if you look a little closer. You’ll see so much more:
- Mark is finishing his bus conversion.
- Arash is refurbishing his siding.
- Adrian and Vanessa are raising two children connected with nature.
- Our guests are typically visiting the springs.
- When she’s not at market, Kaila’s helping 3 other farms.
- If Maureen’s not tending to horses, she’s probably doing some graphic design.
- And Nick is fumbling from project to project, so often just cleaning things, or changing tires, or fixing fence
It’s easy to see a simple farmstead. A handful of animals, a couple of tiny houses, and 10 acres of mostly dormant pasture. And, it could be said that that’s part of the magic here. No matter how much hustle and bustle there is in the hearts and minds of Tumble Farm’s residents, the farm itself is placid. The grass is vibrantly green, the breeze is sweet and consistent, and the sun is radiating. The majority of this space is not just a pleasant blend of wild and domestic plants and animals… this place is a reminder. To be calm. To slow down. Despite all the chaos of the world and the inner turmoil you mind might want to stir up, there can be peace.