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Thoughts of Thanksgiving and Transitions

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2018 December Issue Newsletter

By Sharon Gensler

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and there is much to be thankful for here at Wild Browse Farm.  The larder is full, the cordwood stacked, the garden tucked in, and we are cozily sitting here watching snow fall.  Last week was a bit of a whirlwind finalizing the last minute preparations before our first snow of the season.  We moved the chickens from their summer pasture to their winter quarters. We harvested the last of our carrots and took down all of the electro-mesh fencing before the ground froze.  We then hauled and spread aged wood chips onto the carrot bed and the asparagus beds, as well as several other beds where the mulch was thinner than I like.  And, as the first flakes fell, we finished reinstalling the plastic covering on our small hoop-house.

Luckily, we had some help accomplishing these tasks.  Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed a decrease in both my energy level and stamina. After 3 to 4 hours of work, I’d have to rest and sometimes even take the next day off.  Nature and gardening have taught me that life is full of transitions, so attributing this slow down to my getting older made sense.  However, ageing may not be the whole story.

During this time of seasonal garden transitions, I want to share some more personal thoughts concerning what is happening in my life. 

HomesteadMy new primary care practitioner recently noticed that I have, a previously undiagnosed, heart murmur that needs immediate attention.  The good news is that she heard the murmur and tests indicated that it is repairable.  And being a “good” homesteader, I am thrilled that I can repair rather than replace the faulty valve in this trusty tool.

I’ve done a lot of research and have decided to proceed with open-heart surgery at the beginning of December.  The thought of this surgery is much scarier than the fact, as heart surgeons are very experienced and the procedure has become “commonplace”.  Be that as it may, it is not commonplace for me!  At this point, with surgery 3 weeks away, I am feeling calm and positive and hope to remain so.

However, this event has helped me put some things in my life into a clearer perspective.

Besides trying to get things buttoned up before the snow, we’ve also been making sure to have some quality non-work time.  We are taking leisurely walks, made a trip to the ocean, visiting more with friends and fitting in more cuddle time.

It is also a time to review necessary documents to make sure they are up to date:  my will, healthcare proxy, power of attorney, and living will.  Plus, we are having more discussions about life in general, homestead transition and how to fully live our remaining time here on this spectacular planet.

Yes, we want to continue “living (and loving) the good life”, growing amazing food, living simply, working in community, and caring for the earth.  I plan to continue with my Healthy Garden Healthy Soils presentations.  We also want to do more travel/camping, spending time with distant family and friends. 

In previous newsletter articles, I’ve mentioned that we have been seeking a homestead caretaker(s) &/or someone interested in starting a farm transition process with us.  We have been hoping that the right person would be drawn to Wild Browse at the right time.  We still feel that this is the case.  However, now I feel a bit more urgency and am trusting that this will happen soon.  Because you are reading this homesteading article, you may be, or know, that right person.  If so, get in touch.   Hopefully, I’ll have plenty of time, while recuperating, to answer your questions.

Wishing a Happy and Peaceful December to all of you.  And may the New Year bring much Joy, Love and Health.  In addition, I know that I’m looking forward to the renewed vigor and vitality, which my repaired heart valve will bring back to my life.  

For more general information about Wild Browse Farm go to our (outdated and unbelievably full of unwanted advertisements) website:

And for more specific details about transition, check out the NOFA/Mass classifieds:


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