A bunch of raspberries.
Photo Provided by Becky Nelson
NEWPORT- The transition of seasons is always a helter-skelter rush to get things done at the farm. We are still picking fall raspberries but need to start pruning them before winter. We are still picking sweet corn but need to continue to cut cornstalks for fall decorating. We are still picking pumpkins but need to finish to plant cover crops. We are still picking beans and squash but need to prepare the fields for winter. We are considering making a second cut of hay, but there just isn’t time. We need to pick apples for cider but need also to leave enough on the trees for pick-your-own customers. The great balance of work to be done for both seasons, no matter which transition, is always pressured, time crunched and exhausting. Someday I might figure it out and be better at planning, but it certainly isn’t today. Today is blind panic as usual. I had a particularly busy week with personal and family matters taking top priority for most of the week. This led to a couple of days of nose to the grindstone long days at farm work. The toll it has taken is not insignificant on my tired old body, and I’m realizing that taking a couple of servings off my plate just might be a good plan. They say you can’t see the forest for the trees, sometimes, and I might just be there. Planning for the future is difficult in a small business. Any of you now reading this, whether a professional in an individual ownership or a partner in a small endeavor know the struggle. Throw in family dynamics in a family-owned enterprise, and you have a whole new twist on the challenges. One of the very busy days this week, I was fighting daylight as I finished up picking raspberries. The sun was dipping into a spot where I was mostly in shadow, but the light hit a bunch of perfect berries just right and stopped me right in my tracks. It was very quiet. Not even much bird noise and the weather conditions were just right so I didn’t even hear much traffic noise on the nearby roadway. I hadn’t even noticed any planes flying over, and I had been deep in thoughts of family, aging, man’s cruelty to fellow man, farm work, hurricanes, wars all over the world, plans for some remodeling at the house, hope for a few days off, money, bills, work to be done…you name it, and it had been swirling in my head. The sight of that beautiful bunch of berries jolted me back to the important reality that I am truly blessed. I own a piece of the most beautiful corners of the world. The colors are changing, and the true colors of the trees are peeking through as they lose their summer cloak of green. I have berries and vegetables to pick as rains have come at a perfect time and relieved the drought of summer. I have a loving and wonderful family that holds together and holds each individual close when hard times strike. I have good health and am able to keep up with hard work with little trouble. I have good friends and a caring community that has the best interest of others at its very core. Life is good, and I need to appreciate it and not let the worries and the struggles overtake my thoughts. I need to let my true colors, like those of the tree leaves shine on through. No blind panic today. I plan to focus on the good stuff and take things day by day, minute by minute and remember that I am here, and I am blessed. I have a finger on the button for my own future and no one else controls it. I can choose to make this a good day and handle whatever might pop up to disrupt. I can choose the road to the right or the road to the left, but I have a choice. I can whisper some hope in my own ear and shout some hope and encouragement to those around me. My plate may be fuller than I wish, but I am strong enough to scrape some excess off to the side if I wish. I realize that I am truly the master of my own universe, and I hope you can perform some introspection, see that little sight like my raspberry image and find the same in yourself. And remember…one thing at a time. One step at a time. Be cautious but be bold. Becky Nelson is owner of Beaver Pond Farm in Newport, eighth generation in a multi-generational farm that was established in 1780. She can be reached at email@example.com.