Fava Beans + Mama Thoughts

img_20170304_135717_405Over our cold weekend I got a row of fava beans planted.  Half are Broad Windsor and half are Extra Precoce a Grano Violetto, both of which happen to be heirlooms.  They’re tolerant of the cold so they’re a good choice for us northern growers.  For others who are finishing up their winter, it might be nice to see that some of us are already getting seeds in the soil.  I have a sandy patch where a shed used to be, and the clear soil has been nice for random root and legume crops here and there.  Last fall it was radishes, turnips, and carrots.  Now it’s favas.  It was so good to get out and breathe that crisp air, even if I thought my fingers and toes were going to fall off in the process!

I’m taking a break from all the gardening talk to write about motherhood.  I should preface this with the fact that March is school musical season, and as my husband is a music teacher, he doesn’t have any free days or nights or weekends until March 27th.  Needless to say I have a lot of free time to think (read: talk to myself).

Today, our baby girl is four months old.  Someday I’ll write on here about my birth experience and the first two months of her life, as we didn’t have the easiest time and I think other new moms might feel better knowing they’re not alone when it doesn’t go as perfectly as they had hoped.  But today, seeing how she’s grown, I’m just looking forward.

It’s amazing to see babies develop their personalities.  She’s such a social little creature and loves to watch people have conversations, try to communicate back and forth, and smile.  She’s been able to roll from tummy to back for a while now, but when we play on her mat she has recently started to do bridge and downward-facing dog, and it makes me want to get back into yoga so we can share that with each other as she gets older.  I never could have imagined the love I have for her.  The hardest thing for me right now is not having family nearby.  It’s been especially hard that my mom is far away.  Although I love playing and reading and singing with her all day, I’ve got a bad case of cabin fever and it can get a little bit lonesome.  I know the warm weather will make a difference.  The prospect of setting her next to me on the grass while I tend to our garden makes me itch for spring and summer.  The teacher in me is just dying to help her explore and appreciate nature.

She will be starting solids in about two months.  I’m admittedly way too hyped to make her baby food.  Thinking about it and planning it has given me a new perspective about farming and homesteading.  As parents we feel such responsibility to provide the very best in life for our children, and as food is such a central part of our lives here, we feel inspired to provide her with the best and most natural foods from the start.  So to be able to grow many of her early foods (peas, carrots, broccoli, beets, kohlrabi) right here in our soil is incredible.  Even those vegetables and fruits that won’t be ready yet on our property (sweet potato, potato, apple, pear) are at the weekly market right now because they’re storage crops, which means I can plan ahead and fill the freezer with purees for her.  By June our strawberries will be ready to harvest, and I can’t wait to see her taste them for the first time.  And when she’s ready for animal products, we’ll offer her full-fat Jersey cow yogurt and cheese from our local dairy as well as grass-fed lamb and beef from rotational grazing farms.  Lately I’ve been reading books about natural baby food and I’m getting so excited for that stage.  (Don’t worry; I’m loving this stage, too!)

Is this extreme?  Probably, but it’s such a big part of our livelihood and our values that I can’t imagine doing it any other way.  I hope she loves growing up here as much as we love raising her here.

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