The 3rd Annual Seed and Plant Exchange was yesterday and it was very special indeed. These are some snapshots of the event.
As we prepared for this event, I remembered the words and wisdom of the Keeper of the Mayan Calendar whom I heard speak last summer. He noted that in these times, we need to do 3 things: have a blessing of the seeds as we begin to plant, keep seed banks, and hold seed and plant exchanges. He also told us to be sure to involve the children. Perhaps, not by coincidence, 6 of the 7 bean seeds that he gave me came up in the garden today.
During the days leading up to the event, we were busy planting, weeding, cleaning. The Farm was a whirlwind of activity. Gardening Angels Emily and Noah appeared these last 2 weeks. Among the countless things they have done, perhaps their most courageous was to spearhead cleaning the garage. Yikes. That was Friday. Our Homestead Community spent Monday making 6 Aldo Leopold benches, removing trees, weeding, potting up plants. I must not forget that Hollis, Hollis Dale, and Dave came to till and
plant the Sorghum Cane on Tuesday. While they were twirling about on their tractors, Whitley started decorating the cement pad with
sidewalk chalk; pond, rose, water, rainbow, sun were right there to
greet anyone who might arrive. Hollis Dale, Lurah, and MaLinda came to help with mowing, weeding, potting up plants. Dave came from Iowa City each of the last 2 weekends. This weekend Isabel came too. He and Melanie planted upwards of 75 trees and shrubs in the corner of the land that will become her own. Isabel used sidewalk chalk to brighten the cement pad in front of the house. My head spins thinking about all of it.
The day of the Seed and Plant Exchange arrived. Ahead of the event, it seemed like an every day ordinary day here on the Farm, but we had this air of "expectancy". At 12:30, the 1st two arrived. And as the clock struck "1" somewhere in town, we had this burst of arrivals coming down the drive. All told, we had about 70 people. While the number and variety of plants may have been slightly less, the sense of community and enjoyed time together was just amazing. It was simply beautiful.
Some of the participants from the past could not make it and we all regretted that. That's the way it goes. We saw many familiar and new faces. Cindy and Steve came down from Lancaster. It was great to have them on the Farm. Children helped carry plants in with wheel barrows, cart, and wagon. Their exuberance was just beautiful. They just kept coming down the drive with more loads. The loads were as wide as their smiles.
We got to bear witness to the growing of the children, the settling in of the homesteaders, and the arrival of more. Oakley has just turned 1 and, out of the corner of my eye, I noted that he was walking on his dad's hand. Abby is driving. I just love it when I see blankets on the lawn and children playing. Memories abound. Bikes were parked along the garage. That old Schwin is mine. It didn't arrive down the drive on this day, but rather migrated from the garage to clear a little space. I really do need to be riding this more.
When almost all the people and the plants had arrived, Matt and Sarah and who knows who else organized plants into categories. Melanie and I shared some announcements and then folks headed back into the garage to pick out the plants that they would be taking home. Adults and children were picking out plants. Six year old Elzi asked me about the Lantern Plant, of which I know nothing. She looked at me and said, "I shall plant one in the shade and one in the sun." I just smiled.
In the meantime, music wafted out from the gathering place under the willows. People didn't seem to be in any particularly hurry to leave. We had great conversations. I took some on tours of our new kitchen. Other just walked about among the gardens and lawn. It was a time to share time and space with old friends and with new.
Time to close down just naturally arrived. People waited for the signal and pitched in as we took it down and restored a bit of the previous order. Amanda announced that if anyone was going back by wagon, the horses were just about to leave. Some jumped on to ride just part of the way. Melanie and Dave rode back to pick up the signs.
Soon, the Farm was quiet again. Sheri and Matt stayed to the end. As per usual, they were the 1st to arrive and the last to leave. As their car headed back down the lane, we smiled. Mission accomplished. These last few weeks have been intense with various things. I think it will settle a bit now. We shall wait and see.