When asked to contribute a guest post for McKenzie while she navigates the madness of wedding planning, I was happy to help. I love this little blog so dearly, plus: I know well the preparation and craziness that comes along with a wedding – no matter how small you try to keep it. Five months ago, Jesse and I eloped in an effort to avoid the chaos. AND SOMEHOW STILL there was an enormous amount of work to be done and details to consider.
Farming is an elemental part of Jesse and my relationship….as it is on a farm where we met, where we fell in love, and where we continue to exist as husband and wife. Last year, we were interns working on a farm in southern Kentucky called Bugtussle. Best name ever, I know. And, quicker than I would have believed one could possibly fall in love, we were. Working together daily, seeing one another at our worst and best, made for a funny but thorough courtship. We figured if our relationship could not only survive but flourish under these conditions––living in a barn, no electricity or running water, toiling in the fields all day chasing down sheep and pigs while trying to maintain a new relationship––then it was probably the real deal. At the end of the season, we said our sad goodbyes to the farm and the family and children and cows. While picking some vegetables for the drive home, Jesse proposed to me right there in the garden. A couple months later we were married, and a couple months after that…we were starting our own farm: Rough Draft Farmstead.
Like the name says, it is definitely a rough draft. Living the simple life is a lot harder than it sounds! We have already faced some unexpected bumps and roadblocks. But we just keep working, just keep looking forward. We visit blogs, like this one, and we stay inspired. We dream of our own land, our own chickens, our own Bill Murray. And we have each other. We have dirty, scuffed wedding rings. We have crazy suntans and mud-stained knees. We are working hard, every day, to start this life together. We are trying to live sustainably, and to sustain each other. Each day brings new excitements and challenges, new joys and sorrows. Each day we like to watch our farm grow and our relationship follow suit. We still see each other at our best and at our worst, and we cherish this as an opportunity to get to know each other better. We still know it won’t always be easy. There will be weeds to fight off, droughts, floods, pests. There will be fights, struggles, disagreements. But the more we work together, the more we're learning about how to deal with them, prevent and survive them. The farm is not only our analogy. It has become a tangible example of our relationship, our partnership. It is something we work on together, joyfully and honestly, in an effort to achieve sustainability. And this is what we wish most for McKenzie and Jamie!
Sustainability, in work and in love.
“It is possible to imagine marriage as a grievous, joyous human bond, endlessly renewable and renewing, again and again rejoining memory and passion and hope.”
– Wendell Berry