Thank you!

UPDATE! After 15 WONDERFUL years of operating our commercial vegetable farm and CSA, we are taking a sabbatical. At least for 2021 we are not growing commercially, and we will see what 2022 and beyond hold for us! Thank you to all of our amazing CSA members, former market customers, and local restaurants for your support and all the good times up to now.

In the meantime, we are keeping busy with other new and continuing projects. You can follow Casey in his role as Yamhill County Commissioner on Facebook and his run for Oregon Governor at KullaForOregon.com. Katie is working on writing and illustrating and can be found at KatieKulla.com and on Instagram: @katiekulla.

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
Oakhill Organics

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A 2021 update!

2021’s new adventures included a two-night paddle camping trip on the Willamette!

Hello friends & former CSA customers! We hope that this newsletter finds you doing well. It’s been almost a year since our last CSA pick-up in 2020. As we close up another, much smaller and more personal, growing season, I wanted to reach out with an update on how we’ve been spending our first year off from commercial farming in 15 years — think of this as one final CSA newsletter!

We’ve been eating well from our over-sized “family garden” all year.

First of all, in 2021 we have continued to grow food for ourselves and maintain our property. There was much deferred clean-up work to be done after so many seasons of year-round growing, and we’ve been tackling those projects bit by bit. We’ve been calling this year our “sabbatical” year as really the future of our plans here is wide open, and commercial farming could likely play a role again someday! But in the meantime, we’ve enjoyed having the space to pursue other things. One thing has been simply making time for summer activities as a family (including multiple epic paddle adventures!). But also Casey and I have been pursuing new kinds of work. Such as …

I (Katie) have been writing! And illustrating! (As well as continuing to parent and homeschool!) I’ve been regularly publishing articles in one of our favorite farming journals, Growing for Market, as well as in a newer (and free!) online literary journal called Farmer-ish and a print magazine Geez. I also have two stories forthcoming in the delightful gardening digest GreenPrints and am working on a book proposal about balancing farming and parenting. They say to write what you know! But for this one, I’m also reaching out to farmers around the world to gather more insight and solutions than just our own.

You can see more of what I’m up to (and find links to some of my recent articles) at my brand-new website: www.KatieKulla.com. You can also follow me on Instagram at @katiekulla, where I post periodic little stories about the farm and the kids. (They’re both doing GREAT by the way, growing by leaps and bounds.)

Casey has kept more than busy with continuing to serve as Yamhill County Commissioner during these tumultuous times of COVID and climate change. In addition, Casey’s Very Big News Indeed is that he has filed to run for Oregon Governor in 2022. This is a big step, but Casey feels called to run now because of the urgency of Oregon’s challenges. You can learn more about his position statements on the issues facing Oregonian’s at his campaign website: KullaForOregon.com.

If you’re wondering how you can help support this next step for Casey and Oregon, we invite you to make a donation THIS WEEK. Even a small one ($10!) would be a critical step in showing that Casey has the support needed to run a statewide campaign — numbers of people matter as much as dollars right now! Casey has some big supporters and donors who want to see the campaign receive more support THIS WEEK. So, if you can make a small donation NOW (or invite a friend or two to do so), you can help write the next chapter of Oregon’s story.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that 2021 brought us two new loving kittens: meet Hercules and Pumpkin.

Can I also just say how much we miss you ALL???? While it has felt necessary to make room on our plates for all these new projects, we still miss the weekly visits with each and every one of you. Our relationships with you were gifts that we cherish and we hope that as pandemic living begins to ease, we will be able to pick up some of those threads again before too long.

With gratitude and hope,

Katie & Casey Kulla
Your forever farmers (in our hearts!)

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Winter Holiday Harvest list

Friends! Below you’ll find the list and order form for our upcoming 2020 Winter Holiday Harvest.

Please place your orders by this Wednesday evening.

We will harvest for you and bring your packed bags to the downtown storefront for you to pick up on Friday, December 18 3-5 pm.

The price is $3/item. We can take cash or check at the time of pick-up, or you can calculate your total ahead of time and pay with a credit card or PayPal here: PayPal.me/OakhillOrganics.

We look forward to our final opportunity to hand you vegetables from our downtown storefront! The last fifteen years have been an amazing season in our life. Thank you all.

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

Place your order:

Place your order by Sunday evening for pick up on Tuesday 3-5. Price is $3/item. We can take cash or check at time of pick-up or payment online ahead of time.
Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest 2020

Friends! Below you’ll find the list and order form for our upcoming 2020 Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest.

Please place your orders by this Sunday evening.

We will harvest for you and bring your packed bags to the downtown storefront for you to pick up on Tuesday, November 3-5 pm.

The price is $3/item. We can take cash or check at the time of pick-up, or you can calculate your total ahead of time and pay with a credit card or PayPal here: PayPal.me/OakhillOrganics.

Also, thank you to everyone for their words of encouragement and appreciation as we move onto new life adventures. I don’t think we can say “thank you” enough for the gifts we’ve received over the last 15 years.

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

Place your order:

Place your order by Sunday evening for pick up on Tuesday 3-5. Price is $3/item. We can take cash or check at time of pick-up or payment online ahead of time.
Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

End of an era

Found in the forest this weekend: golden fall sunlight shining through golden fall leaves

This last week’s election marked the end of an era that was hard for many in our country (hoorah!), but today’s newsletter focus is more personal. This week is the final week of our 2020 CSA season, and it is also the final week of our CSA, period.

After fifteen wonderful, life-giving, challenging, growth-filled seasons of operating our farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program, we are moving on.

I intentionally didn’t write “we are ready to move on,” because I’m not entirely sure that would be true. While we’ve been pondering the possibility of this decision for two years, we still don’t feel entirely ‘ready’ to be done with a positive project that has defined our life for the bulk of our adulthood. The CSA has connected us to our community, sustained our family, and fed us spiritually and physically.

If we only focused on what the CSA has been to us, I’m not sure we’d ever be ‘ready’ to be done. But as we both enter mid-life, we have been realizing more and more that a good life can (and probably should) have more than one Big Adventure, more than one Defining Story or Experience. Operating a CSA is a fulfilling — and very consuming — endeavor, and over the last 15 years, there have been a lot of other projects and pursuits put on the back-burner for ‘someday’ because our full, busy CSA-farm life didn’t have room.

Also, as cliché as this has become in explanations for moving on from big responsibilities, Casey and I both want to spend more time with our family, with each other and with our children. Balancing Casey’s role as County Commissioner with our two main farm endeavors (CSA and micro-scale cannabis) and homeschooling the kids fills our ‘to do’ lists way beyond what is sustainable. This year especially we’ve become keenly aware that we have no real ‘weekends’ (as we usually do a lot of farming work then), and what free time we carve out to do fun things often feels like it ends up cutting into work that should be done on the farm or elsewhere.

Our children are 8 and 10 now, and these are such golden years of their childhood when they still want to spend time with us — and because of the pandemic, we their parents have become their primary companions too. We want to carve out more space in our life for leisurely days together, multi-night river camping trips, mountain bike rides, backpacking, working on crafts together, playing board games, and more. We already do some of these things, but always with a sense of being rushed. Can we live without that feeling of being rushed through each experience? Maybe that’s an impossible goal, but we want to give it a try by having less on our plates. We’re ready for a different pace of life.

To be clear, we still plan to farm! We will continue to grow a large garden for ourselves (and are genuinely giddy about the idea of planning our own garden full of things we love best — and lots of flowers), and Casey and Rusty are already making plans for further experimental crops (organic hazelnuts are something they’d like to try!). But we need to step back from this particular farming venture to make room for all these other potential future adventures.

There are other piddly, analytic, business-y reasons why this timing feels reasonable (I’m not sure it will ever feel ‘right’), but I’m not sure they’re significant or interesting enough to others to list out here. But suffice to say, over the last two years, Casey and I have definitely hashed this decision out over and over again.

We were 25 and 26 when we put our first seeds into the ground — so young. Operating this CSA has fundamentally shaped who we are and has grown us into adults. I wish I could write a dozen more newsletters wrapping up these years of our life, but then I realize that I’ve already written 613 CSA newsletters over the course of these fifteen seasons. The growth is well documented, to say the least!

In fact, one of the projects that I have put on the back-burner all this time is figuring out what in all those essays is worth pulling out for something that some people would call a ‘book.’ Word-count wise, I’ve written many books, but of course a book isn’t just a bunch of words. I look forward to having time to search for the cohesion and the message of these last fifteen years plus more (and honestly it’s also daunting and scary to give myself space to write and edit more!). And, as you know, Casey is already two years into his next big adventure as Yamhill County Commissioner, which is a project that certainly meets Casey’s inner needs for constant challenge paired with positive action in the world!

What more is there to say? So much. But it will have to find new outlets as this era is coming to a close.

But, of course, as always, the most important thing to close with is: THANK YOU. I mean, I think if all else fails, those are the words that are always in my heart — for you, for this land, for our wider community, for life. These last fifteen years of farm adventures and delicious food and fun parties (including the constant party at pick-up) have all been possible because of you. We’ve had a blast, and it has been our honor to feed you and your families.

With endless gratitude, we hope you enjoy this week’s final batch of CSA vegetables.

Forever your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. We are still planning on hosting our two Holiday Harvests! Dates below …

  • Final CSA pick-up ~ Thursday, Nov. 12 (place orders by Tuesday as usual) <– that’s this week!
  • Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest ~ Tuesday, Nov. 24, 3-5 pm (place orders by Sunday evening before)
  • Winter Holiday Harvest ~ Friday, Dec. 18, 3-5 pm (place orders by Wednesday evening before)

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

Place your order:

Please select the vegetable items you'd like to receive this week, to total to your share size. If you order 2 (or 3) of something, it counts as 2 (or 3) items. Some items are limited, as marked.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Intentions & actions

We posted this sign almost four years ago. It’s a little worn from the years, but it’s still an important reminder that these values ARE patriotic.

Hi friends. Here we are, on Election Night Eve. How do you feel? I’m all over the place myself, trying not to get bogged down in looking for answers on the internet or in the media that just don’t exist there yet. It’s a good time to keep busy with household obligations and simple manual work. The waiting is hard.

But, this isn’t just a waiting game. This election season has been an opportunity for all of us to become engaged. It is clear now that people across the country have woken up and realized that democracy is something that needs to be actively maintained, election by election — by all of us. I am inspired by the millions of people who are voting early, many of them for the very first time.

We turned in our ballots early on, so on a practical level, our work is done (we also donated money as we could to local and national candidates). But this weekend, some friends and I also gathered to consider what our hopes are for this election — beyond the names we hope to see win, what do we want to achieve?

Some of the things we named were: safety on election day for all; truth and facts being shared in the media; leaders who understand the gravity of their responsibilities and work hard to find the best solutions for everyone; resilience for our country and communities. I do think that certain candidates will help us achieve these goals, but it was also a good reminder that the values are ultimately more important than the individuals. We can vote for individuals in each election cycle who we think best represent those values, but we need to remember our Big Picture goals.

There will be many, many people who make big personal sacrifices to help our communities continue moving toward health and wellness and security and peace. We may remember some names and others will get lost amidst the histories of so many communities, each with its own stories and dramas. I know personally how hard it is to run for office and serve. It is not an easy path, and there are many imperfect but absolutely well-intentioned people who put themselves out in the public to offer themselves as leaders who will take on the massive responsibility of elected office. THANK YOU to everyone who has run for office this year.

As we wait together, I hold you in my heart. Community, I love you all. I want you to thrive. I cast my ballot for all of YOU.

My ballot is cast. Is yours?

It’s a big week. Remember to fortify yourself with sleep and nourishing food. To that end, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. People have begun asking about 2021 … honestly, it’s been hard for us to even begin planning while we wait for this election. We will have news in next week’s newsletter, which will be the final one of 2020! This is our second-to-last CSA pick-up this week.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

Place your order:

Please select the vegetable items you'd like to receive this week, to total to your share size. If you order 2 (or 3) of something, it counts as 2 (or 3) items. Some items are limited, as marked.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Fall’s firsts

The changing landscape: golden leaves, giving way to bare branches

Two big seasonal firsts this week here on the farm: the first frost of the cold season, which has been followed by several more. Which means that we are officially done with the extended summer offerings! Along with the frosts came weather than seemed to plunge us forward several weeks, from that crisp late summer glow into some truly frigid, gray days. Fall is really here!

And, so thus came our second “first” — the building and lighting of the first fire in our house’s wood stove. Even though that first fire marks the end of easy, warm days (and the start of daily work of splitting and hauling wood), we are always so excited to see our home transformed into a deeply cozy space. Since our cat Nelson’s passing, we’ve invited farm cat Mokum to come back inside again occasionally. And so, the five of us snuggled up in front of the fire, soaking in the inner warmth of the cold season.

The third “first” was a result of the growing darkness. On clear nights in the winter, our family likes to take sleeping bags outside and lie and look at the stars. It’s a special winter treat because in the summer it’s light too late for the kids’ bedtimes (and the sky is often less clear because of summer dust, smog, and smoke). Casey and the kids went out for their first sky-gazing session last week while I did Zoom-choir.

These three returns to the cold season all felt so festive and welcome. January and February can be rough seasons, when the cold and the gray has lost all appeal. But this time of year, it feels fresh and restful after a summer full of very full days, heat, and lots of activity. I’ve been spending more time curled up with a book again (recent faves were Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor and The Great Believers: a novel by Rebecca Makkai). This weekend we read spooky stories around an outdoor campfire, something I’m so excited the kids are actually ready and excited for now (it feels like one of those milestones that should be in a Baby Book … first steps, first words, first listening to scary stories around a campfire).

As we go into this next level of fall, I am trying to keep my focus on all these things we can still do to be present in this phase of our life in this season. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s an important things for me to remember as I look at the calendar and see blanks where in previous years we would have gone trick-or-treating with friends or attended big family gatherings. We will still find meaningful versions of these seasonal markers, some of them with family (we are bubbled with my parents, which is a continual blessing) or at a distance with friends (Zoom games! Phone calls! the occasional outdoor visit!).

I hope that you too have found some small or big seasonal delights amidst this rapidly changing season and landscape. Enjoy this week’s [very autumnal!] vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Dates for your calendar

  • Final CSA pick-up ~ Thursday, Nov. 12 (place orders by Tuesday as usual)
  • Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest ~ Tuesday, Nov. 24, 3-5 pm (place orders by Sunday evening before)
  • Winter Holiday Harvest ~ Friday, Dec. 18, 3-5 pm (place orders by Wednesday evening before)

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

Place your order:

Please select the vegetable items you'd like to receive this week, to total to your share size. If you order 2 (or 3) of something, it counts as 2 (or 3) items. Some items are limited, as marked.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

At the precipice

The red-winged blackbirds have been loving the seeds in these sunflowers. And, I’ve been loving listening to their songs!

Friends, we are in the midst of an annual seasonal shift — the shift from the warm and light half of the year to the cold and dark half. We stand at the edge, and each day can bring us a taste of both seasons: cool, misty mornings followed by vibrant bright golden afternoons followed by gusty and rainy nights.

This is the time of year when many cultural traditions say that the “veil” between the living and the dead grows thin, as the boundary between these two halves of the year is blurred in our daily experience. Perhaps in no other time of the year are we so conscious of our own mortality as well as the continued promise of life, now lying dormant in mature seeds waiting in the ground for spring.

Here on our farm, Casey and I are wrapping up the final harvests of the year and harrowing in fields to plant to cover crops. We are finishing one season and looking back — assessing this year’s garden success. But we are also already looking forward, as we use that knowledge to begin planning and dreaming about next year’s plantings. Seed catalogs will start arriving in the mail soon, and we will begin making lists and considering potential new varieties. We stand on that precipice of past and future. We stand at the shift from what has been to what will be.

We are also in the midst of voting season here in the United States, something I meditated on with friends and community members this weekend around the theme of “shift.” During an election year, there is the same profound sense of dual hard contemplation on what has been and hopeful dreaming about what could be.

We live in a country that is continually striving to live up to its own vision of fully engaged citizenry in self-governance. As United States’ citizens and residents, we do have a voice — in our ability to engage politically in the process through assembling, voicing our dreams, running for office, and of course through voting.

Ballots have been mailed here in Oregon, and many reading this newsletter have probably already voted (Casey and I have!!!!). I know that even in the self-selecting group of people in our CSA, we represent diverse viewpoints on the world. We likely do not agree on every choice on our ballots this year, and that is an integral part of democracy. Ideally, through our engagement in these processes, we can forge a path that shifts our community and country toward choices benefiting all.

So, today as we stand at this precipice together, I invite you to open yourself to the process of being engaged and to the dreaming and working. This ongoing work is something that transcends any singular political campaign or election. Think of yourself as one of many gardeners looking at your fall fields, honestly assessing the successes and failures of the waning season and beginning to dream about how you can dig in your spade and plant the seeds for the next. Remember that we are part of this system, affecting it and also affected by it, working within the limitations of nature and working from the hopes of humanity.

Much like gardening, the work of civic engagement is never done. Every year we will have the opportunity to engage in the shift — to work for the shift, to be shifted, to be the shift.

Let’s dig in … time to vote!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Looking ahead … we’re almost to the end of the CSA season! We have only three more pick-ups after this one. Our final pick-up will be on Thursday, November 12.

We will also have two Holiday Harvests this fall. These are opportunities that will feel much like the weekly pick-up, where you order ahead of time for some extra food for your holiday meals or to stock your pantry. A la carte members can use remaining credit. Other folks will pay for their orders at pick-up. We’ll send out the order list ahead of time, but so that you can play, here are the pick-up dates for your calendar:

  • Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest ~ Tuesday, Nov. 24, 3-5 pm (place orders by Sunday evening before)
  • Winter Holiday Harvest ~ Friday, Dec. 18, 3-5 pm (place orders by Wednesday evening before)

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables: Yummy fall foods!!!!!

Place your order:

Please select the vegetable items you'd like to receive this week, to total to your share size. If you order 2 (or 3) of something, it counts as 2 (or 3) items. Some items are limited, as marked.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Ways of remembering

Chicories heading up for late fall salad — a sign of this season!

Years ago I worked with a woman who kept what she called a “tickler file.” For those of you who don’t know, this is a record-keeping system that is intended to trigger time or calendar-based reminders of what you need to do and when. I think there are fancier ways to do this, but my memory is that she simply kept a file for each month, and she’d keep important documents and notes related to what she knew she’d need to pay attention to in those months. That way, as she approached those seasons, she could be sure she was remembering the work she needed to be doing.

I thought this was a pretty neat system, and I’m a person who loves planning and organizing (I even wrote a newsletter last year about how I think our son has inherited this love and applied it to his planning of Dungeons & Dragons games). When we first started the farm, I imagined that we’d slowly build up lots of notebooks and files and records of our seasonal happenings, much like my former co-worker.

It hasn’t happened.

At least, not in the way I imagined at all. Instead of building a lot of paper or computer files with that information, Casey and I have found that we store the lists inside us. Well, in a combination of inside ourselves but also everywhere around us on the farm.

You see, unlike in an administrative setting, where the work might have some relation to the calendar but few external reminders, our work is led by the natural world itself. Field walks are our “tickler file,” as we observe the turnings and are reminded of what the next step is for us. For example, seeing mature winter squash in a field with senescing leaves is a clear marker that it’s time to harvest squash for storage. We do keep ongoing notebooks for building our to do lists, so that item gets written down for the upcoming week.

Between our stored experience and these markers in the natural world, we’ve built quite the multi-dimensional inner map of time and space. If that sounds far-out, that’s intentional.

A few years ago, I read two books almost simultaneously that together profoundly changed the way I understand how we as humans interact with the world: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World by David Abram and Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. I should say that neither of these books on its own was life-changing for me, but the combined conclusions were revelatory. Both talked from different angles and purposes about how humans have an incredibly strong ability to retain information related to place and journeys and stories. Abrams uses this angle to talk about indigenous spiritual ways of knowing and story-telling, and Foer uses it for the more prosaic purpose of memorizing large volumes of random facts for memory contests (by building a so-called ‘memory palace’ in his head).

Human memory is rarely valued or used intentionally in a highly literature society with information carried in our pockets. But their books have heightened my awareness of my own natural ability to remember things extremely well based on place and time. Every mushroom-hunter and forager will appreciate the ease with which a good patch is remembered — it is almost effortless compared to some tasks we ask ourselves to do in this modern technological world.

Long ago, before things like foraging and farming were part of my experience, I pictured hunters and gatherers randomly roaming landscapes, hoping to find food. My understanding is more sophisticated now, as I’ve come to understand that most peoples probably had individual or shared mental maps of what foods were available where and when. Elephants have this skill as well, and the oldest matriarch elephants are especially important because they often even retain information about food patches and water sources only needed in the driest years — the kind of extremes that might only happen twice in a lifetime. But those elephants will remember, decades later, where their family found water when they were young. In those conditions, that kind of inner mapping knowledge is priceless to an elephant or human alike.

Many years ago in Casey and my own life, we spent our first week ever gardening or farming at our friends Jeff and Josette’s homestead in Chelan. It was a truly awesome immersion into what it means to really know a place, and I remember being so impressed at how Jeff would launch into stories inspired by seemingly random features in the landscape. For example, Jeff told us that a burnt log that didn’t even catch my attention as we went on a walk was hit by lightning just at the moment that his wife Josette passed the placenta after the birth of their daughter. I looked at this log and was truly blown away. That was an important story — a remarkable story about the timing of two natural events in their life — and Jeff carried the story in his person, easily triggered by the sight of the otherwise dull log. I knew then that I wanted to have that kind of relationship with a place, where it’s small details would be woven into the fabric of my own life stories, ready to come to the surface on an afternoon walk through familiar places.

In Abrams’s book he talks at length about the stories told by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and how those stories were directly connected to the vast landscapes they would walk over the course of a year and its seasons. Much like the elephants, water and food could become scarce in certain years and seasons, and those stories would weave life-saving knowledge for the community with the spiritual stories of generations. These stories were passed over hundreds and hundreds of years, as there is evidence that the indigenous Australian people have one of the oldest intact cultures in the world.

Abrams, and others, have mourned the loss of the landscapes and the connections to the land of indigenous peoples around the world. As modern western humans who employ paper and writing and computers to store our most important stories and information, it is hard to begin to comprehend the critical role landscapes played in memory for our ancestors. Our written stories are portable, and we modern humans easily migrate, bringing our stories with us. But for people who find their stories in rocks and trees and rivers, the losses of those places is more than just a loss of resources (as we might see it) — it can be a disconnection from a different kind of history, from the past, from ancestors.

Casey and my time on our farm and the land around it is so insignificant compared to what indigenous peoples might have experienced here. For example, before it was destroyed by dams, Celilo Falls here in Oregon was one of the world’s longest continuously inhabited places. What stories were tied to that place for the people whose ancestors had developed the system of fishing there over centuries? Who had known the vibrant back-and-forth of the trading routes that came through the area seeking the rich protein source of the salmon?

Nonetheless, we’ve had a taste of that experience. We’ve built our own stories and inner maps, almost effortless, just by living here, working here, paying attention. In many ways, our maps and seasonal reminders are more prosaic and practical, like Foer’s use of the memory palace or my co-worker’s tickler files. We recognize when it’s time to harvest each variety of apple by the changing in the skin texture and memories from year’s past. We recognize when it’s time to sow the last of the fall greens, and so on. But we have the deeper knowledge too that serves only us — the stories of our family’s life here. We know where our cat is buried and where our children played in mud puddles when they were little and where we found a beaver dying in our orchard. Those places and the stories are part of us now.

Depending on the calendar you look at, today is either Columbus Day — a federal holiday to remember the first European man to document sailing to the Americas — or Indigenous Peoples Day — a day to remember the people who lived here before that man came and to recognize the unimaginable losses resulting from colonization.

There is so much that we modern Western humans, immersed in our own way of being, can’t understand. There are things that our language literally can’t articulate because we don’t have the words or syntax. This is especially true when it comes to language of place and the natural world, which in English (and many modern European languages) almost always turns non-humans into objects in our grammatical syntax. Much understanding has been lost, and its loss affects the way we see everything.

I have only had such a small taste of other ways of knowing and being. I wish I could know more, wish that I could connect to my pre-literate ancestors or to the people who lived here before me. Today, I want to honor those deep ways of knowing, that understanding that truly exceeds our modern limits. We move so fast as a global society. We use resources quickly; we drive fast; we make decisions as speedily as possible. What if we paused? What if we listened to the quieter voices? What if we paid attention to the sentient, living world around us? What could we learn? How might we live more fully?

Quiet attention feels scarce right now, even in my own intentional life. Thank you to everyone who offered kind sympathetic words after last week’s newsletter — it’s good to know I’m not alone in feeling frustrated and tired in this intense year. If I were to give myself (and you) a prescription for the week, it would be to s l o w  d o w n, pay attention … and VOTE! Ballots are coming out soon here in Oregon. This is one thing we can do.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

Place your order:

Please select the vegetable items you'd like to receive this week, to total to your share size. If you order 2 (or 3) of something, it counts as 2 (or 3) items. Some items are limited, as marked.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Just another tiring day …

Our sweet peppers have been abundant and delicious this fall!

Well, it was just another tiring day in 2020 today. A day of getting up at 4:30 am because our oldest woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep, which has been a trend lately (anxiety? food allergies? something else? These parents will certainly investigate!). A day of homeschooling and zooming and resting to bypass a potential migraine and worrying that the kids aren’t getting enough physical movement with so many activities canceled. A day of trying to email through the brain fog of anxiety and lack of sleep. A day of finding myself horrified by what I see in the news.

Whether I want to or not, COVID-19 certainly does seem to dominate my life these days — even out here in our otherwise happy and healthy home. And, yes, it does scare me to think of the potential continued effects on my life, let alone potentially to the health of my loved ones.

I generally try to keep this newsletter vague in its politics, although my post-2016 election newsletter certainly laid it all bare. But I’m finding it increasingly challenging to think about much else as we are now only a month away from 2020’s Election Day. So much hangs in the balance.

Furthermore, I’m so tired of feeling like my life is not my own. I am a big believer that we should all be engaged citizens and stay aware. But I also want to give my OWN life the majority of my attention every day. Every little life is unique — filled with its own characters, dramas, stories, triumphs, losses, and landscapes. But it feels as though all of our individual experiences are eclipsed right now by the Major Dramas of the shared American experience. The pandemic is certainly a main culprit in stripping us all down to a very similar shared bare-bones experience of zoom and masks and limited contact with our loved ones (and also one that highlights the inequities in our system even as it creates sameness in our daily limitations).

I accepted from early on that this pandemic would be a long haul. But now that we’re six months in, it’s really sinking in that this will be a major chunk of our kids’ childhood. And I can’t help feeling deeply sad about that. They are growing and changing so quickly and their world is such a small place for them to practice new skills and learn. And, I’m just one of millions and millions of parents who are exhausted by trying to be EVERYTHING to our kids. My first priority is simply to stay alive for them through this pandemic, but then the many other responsibilities pile up. I need to get them outside moving more. I need to make sure they connect with friends. I need to ponder whether our child might have some food allergies affecting his sleep (or help him with anxiety). I need to help them stay growing in academics and music and social skills … even as homeschoolers, as our world becomes smaller, the burden has grown.

And, of course, this election season is also a rip-roaring one that feels like it has forced us all to pay attention to a bloody train accident. Friends, I don’t like watching bloody train accidents. I also feel my exhaustion deepen when I don’t feel like my exhaustion is even understood or recognized by our leaders. When I don’t hear them acknowledging the extremely real ways that this pandemic is affecting people — parents and non-parents alike. When they don’t mourn the loss of life, the loss of milestone celebrations, the loss of jobs, the loss of security, the loss of relationships … I don’t hear the gravity that matches my own experience.

That’s really all I have to say today. Yes, the sun is a golden glow, and the food is delicious, and it is all a balm. But it doesn’t take away the pervasive feeling of distraction and worry and sadness that color my days. I’m ready for my experience to be truly seen and heard by the people who are in the highest levels of leadership so that we can start making real progress toward getting through this Very Hard Experience. I will vote for the candidates who I hear are hearing me … hearing all of us.

I want to know that my neighbors’ who have lost jobs will have their needs met and not lose their homes. I want to know that teachers have the resources they need to help education children in this new reality. I want our highest leaders to appreciate how tired we all are. Tired of the bloody train wrecks and the divisiveness and the warping of this shared tragedy into political theater.

COVID and the resulting necessary changes in our world does dominate my life. And it’s exhausting and scary, and I’m tired. Are you tired too?

And, yes, enjoy this week’s vegetables too …

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

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