Declarations After Our Second Season

File_000 (7)Can you think of a time when you were living in the middle of conditions that were less than ideal? You might ask, “Why is this happening to me?” It can be very frustrating and somewhat depressing. Yet, here you are, you’ve pulled through! Do you now have insights that you might not have had if your situation were different?  

Less than ideal growing conditions that included the worst drought in over 80 years, as I’ve heard some report, led to a significantly low yielding apple crop. The contrast was further highlighted being that it immediately followed the super crop of 2015. Both extremes in just the two years of our tenure!

It takes being faced with what you don’t want, to know what you do want.  -Abraham Hicks

While a low yielding apple crop was being faced with what we don’t want, the contrast helped us define and declare what we do want:

We want to produce a lot of apples.

We want to utilize our whole crop in the most efficient way possible.

We want to expand our markets to include Common Ground Fair, a farmer’s market, and restaurants.

We want to add bees, berries, and other fruit trees to the orchard.

We want to include other value added products like fermented foods and drinks, juices/smoothies, and honey.

We want to thrive in harmony with the environment.

We want to thrive in harmony with our community.

Above all, we want to be happy!

(A little bit more about what I want particularly:  I want to create a retreat and wellness center at the orchard with a spiritual nature to it… I believe this will happen!)

While there were plenty of lessons learned as a result of our first season: Our First Year in Review, we believe it is important for us to continue to learn and grow. This is part of the process when you have insight and find value in the contrast.

Declare what you want, I’d love to hear!

Ali

Time to Make the Doughnuts!

file_000-5

If you are old enough to remember the commercial from the 80’s where the doughnut company’s employee wakes up early to make the doughnuts each morning, day after day. It’s like Groundhog’s Day where the same thing occurs over and over again. A merry-go-round of sorts. Can you relate?

Once my oldest started preschool, I began a daily drive to and from school. I would find myself saying, “Time to make the doughnuts!” every time my alarm sounded to remind me to pick up my kids. I would say it jokingly, but there was some truth behind the jest. When moving to Maine, our intention was to find a school we liked first and then a house nearby. It didn’t happen that way. We found our amazing old farmhouse and orchard first and then chose a school that now requires a 30 minute commute each way. A minimum of 2 hours each day, I am commuting to get my kids. It was difficult for some time, but I was committed to both choices and needed to find a way to come to peace with it all, for my own sanity.  

In searching for a solution, I realized that in order to be at peace with the choices I had made, I needed to find fulfillment in the mundane task of driving. With an adjustment in mindset, I now take pleasure in the hour I have with my boys (locked in a car with me!) where we have committed time to talk and go over life. I know they won’t be this young forever and it’s time I will no doubt miss in the future. And during the hour I have to myself, sometimes I just listen to my own thoughts or I enjoy listening to interviews, podcast, and radio that feeds my mind and soul.  It’s time I really look forward to now!   

Coming into Thanksgiving, it is a time for reflection as we give thanks for the blessings in our life.  I invite you to reflect – without judging yourself or others – on what situations, people, tasks, or other things that are not currently enjoyable and ways to shift your perspective that can actually make those situations more joyful.

Many blessings to you,

Ali

How Did I End Up Here? Trust.

IMG_0356How Did I End Up Here?  Trust.

The journey that led me to our apple orchard was a leap of faith and trust.  One that I resisted for many, many years.  I lived in New Jersey almost my whole life, up until recently.  The oldest of six children, there was an 11 year difference between myself and my youngest brother.  I made a conscious decision at 17 to go to college in my home state, only applying to two colleges.  I never even visited the colleges I applied to, I just knew I wanted to be close to home so as my little brothers and sisters grew up, we would know each other.  I always thought of New Jersey as my home.  I had no intention of moving.  I thought I’d buy a house, renovate it, buy a bigger house, have kids, then get an even bigger house, and so on.  After buying a starter home, renovating it, and selling it to move into a bigger one, I would spend four hours each week cleaning it spotless when there was only two of us living there.  Then… I had kids.  A statement I’m sure many of you can relate to!

My children have been one of the most profound changes in my life.  One I will no doubt have many more tales to write about.  The unexpected nature of my children, especially my first, threw everything I knew into a blender and mixed it all up until nothing I had known previously was recognizable.  My oldest started his schooling at a highly academic preschool and kindergarten, where it became obvious that it was not a good fit.  He would never be the student that could sit down and turn to page 47 and do his work quietly.  At the end of his kindergarten year, I was introduced, rather serendipitously, to the philosophy of The Free School.  I read everything I could about it and fell in love with the dual tenants of individual freedom and responsibility.  The year my children went to school there was actually more freeing for me.  It ushered me along the process of shedding my need for perfection and learning to trust; trust that everything will turn out okay.  It was at this point, that I was in a place where I was willing to seek change.  My husband and I put our house, located a busy highway, on the market where it miraculously sold in less than two weeks.  It was a sign that we were moving in a new direction that was just waiting for us.

Somehow I felt at ease with my decision, although leaving family, friends and an incredible job that offered me all the flexibility and security I could ever ask for, was not easy.  Now having sold our home and putting most everything we owned in storage, we bought a small tow-behind camper and pointed our compass north.  New England in general for me always had a quality about it I can only explain as the feeling that I could breath again.  Maine was where my husband most identified as home and so we started touring the state looking for that magic combination where we all felt a fit.  A school for our two boys was our first priority, one that placed more emphasis on learning from experience rather than test outcomes.  We thought, we’d find a school and then a home would follow, but when we looked at a school we liked, the area wasn’t resonating with us.  All the while, Bryan and I were dreaming up our wish list for a home: wide plank floors, lots of acreage, a big barn, an older home with character.  Then, when we were visiting a school, within a few minutes of meeting the science teacher she asked us, “You don’t want to live on a 26-acre organic apple orchard with an old farmhouse, do you?”  My eyes lit up!  It sounded perfect.  Bryan had kept an organic garden for fun, not nearly the experience you’d need to run a 700+ tree orchard organically, but it ignited an underlying passion that started us on our journey at the orchard.  The whole process has been a leap of faith and trust.  It’s a beautiful reminder that we can put out to the universe what we want and then let go and just trust that everything will happen as it should.  If it’s not exactly what we wanted, it serves as a lesson just waiting for us to discover.

Blessings to you as you discover your own personal path and trust in it.

Ali 🙂  

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Tess Johnson of Tess J Photography 

  

Lessons From My Father

IMG_0394Father’s Day has come and gone, but a father’s love remains. Year after year, no matter how far the distance, be it time or space, a father’s love transcends and transforms. So many people truly adore their fathers, and I am one of them. My father is my teacher in this life. Though I didn’t always appreciate it, as I work to develop a business of my own, I am reminded of how truly forward thinking he is. He’s progressive, always with goals, ever changing and evolving goals that shift and grow as he does. He visualizes his goals, embodies them, and then lets the cards fall where they may. There’s that trust element that so many of us forget when we work to manifest our heart’s desires. Having that trust is so magical because I can see in him that he doesn’t stress! He is super successful, which may appear to an outsider that he’s just lucky. And really, he is, but his luck is of his own accord. It’s not because he was born into privilege or handed success on a silver plate. He simply believes he will be successful; in his mind, in his being, and in his actions. His energy is magnetic, uplifting, and contagious.

I look to his life as an example of how I want to be. Working and enjoying life at the same time. Even the mundane, he makes fun. He always encouraged me in my writing, once suggesting I attend law school which I knew wasn’t my passion, but encouraged my confidence in writing nonetheless. I never thought anything would come of my writing, more of a diary style of prose than anything else, but I have now started my own blog that will relate to my passions of food (mostly chocolate and desserts!), family, spirituality, and our newly evolving business, Eden Acres Family Farm. Thank you for joining me on my journey. I look forward to your comments and connecting with you.

XOXO
Ali 🙂