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Heidi and Evan

Posted 3/14/2019 10:33am by David Zemelsky.

There are two people that I want you to meet (on paper).  Their names are Heidi and Evan.  Along with their 12 year son, Huckle, they live in a very small straw bale house in East Ryegate,VT.  This house, which includes the most amazing post and beam frame, sits on the edge of a big forest that they  harvested for both the frame and every single board.  Heidi and Evan work harder than most people- a lot harder.  And if you look closely at the details of their house, you'll get a sense of who they really are.  I'm going to spend a few paragraphs talking about what happened in their lives and by the end, hope that you see the connection to pretty much everything in the world, and especially farming. 

Ty and I met Evan first while our daughter Rye was enrolled in an outdoor leadership program  that Evan was on the faculty of.  Later, 10 summers ago, we spent a weekend visiting Rye while she was working with them on the straw bale addition to their house.  That's when we met Heidi and Huckle.  It was a great weekend, with a lot of great food, amazing company, good work and some homemade music , too.  I should mention at this point, that their house is off the grid, meaning they don't have electricity brought in by the VT power company.  This posed no problem to us that weekend, as we had lived many years in VT without imported electricity.

Anyway, life went on in its usual manner for both of us.  Rye stayed in loose contact with them, and we heard about their progress thru her.  One day, Evan wrote Rye and informed her that the barn that they'd been working on for the past 5 years had burned down and tragically, someone was sleeping there at the time and had died in the blaze.  This barn was very close to their home and would have also caught fire if it wasn't for the amazing efforts of the volunteer fire department.  All members of the family were safe however, and so was the house.  Needless to say, they were all traumatized by this horrific event.

What happened after this is yet another example of the resilience that lies within all of us.  A friend of the family convinced them to immediately rebuild.  A GOFUNDME site to help with the building cost also materialized seemingly out of nowhere. Contributions came pouring in. Neighbors , friends, strangers from near and far (that would be me) brought in food and other essentials.  New barn plans were drawn up.  A demolition and clean up of the barn pursued.  Newly harvested lumber was cut and a sawyer started making boards and studs for the future barn.

Since construction began, neither Heidi or Evan have taken more than one partial day off.  Now, they are also busy getting their farm ready for a Spring launch.  Trays of starts are all over their house. Their hoop houses are poised for a huge spurt of growth once they have time to water everything.  I should also mention at this point, its not an animal barn, its more like a nursery for their starts, a shop and other farm activities.

My, wanting to be part of something bigger than myself mode, kicked in at one point, so I've been their twice to help.  My carpentry skills are intermediate at best, but still every board cut, every nail hammered in-that brings them closer to a finished barn.  The two weekends that I spent there were rewarding and exhausting.  Its the two of them and how they faced this huge obstacle that hit me the most.  Although, they look young to me, they aren't youngsters.  Their health springs directly from a healthy lifestyle-one that encompasses hard physical labor, active outdoor recreation and great food from their farm.  But that's not all.  And this next point is my main reason for writing about them in the first place.  They face life with enthusiasm, with problem solving skills close at hand and most importantly with a great sense of collaboration.  Collaboration between the two of them and all the many people who have come to their side to help solve this problem.  I respect this skill.  And even more to the point, recommend that all of us look around at our own lifestyles and try to notice-are we working with the flow or against it?  When we meet with people in our day to day life, are we prepared for confrontation or collaboration?  Heidi and Evan- I send you my gratitude for allowing me to participate on this journey of yours.  And I send you my very best wishes.

If you wish to follow their journey further, go to their facebook page https://m.facebook.com/smallaxefarm/

Star Light this week:  As always, put your orders into us by 8AM Friday.  Your order will be waiting for you in the shed after 2PM on Friday.  Payment goes in the payment jar.  No change, so bring exact amount.  If its warm, it might (no, not might-it will) be muddy.  Remember, if you come after dark, bring some kind of a light.  Another thing, if you order-please do remember that you ordered.   I know that getting food from us involves a tad more than going to Stop N Shop, but it is also true that its worth the extra effort because the quality of the produce is so good.

Here's what we'll be offering.  By the way, radishes are coming in 2 weeks or less!

Northfordy Tomato Sauce- $10/jar.  Sweetly memorable sauce

Joel and Jen's Pickles- crisp,spicy(a little) and extremely pleasing $6/jar

Potatoes-French Fingerlings $5/lb OR $6/for 2lbs.  Such a deal.  10/lbs for $25.  Share with your neighbors

Spinach-  $6/for 6oz. bag OR $10 for 2bags

Salad Greens- now with red lettuce in addition or claytonia, kale,$6/bag

Braising Greens- $6/bag

Claytonia- $6/bag

CSA memberships are still available for you.  This, as I've said many times before is your best venue for organically grown local food at the best price. Go to  starlightgardensct.com for more details.

Have a great week full of positive collaborations and experiences with everyone you meet!