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February Greens and Our Inner Selves

Notifications are an everyday occurrence. For many of us, our phones are taking care of, and sometimes taking over, many of our daily notifications. Instead of a dog bark to signal a visitor at our door, Nest or Ring sends us a push right to our phones. Some of us even have timed notifications to remind us to drink water, possibly doubting our own body’s signals for the need for some more H2O, or just too busy to pay attention to them.

Some notifications are helpful. Some are little interesting tidbits of information. Others require immediate action to avoid looming consequences, like a check engine light in a car, notifying me that action needs to be taken very soon or there will be consequences. There is some silent signal in my body that turns on every February.

Green. Plants. Now. [GPN]

For me, this [GPN] notification is hinting at my body’s last battery percentage before succumbing permanently to S.A.D. I then scramble in any way possible to find some green juice to last me until June. A vacation abroad, a trip to the jungle building at the zoo, a walk through the greenhouses at the botanical garden, and at least a week of consuming too many fresh veggies that I’m fully aware are not in season and have been shipped halfway across the globe.

Maybe this signal is written into my DNA, passing down the line of farmers and gardeners in my family. February is usually when they are pouring through the pages of seed magazines, putting in their orders, plotting the layouts, and timelines of this new season’s harvest. I don’t have any other reason to explain why I, a now-Brooklynite with no backyard or deck, am deep into reading Kristin Kimball’s new memoir Good Husbandry and carefully studying each page of Epic Tomatoes. Fantasizing that I could afford Essex Farm’s CSA on a teacher’s salary (I REALLY tried one year), or have a farm of my own. At least a garden. Sorry houseplants, but you’re not cutting it in February.

So here I am in my favorite Bushwick bar, my body screaming [GPN]!, noshing on arugula, beets, mushrooms, and potato hash... reminiscing about my childhood farm experiences while reading Kristin’s book.

In the beginning of Good Husbandry, Kristin writes about her relationship and the work required to put in to the farm, and reflects on how the outer farm aspects reveal our inner workings.

She writes, “All farms reveal your inner self whether you like it or not. Your daily choices shape the soil, fields, buildings, and fence lines, sketch the plants and animals in your own soul’s likeness. Your values are visible in the way a farm looks. Your ambitions, strengths, and weaknesses are there for everyone to see. The farm we made was a physical manifestation of who we were, together.”

This resonated with me on multiple planes.

We could compare this farm analogy to so many parts of our own lives, even if it isn’t on a farm. Our clothing choices, outward appearance (hair, tattoos, makeup, etc.), our homes, our backpacks...

So with this thought in mind, I took time to really look around my classroom today. What do the aesthetics and functioning pieces of my classroom say about my inner self? Am I projecting what I genuinely WANT to value? What is in place that shows my real impact and not just my intentions?

Here are a few things I took note of and am reflecting on what they reveal about my inner self:

• most materials are within kid reach.

• some charts are student-made, but even if there are student-made, I veered them in the direction of what content they should have. Most charts are made by me, in advance (not during) the lesson.

• there are lots of pictures of the kids hanging around

• the spaces are organized that are in kid-reach, with my own system of organization. The areas that are only for me (closets, bookshelf behind my curtain) are not organized.

• the essential oil vaporizer is always running

• there are lots of choices for seating (sofa, bean bags, stools, wiggle chairs, kick-band chairs, carpet)

What does your farm, home, classroom, wardrobe, reveal about your inner self?

Today's Pairing: Memoir

Good Husbandry by: Kristin Kimball

This memoir is Kristin's second book about her life on Essex Farm in New York. Not just a memoir about farming, but a memoir about relationships, motherhood, and life. I'm only halfway through right now, but have already tagged many parts that resonated with me on different levels that I will be journaling and writing about. I appreciate it even more because I tried my hardest to fulfill a year with their year-round full diet CSA, and found the entire experience to be transformational.


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