Between Relationships

I think my best and most thoughtful work on the farm is in achieving a daily balance of health and contentment between all the souls who live on and orbit around the farmy.   Keeping the motion swinging. Allowing all the souls their space while keeping them safe. But allowing them the freedom to grow. Developing the relationships between animals and the earth and the people. The harmony.  And harmony takes work  as you know.


I have discovered an interesting series of stages of connections between myself and any guests who stay longer than a week or so. Hugo is one of these guests. Amanda was another. Fede.  People like this come knowing they are going to be here for a long time and this opens up great avenues of double sided learning.

When they first come they know they have time to discover their place in the farm. They do bits of this and that for a week or maybe 10 days – they get to know the dogs, then the smaller animals and particularly the birds, then they begin to get busy in the kitchen. I have always found the kitchen to be the first real connection between the people on the farm. Often that first connection comes when we are doing the dishes. Then after about a week or so (with encouragement) they begin to cook for everyone – then and most importantly they bring out their music. poppy looking in

Now, it is relatively safe to wash and dry dishes and chat in the kitchen, it is a little scarier to cook for a group of people  you are getting to know but there is something very good and deep and vulnerable and primitive  and terrifying about sharing your taste in music. Your favourite songs, your favourite artists. Your favourite sound. Playing your music for a person you are getting to know is like showing them a little of your soul. So much hurt can come showing a little of your soul and so much hurt can come from denying a soul its music.   And souls are so fragile. Souls need care.

And once trust has begun then comes The Swing.  After we have shared our work, and our food and our music. After we have hummed each others melodies while sharing chores in the kitchen, before putting on our gumboots and going out to work on the farm, sharing disasters, sunsets,  frights and laughs, after all this The Swing begins to develop. The rhythm happens. Oh, this is a wonderful moment. Do you know this one?   A bucket is lifted and passed without words, a gate is opened, you step through and he closes it behind you both.  The truck is loaded, the doors slam and you are away with no need for English, or Spanish, or French. An eyebrow lifted means: Guess how many eggs.  A hand on a door means: I am ready. The catch of an eye means something entirely different and only you two know what. rooster

These relationships (and after all EVERYTHING ON EARTH is about relationships) are nurtured and cultivated and learned. Every one is different. And every one is of paramount importance. And a very few will be lifelong.  Such a gift is a lifelong friend. But each one brings learning and emotional nutrition and a certain peace.

And this is wonderful.

I remember someone saying to me, in reference to a mutual friend, that “he has a heart so big people keep stepping all over it”  Everyone has that heart. Everyone has a heart that can be stepped on, dreams that can be squashed, music that can be denied. As people of the earth, and wild women to boot, we must be careful to nurture anothers dreams.

Josh has left and he was the last of the short term working guests for this summer. Hugo will be staying another couple of months, his family will visit and the families of my friends will visit but I have closed The Kitchens for new Woofers until next spring. And there are so many people already booking to come back next summer that we are assured of an exciting year.  I do love these summers full of  summer people.

wide view

I gave Hugo my phone to go take a picture of the sunset, he had run in to tell me about, and here it is. Interesting that he chose the panoramic, wide view. I think he loves the open spaces.

I hope you all have a lovely day,

your friend on the farm



35 Comments on “Between Relationships

  1. I love that term ‘the swing’, and I know just what you mean. It’s something that happens only with physical labour I think, that harmonising of hand and foot and implement, falling into rhythm. The farmy has changed so much since you started bringing in helpers. It used to be just you and the earth and the animals, and now as you say, it’s animals earth and the people. So wonderful to see the farmy maturing into this.

    • I agree, it happens with physical labor. In the restaurant/catering world we call it The Dance. 🙂

      • I am living with a woman who is legally blind. Her totally blind fiance is here from time to time. The kitchen is narrow and the three of us pass each other with consistency. I tell them that I’m from a big family and that we know how to dance (around each other). It’s universal, ya know. Lots of love, Gayle

  2. Lovely! Just lovely. Human bonding and friendship beautifully detailed. I read this in my kitchen far away from yours but looking out on my garden, crammed with noisy starlings on the feeders. I’d just been thinking about family and old friends far away and then read this. Very lovely and very moving. All the best to you and the community of the farm for now and future seasons.

  3. I love that moment in a relationship when you put your hand out for a tool, or pen, or spoon – or hand – and the exact thing you want is put into it, with not a word spoken, simply because you are both in perfect harmony. Your visitors all go home changed forever by their time with you: the creatures, you, the Farmy, all leave their mark. One day, I would love to come and be changed too.

  4. I agree completely about how vulnerable revealing our music can be. Music is visceral, and no matter how many “music appreciation” classes we take, our hearts want what they want. Appreciating the absurdly difficult fingerings in a Liszt piece doesn’t mean it becomes the beat of my heart. I am cautious when sharing the music I love. Taste in music is so intensely personal.

  5. Harmony could be the buzz word for the Farmy – the most unlikely partnerships are formed there – eg Boo and a just-hatched duckling – and you Celie are the heart of each relationship. Long may this little miracle continue.
    ViV xox

  6. What a flood of emotion this opened up for me this morning. I looked at the date at the top after reading your words. I don’t know why I did that… I lose track of the DAY of the week many times, let alone remember what date it is! I was just going to reread the post and there was the date. This was my Grandma Scott’s birthday. She’s been gone nearly two decades. There is a story of a loving person who despite having her heart crushed one time after another, never understanding why people did that to each other, rose above it in gentleness and fortitude. I did not realize until I read this post, how much I admired that woman for putting her vulnerable self out there for people time and again. I think this is the real beauty of the Farmy and the Fellowship. It feels like a safe place to reveal our tender or even bruised or battered souls. No matter what the exterior of ourselves exudes, beneath it all is that heart that desires nurturing. Maybe that is why we all feel so good here at thekitchensgarden. It is where I get that “emotional nutrition” you talk about! 🙂

  7. The universal language of swing and rhythm. Special when it can be recognized. No new workers coming? Must be that autumn is really near! Summer flew by.

  8. Lovely post this morning. A down to earth illustration of the give and take that accompanies learning about ourselves and others.

  9. Harmony – such a lovely word! My friend tells me she loves to come to my place as I have Dogs, cats, chickens and wild birds that all get along with each other! Well yes they do most of the time. There is the odd moment when cats disagree, one of the chickens turns on a dog – but I always say ‘Be Nice’ and they understand that kind of behavour is not allowed in our piece of the world. In my secret garden we all help each other, all are there for each other. Not too many people in our garden, but the animals and birds still know that working together brings peace and harmony. And yes they have been know to ‘swing’ along with me too!

  10. The boss and his hens… Yeah. Beautiful shots. I very much like this deepish red of the cockscomb. But it brings back yesterday’s post. The boss is always male. Nature wants it. Hm. So crazy.
    Thank you for your lovely thoughts on music, on sharing each other’s music, on relationship and beyond. To top it with your “everyone has that heart…”. Lovely. So sensitive.
    I like Hugo’s horizon sunset shot. The Farmy’s calm and stillness along with the upcoming evening.

  11. I like that term, the Swing. I noticed it last night with the catering staff I work with on weekends. I have it with a couple, and do not with others, and noticed both its presence and absence but had no word for it.

  12. Hugo’s panorama photo feels marvelously in the moment, like I could step into it and feel the last rays of warmth… before heading into the kitchen to chop some dinner or onto the verandah for a glass of wine… there goes my imagination! Sharing music and food & drink is a timeless way of making ourselves at home. I recognize The Swing. It happens when we are comfortable, if not familiar, with others. It’s wonderful the Farmy offers its residents of all kinds, temporary and permanent, community, creativity and double sided learning and the opportunity to develop those memorable friendships, lifelong or long enough.

  13. It is a wonderful thing. I love it when John or I mention something out of hand and the other exclaims ‘I was just thinking that!.

  14. You make us already look forward to your summer to come and your former ‘visitors’ to return. That would hardly happen if they had not found harmony and been utterly comfortable with The Swing they found on the farmy. Love Hugo’s wide lens photo. Had I been there would have probably remembered the sunset in exactly the same way . . . glad that his parents plan to visit . . .

  15. Celi oh Celi oh Celi. It is these moments in time that fill my heart with happiness. To unexpectedly read the words that are written on my soul. And always, always Celi I read the words. Then write the words. And always, always with tears of thankfulness that these words, oh these amazing, wonderful words of understanding you fling out into the universe will never be lost. For once read and remembered they are never forgotten.

  16. I like Hugo’s sunset view. Each person is different and sees things through their very own eyes. What a wonderful program you have created, making the world a better place for so many. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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