Willa Cultivates Musings of Spring

Spring rototilling with vintage Troy-Bilt

We come and go, but the land is always here. And the people who love it and understand it are the people who own it—for a little while. — Willa Cather, O Pioneers!

Lately I’ve been on a Willa Cather kick. I just finished reading O Pioneers! and yesterday as we tilled our garden, this quote came to mind. Oh, I know we hardly compare to the vastness of her Nebraskan plains but as I watched the soil turn under our trusty Troy-Bilt, I contemplated the care we’d given this ground during its season of rest. Or recuperation, as Willa says.

(Willa. Such a pretty name. That’s why I’m into her work…and because she writes about Swedish farmers:-)

Back in November, as I dumped load after load of chicken manure onto the gray, leaden earth (more Willa prose), I remember thinking how even though we don’t garden in winter—literally, that is—we are still working the land. We continue to nurture it and prepare it for another season.

And now, here it’s spring and we’re tilling the garden. Goodness, that came fast!

Jefferson County, Wis., Plat Book 1899

Jefferson County, Wis., Plat Book 1899

Last week we had our neighbor over dinner. He came with a bottle of tasty wine and a Jefferson County Plat Book, dated 1899. Isn’t the typography beautiful? Such ornate craftsmanship even for something so utilitarian as a plat book!

Jefferson County, Wis., Plat Book 1899

We spent several hours scanning its brittle pages. It’s fascinating to note the family names that once owned our neighborhood farms, many of them now listed on gravestones in a cemetery up the road.

We come and go, as Willa says, but the land is always here. I feel very blessed to be the one who loves it now. And I’m sooo excited about the upcoming gardening season!

 

Soil Sisters Celebrates Wisconsin’s Women-Owned Farms

Soil Sisters: July 31-Aug. 2, 2015 in Wisconsin

It’s Foodie Friday and what better way to rouse those tastebuds than to mark your calendar for an upcoming event. A food and farm event! It’s Soil Sisters, a celebration of Wisconsin’s family farms and rural life. Interestingly, these are women-owned farms.

Earlier this year, John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, owners of Inn Serendipity, asked me to design a series of ads for Soil Sisters. Having toured Soil Sister farms a few years back, I was more than thrilled. And talk about organized…within days of contacting me, John and Lisa emailed an advertising plan complete with project goals, target market and creative brief. I love when clients are so business saaavvvvy!

Here’s our first ad, which will be running in the May, June and July issues of the Willy Street Cooperative Reader. For this piece we used farm and food photography graciously provided by Sarah Anna Hansen. Because the creative brief lists words like “romantic,” “nostalgic” and “Norman Rockwellian” for its tone, I softened the photos gently to compliment the orange, green and purple that Soil Sisters uses in its branding.

So check it out. Come this summer, Soil Sisters is offering three days of food, farms and fun, all set in the rolling hillsides of southern Wisconsin. It’ll be great!

Wednesday Webs: Ag Day 2015

Ewe with baby lamb

I used to raise Corriedale sheep and at this time of year I really get to missing them. I miss being a farmer, albeit a pretend one, and I miss the nurturing coo a mama ewe gurgles over her new lamb.

Now, ten years into self-employment, let’s say I’m a farmer of a different kind—one of design and words. For farmers. This is fun too. Especially because I come across so many interesting people and places.

Here on the web:

Happy Ag Day! Thanks to our farmers!

 

Want to Work with Farmers? Want to BE a Farmer?

tomato seedlings under a light

One of my unique selling points (USP) is that I love promoting my clients. Long after their project is done and filed away, I keep up with them and their latest news. It’s easy because I have such awesome clients!

With that thought, and because I planted my seedlings yesterday (here’s a picture from last year), let me pass along news from one of my recent copywriting clients, the Wisconsin Local Food Network. This dedicated organization works hard to connect good food farmers with good food consumers.

Wisconsin Summer Job Opportunities

  • Farmers Market Coordinator (3 positions)

    Seeking qualified and motivated individuals to manage operations in the upcoming 2015 season. Salary is $14.11/hr, for approximately 180 hours per season, typically May through October. Each market’s part-time, temporary coordinator position will be up to 8-10 hours per week. Some evening and weekend hours may be included.

    The application deadline is 5:00 p.m., Friday, February 27, 2015.

    A full job description for each coordinator position with duties and qualifications is available upon request. Please reference the contact information provided below. To apply, send a resume and brief cover letter to same.
    ⋅ Ferryville Farmers Market: Sherry Quamme, 920-210-4560
    ⋅ Gays Mills Farmers Market: Sharon Murphy, 608-624-3409
    ⋅ Prairie Street Farmers Market: Michael Douglass, 608-326-4964

  • Land Steward LTE or Crew Leader for the Goodman Youth Farm, Madison

    Community GroundWorks is looking to hire two part-time positions for the 2015 season: Land Steward LTE and Crew Leader for the Goodman Youth Farm.

    Deadline to apply is March 5, 2015.

    For detailed job descriptions and application instructions please visit their website here.

  • DeForest Farmer’s Market Manager

    This is a part-time seasonal position that will oversee the DeForest Area Farmers Market. This position is expected to work 230 hours for the market season. The position averages 8 hours per week for the 24-week market season plus limited additional hours during the off-season. Pay rate is $13.00/hr. The Farmers Market is held every Tuesday from May 12 to October 20, 2015, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park. An additional market will be held on Saturday, May 16 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for Garage Sale Day. The Market Manager is expected to attend every market. The coordination hours may be performed at home. Prompt responses to phone calls and emails are required; a Village issued cell phone and email address will be provided.

    Essential job duties and responsibilities include:
    ⋅ Market logistics and vendor coordination
    ⋅ Publicity including written press release, social media
    ⋅ Building and maintain musical calendar
    ⋅ Working with steering committee on policy development and special events

    A full job description and application instruction can be found on the village website under Farmers’ Market Manager.

  • NuGenesis Garden Interns

    NuGenesis is hiring two part time garden interns for the 2015 season. This is a part time, seasonal position with flexible start dates that can run from April through October. Hours can range from 10-20 per week depending on your interests and availability.

    This position is designed to offer someone interested in community and educational gardens, experience in the following:
    ⋅ Organic growing techniques
    ⋅ Garden education
    ⋅ Garden design
    ⋅ Hoop house production
    ⋅ Volunteer management
    ⋅ Non-profit event/fundraising planning and organization.

    A full description and application information can be found here.

 

Wednesday Webs: Things I’m Learning in January

The books I'm reading right now

I just came home from a morning yoga class. Ah, there’s nothing like an hour of sun salutations with friends to chase away the winter blahs. I’m energized. I’m motivated. I’m itching to do something constructive with January instead of watching it blow by from under my quilt.

In yoga we’re reminded to ground our feet deeply before rising our arms toward the sky. As my teacher Sunshine says, we must set our roots before we can grow. How applicable that is, especially while our New Year’s sense of renewal still lingers. Even if nothing’s growing outside, I’m using this month for personal growth, as in learning new things. And I’m using online education as roots for that growth.

Here’s what I’ve been clicking into this month for some great coaching and tutorials. They’re free. I listen to them while I work. There are no excuses!