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Seeds and Wants

With our name chosen, and a vaguely clear vision in our heads, the next step for our farm was to take stock of what we had, what we needed and what was realistic to accomplish.

What we had was a whole bunch of knowledge and ideas, a willingness to do some hard work and a desire to do things the right way. I had completed a Permaculture Design Course the previous year and my head was full of things I wanted to try. Things that I thought would scratch my itch of wanting to make a difference. The other, more important thing we had for the first time in a very long time, was time together and that was something that we were not willing to give up.

I would encourage anyone that is taking stock of their life, or even thinking about what they want for the future, don't forget to include the time you have and want to have. I traded moments for money for a long time, not realizing what I was doing. I missed so many meals with my family. I made excuses to not see my friends because I simply didn't have the energy to see any more people that day.

Hard to beat

It felt like every morning I started with a bag of coins and each negative interaction I had with people took a coin until my bag was empty every night and everyday I started with fewer and fewer. How many days did I only see my son while he was asleep?

I still have people who are just finding out that I left education feeling bad for me that I had to leave such a secure, well-paying job. To be honest, it is not the money or the security that I miss. I loved what I did. I loved forming meaningful relationships with kids and helping them figure out what it was they wanted to do. My classes were not exactly typical and I have very fond memories of classes full of laughter and of the growth that I seen happening in students.

My philosophy was always to try to meet students where they were and give them the freedom to explore their own interests. I always felt like if they didn’t connect to what was being taught, it wasn’t going to stick and let’s be honest, just because they remembered something long enough to write a test, doesn’t mean they actually understood something. I was lucky in that I was a French and English teacher which allowed me to cover a broad range of topics and be creative with the material. I know my lack of sticking to the curriculum gave my administrators small fits, but I’d like to think that most students enjoyed my classes and learnt something along the way. I also know that my administration understood what I was trying to do and I will always be grateful for their support. I always seen teaching someone something and helping them to learn something as two very different things.

As a principal, I loved nothing more than making impactful change and expanding possibilities for students. That sounds like something you'd say in an interview or write in a CV but it's the truth. It didn’t take me long to figure out just how resistant the system and many of it’s players are to any kind of change, fearing having to do something different or simply fearing the change itself. Some people simply should not be in the business of educating. In the end, it was the hypocrisy of preaching to have students best interest in mind but not willing to do anything to actually help that pushed me away. Now that I realize how detrimental that job was to my health, that money didn’t represent my success in life and that happiness was more important than disappointing other people, I don’t regret my decision and I would never go back. I wonder if people weren’t afraid of what others would think, how many would change what they’re doing? Is it really about money measuring our success or is it just as much about meeting the expectations that are set on us by the people around us? I know for me, it was the latter.

The Cape May Daisy that Gabe picked out on his first visit to a nursery

Anyway, that’s what we had. What we needed was soil, seeds, and just about everything else. We’d never done a seed order before and didn’t really know where to start, our land had

been turned into a gravel pit by the previous owners and the way we wanted to do things was so far outside the norm that it was very difficult to find any sort of model farms for our climate. It was a daunting prospect.


Nathan

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