Times have been pretty lean for me since May.
Leaving the security of a salaried job with benefits during the worst recession of my lifetime was a pretty risky decision. When you consider that I left to pursue a career in beekeeping and backyard homesteading... Well, you may as well strap a straight jacket on me because it's totally crazy. I had no idea what I was doing. Still don't. But when my gut speaks, I often take heed. My instincts haven't lead me astray so far.
Since the start of my self-imposed foray into the world of underemployment I've taken on some random jobs here and there. Babysitting, selling high-end kitchen supplies in a cool Brooklyn shop, social media consulting. Each experience had it's merit. I've met really wonderful people, had some laughs, made some money, but ultimately it always led to this nagging feeling that I was being distracted from my goal: To learn everything I can about growing food any apply it to my life, wherever I am. And to find someone to pay me to talk about it so I can keep a roof over my head. It sounds much less noble when I put it in terms of monetary compensation, but it's the truth. It's expensive to live here, but I AM here so I have to make it work. I refuse to be distracted further from that goal, but since then the quality of my life has take a few hits.
I think I've done a pretty good job of making do. I mean, right now I have $75 in my bank account until some checks start rolling in (which any freelancer knows happens whenever people get around to writing 'em) but my pantry is full for now and I've got a great companion in Neil who gives me tremendous moral support. For some odd reason he tells me he is proud of me, often. It's a considerable comfort when most other things in my life feel so tenuous and uncertain. I've never before been as poor as I am right now, but I feel pretty lucky. Every day I get to wake up in a warm bed with some soft, fat cats on my belly purring for their breakfast and a lanky, wonderful bean by my side. I eat well most days either by my own hand or by the hands of my talented and generous circle of food-centric comrades. I have great friends that look out for me and throw promising opportunities my way. And by and large they are great ones that have the potential to help me keep my head above water.
Photo courtesy of Newton Farm
Ah, opportunities! The future! That is what excites me most about my life currently. I'm happy to announce that starting in March I will be dividing my time between Brooklyn and Newton Farm up in the Catskill Valley. I'll be working with Lynn Loflin, a long-time NYC restaurateur, and her partner Rupert Newton to grow vegetables, raise fifty egg-laying hens and start up some country beehives for honey and pollination. In addition, I'll be keeping bees for a well-known hospitality group in the area, teaching classes as often as possible and possibly writing a book, provided anyone would want to read what I have to say about anything.
So that's a pretty good start, right? Can I stop being scared shitless now and just enjoy what's coming?