Young Family, Farm Family
Editor’s note: Andy Bosley and Julie McMahan have operated Yellowroot Farm at Earthaven continuously for ten years. During that time, they managed to incorporate the startup of three ag fields. The Hut Hamlet field was first leased in ’05, and the Horn of Plenty near the campground in about ’08. Persimmon Grove, leased two years later, has been in biodynamic soil preparation until now. Andy’s worked part-time off land since 2009, and Julie’s worked part-time for Red Moon Herbs for over ten years, even now that it’s in Weaverville. I asked them to comment on their farm family experience; Julie found pictures; Andy wrote this letter.
Ramona and Julie mixing biodynamic preparation.
We had to make a conscious decision to scale back the farm while raising our young children—Forest, going on 5, and Ramona, 2. It hasn’t always been easy to step back from the farm that has been our other baby since 2005. One of the reasons we choose to live in a rural community and help create agricultural land is because we prefer this lifestyle for raising our children (and we think they prefer it, too).
left: Young farm hands Forest and Ramona.
It isn’t always easy to have kids around the farm—hot sun, mechanical equipment, sharp edges—to name a few, but there are many aspects that ARE conducive, and increasingly their awareness is such that they know a good place to stand when the tractor is around, or how to take care of themselves—get a drink of water and play in the shade.
We took a short break from raising pigs but have begun again, in large part so the kids can participate in raising their own food. It’s a delight to watch Forest, the big brother, help his little sister across the road and down the path to the pig pen, each with a bucket of foodscraps for the trough. It’s in these moments that we remember why we are doing this, and how important it is that we keep it up.
Ramona lends a hand.
Earthaven turns to Andy Bosley for a lot more than farming. He’s a key figure in our Forestry Plan, a gifted facilitator (i.e., cat herder), and has been active in the community’s men’s meetings on and off for years.