A Trying Week

Her name is Willamette and she wears a crown of cones

The hopyard exploded this week. Burrs exploded into three inch long cones. First year bines all of a sudden completely covered in bursts of burrs. And despite getting some camera time a few nights ago, I missed it.  A bummer for sure, and tonight I am exhausted and frazzled but I can get my body and my mind back into the hopyard now and I could not be happier about it. The distraction? Nothing could be more infuriating, frustrating, and at times even heartbreaking, was a battle with Liam’s school department for his needs and ultimately his right to a safe, public education no matter his disability.

It was, obviously, a worthwhile reason to not work on the hopyard business for a week. (Hell, I was useless all week at the day job too, going so far as to use a sick day with an upset stomach that I’m now not entirely convinced wasn’t just caused by stress.)  There are only two things that I can think of that pull me out of the hopyard like that. Liam’s health, and Liam’s education. I’m just like any parent that way.

This morning it was all resolved. After too many emails to count, emails and a phone meeting with the Governor’s director of constituent services, after emails and texts with my state representative, after emails and texts with a few of my elected school committee members, and after a meeting at city hall this morning with the school superintendent, the city director of pupil services and the director of special education, it is resolved.

Liam will start the second grade in the fall.

While the hopyard was busy filling out so have the summer gardens. I can’t tell you how proud I am of the work we’ve done this year. Watering duties and responsibilities split between Karin and I, we had incredible yields of spring radishes and peas a few months ago. Now, we are about a week away from being up to our eyeballs in eggplants, green beans, summer squash, jalepenos, cucumbers and of course a bunch of different types of tomatoes. For the first time ever, every one of them started from seed in our sunroom this February.

Honestly, when added to everything I have to do to get ready for the hop harvests, the harvesting, cooking, pickling or canning I have to do is daunting.

Daunting but incredibly exciting.

I feel connected to our little patch of dirt now. Knowing exactly when every inch will be in shadow or in sun as it makes its way across the sky. The daily, almost meditative ritual of watering, and weeding, and picking a few early beans or eggplants is the only thing that calmed me during a week of worry and stress. It was like magic.


I didn’t get anything I had planned doing done this week. Some of you who are expecting packages from me, they are going out tomorrow. The need for more stories here and the eventual online store, it is coming. I promise. I just didn’t get to these things this week. Instead I fought for what my boy needed. It was more important than my plants. The work on the hopyard and the gardens though, are the outlet and place that help me get through it all.

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