It’s a brand new year, the first snow has finally fallen and laid the ground to slumber for the season. Hunting and mushroom season is over, the Holidays are done, alas, dormancy is upon us; the time for getting things done in our world.
My first order of business for the new year has been very long in the making. After moving here many years ago, my friend Randy introduced me to the guys he grew up with and I fell in with those kindred spirits quickly. Among those now treasured friends is “Roell”, this behemoth of a guy and I have kids the same age-ish, both like croquet and old hotrods, we both like to hunt deer and eat mushrooms too. As a mushroom foraging enthusiast and new to the area, he took me to his family’s hunting land nearby to show me around. I instantly fell in love with that parcel and was smitten when he gave me a gate key to help myself to any mushrooms on the property and the neighboring public land.
Up until 2023, I was farming leased land and I couldn’t help but fantasize and pray that someday when his dad sold this piece, I’d be able to buy a portion. In 2022 Jasons dad agreed to sell 40 acres to me and 40 to him, neither of us were in the right spot to buy it just then, so his dad allowed us to get financing later and let me do mushroom stuff as well as continue to hunt on the site as a guest. This last year or two was really rough for us, getting financing was seemingly impossible, the pressure was on and i was feeling it.
Luckily we figured it out, and as i write this.. The land is now ours, mine, the families. After farming for over a decade on leased land, we now have our own family farm. It’s completely surreal still and the magnitude of actuality hasn’t hit me fully. romantically, I see this land as a place where my family can always turn to for self reliance and gather together. This will be the place where my kids will fall completely in love with nature and learn more from playing in the creek and gorging on berries than i can teach them in a day about stewardship. This will be the place where the metal of our resolve shall meet the fire of life challenges.
On this land we have already begun and will continue to refine fungal centric habitat solutions including mushroom food plotting. I aim to combine the best practices of the habitat world with those of organic farming and mushroom farming. I’ll be experimenting with all sorts of combinations thereof, it’ll be a process of groping as I mold and manipulate the three into a coalesced product. I pray there are more successes than failures, but all I can do is use my internal compass and observe the results, because there is no map for these uncharted waters.
The same gate key I was given as a guest a decade ago now has a different feel to it as i see it dangling from my farm trucks shifter column. Indeed, it has an air of responsibility about it, the gleam of hope for tomorrow glints off of it in the sun and the subtle tarnish of a long road to arrive at this moment is starting to show. God willing, many years from now I hope to hand a key to my children and they too theirs. Cheers to answered prayers, new beginnings and a happy new year gang.