a letter from Josh Viertel
“Looking out on the morning rain I used to feel so uninspired.”
– Aretha Franklin
Friends, Farmers, Neighbors,
We are starting 2023 with a rainy, warm week in the Harlem Valley. We would have done almost anything for this weather in the summer of 2022. Drought slowed the grass. The cows were disgruntled to be eating hay in July. Trout in the Tenmile suffered in warm, low water. Now we’ve got rain – not exactly when the grass needed it, but maybe it's the right time for us humans. Instead of entering the year frantic, it is a reminder to slow down a little and let what we need come to us. To have faith that it will come, and to let it soak in. In his poem, Wild Geese, Wendell Berry wrote: “What we need is here.” This phrase guides what we do on this extraordinary piece of land, whether it is how we plan a menu for an event (“what’s good in the garden?”) or how we choose what to teach (“What needs doing that gives learning?”). And when things are hard, like a drought, it reminds us to ask, “Well, assuming the thing we don’t want is what we need, what is it giving us?” Drought caused us to look at the grass and notice some important things we otherwise would have overlooked. (Where we had grazed chickens, pasture stayed green and kept on growing through the dry. This led us to explore which places needed more fertility, and which didn’t. Without the drought, we might not have seen it.)We hope 2023 gives you what you need – that things that were stuck get unstuck, those that were too much are lessened, those that were in short supply become abundant – and we hope that we all get more time with the people who matter to us. Including you. Warmest regards from the Harlem Valley, and we hope we have opportunities to be together in 2023.
Josh and the team at Harlem Valley Homestead