Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sheep on Roller Skates, and other musings

Below is a post that Kim wrote specifically for our roller derby community, introducing everyone to our farm and her thoughts about the relationship between the two! Enjoy!

How is Farming related to Roller Derby?

It’s not.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. I actually believe that they are very similar, though I might be biased.I love roller derby. I used to play for the Albany All Stars!

I’ve been in retirement for a while, starting a small sustainable farm. (R’Eisen Shine Farm! Sign up for our CSA!) 

So, how do the two endeavors meet? – it’s in the sweat.

With derby, you’re sweating constantly. Sweating literally at practice and at bouts. Sweating the competition, getting amped up to get on that track. Sweating the business, making sure you’re able to continue to play and give back to the community.

 And for those of you who’ve never experienced a day of farm labor (so lucky!), it’s All Sweat. And some blood. And some tears. Sweating in the field on a July day. Sweating that decision to plant those particular heirloom tomatoes. Sweating the books that are not going to manage themselves.

It’s in the team.
With derby, you’re a part of a team. Those folks who take the track with you two, three, four maybe even FIVE times a week are your family. They have your back, even on your off days. You have a responsibility to those folks who are giving their time and energy, the same way you are. Let’s be honest, no one else cares that you’re tired, hungry, sore, etc. but you. Your bad day is really a “you” problem. 

At least from my derby experience, the whole is more important than the individual.

Farming is the EXACT SAME WAY! Our chickens do not care that you pulled a muscle hauling water. They want their grain! The horses do not care that you are tired and hungry. So are they. The IRS does not give a f*** about how much time you need to do your taxes. The farm team is different than your derby team, but only in the sense that sheep don’t wear roller skates. 

Maybell the sheep, minus skates

It’s in the rewards.

With derby, the rewards are so many. Friends, teammates, drinking buddies. Personal accomplishments, new goals to try to attain. Pushing yourself to your absolute limit, and then surpassing that limit. Not to mention FUN. I mean, for something that you’re paying to do and pushing (and sometimes  punishing) yourself to do every single week, it should be FUNNNNNNN!! 

Being a farmer is also super rewarding, but in a lot of different ways. Growing food for people is an incredible responsibility and an incredible honor. Getting to see an animal from birth to death to dinner plate and knowing that you provided the best possible life for that creature. Stewarding a tiny seed to a giant pumpkin or leaf of kale.  There is nothing else like that. It is a huge responsibility. It is also FUN.

Early heirloom tomato harvest

So yea, I’m biased in thinking that derby and farming are similar. But they’re not totally unrelated. Now I will shamelessly plug our business, R’Eisen Shine Farm.

We are a small, diversified CSA model farm that provides vegetables, poultry, rabbit and (new this year) pork to our members. The farm is run by my husband and business partner Ejay (aka derby referee Mean Acres) and myself (Dottie Damage) and our cast of animal characters. This year, we’re working with horsepower, literally, with a team of haflinger drafts to plow our field. Interested in what we do? Interested in letting us grow your food? Check out our Facebook or the link on the right hand side!

We’ll see you at the February 23rd bout, where we will be tabling with information about the farm and doing CSA sign ups, so stop by and say hi!

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