Seven Stone: About the farm

When contemplating weight loss, one of the first places people look is exercise, and if your work is exercise, so much the better.

I came into the undertaking of running a sustainable farm much the same way. Five years ago, I expected that working on Innisfree on the Stillwater everyday would function as a gateway to the weight loss I had struggled with for years.

I was wrong.

In fact, for the first three years I worked here, I gained weight, so much so that I put on another 20 pounds in the first two years I was here. What happened?

It turns out that’s a complicated question that I can only attempt to sum up. In basic terms, my body wasn’t ready to lose weight yet because some other things needed to change first. In specific, my diet needed to change before farm work could help me lose weight. As counter-intuitive as it was at the time, That’s what it ended up taking for me to start losing.

Since then, the work I do on the farm has functioned to help drive the weight loss, but it wasn’t the first reason, and still is not the primary reason, I am losing.

DLH

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Seven Stone: an Update

A couple of years ago, I announced to the world that I was actively trying to lose weight and increase my overall level of fitness. That pursuit has taken me down paths I did not anticipate and that not a few people thought would not work.

Nevertheless, over the past month, I have stepped on the scale three times to have it show me under 300 pounds for the first time in years. That means, over the last two-and-a-half years, I have lost 35 pounds and, more important to me, consistently kept them off. That may not seem like a lot to some people, but for someone who has struggled with his weight most of his adult life, it’s a fact that borders on a miracle.

I grant that I have a long way to go, but it is good to see that the process I imagined actually worked and appears to be continuing to work. I will document that process here for anyone who might care.

DLH

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Thoughts from Innisfree on the Stillwater: Fanaticism

There’s something about the sustainable food movement in all its various incarnations that brings out the fanatic in people, both pro and con. I admit that I am just as bad as anyone.

Yet, there is an underlying problem with that fanaticism that undermines the whole attempt to improve the way we feed ourselves, and it finds its voice in purity tests voiced by some that demand things that are unrealistic or downright impossible.

Among the worst of these tests are calls for laws that threaten the livelihoods of the very kinds of people trying to make change happen. For example, there are those who want to pass laws that would require sustainable farmers and vegetable producers to get licensed before they could produce.

I understand the motives that drive such calls because I experience them first hand. I also know they only serve to threaten the very undertaking we’re all supposed to be working together to achieve by making it harder to do what we are doing.

Perhaps, instead of calling for laws, boycotts, and bans, if we see a problem, we should be working extra hard to solve it and let the chips fall where they may. All that effort spent trashing others could be used in a far more productive way, and in the end, that properly applied effort might just produce something better than what we already have.

DLH

Read more at my Thoughts from Innisfree on the Stillwater weblog...

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Thoughts from Innisfree on the Stillwater: Hay season

A couple of times a year, I mow lots of grass. Not in the $40-billion-make-my-lawn-look-like-a-golf-course sort of way, but in the make food for animals sort of way.

We mow and bale about 30 acres of grass hay every year to hold our cattle and goats through the winter. There are a lot of things that make hay a chore, like the heat and dodging the weather, but despite my complaints, I actually look forward to it.

While so many people slave away in cubicles or at cash registers, I get to spend days outside in the sun, in near contact with the abundance of nature, using big machines. In the hours I spend mowing, raking, and baling, I find a unique opportunity to contemplate and formulate this path of life I travel.

And sure, things go wrong. Equipment breaks. The weather doesn’t cooperate. I see these things as opportunities to grow stronger. To develop fortitude. To solve problems.

For me, hay season is the peak of my year. That’s not to say that it’s downhill from there, but I look forward to this every year even as I dread it. Hay season encapsulates farming as a whole, and I love it all.

DLH

Read more at my Thoughts from Innisfree on the Stillwater weblog...

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The Roastery at Innisfree: Ch…ch…ch…changes…

The good kind of changes.

This August, it will be five years since my wife, Keba, and I moved back to Innisfree on the Stillwater and I restarted my coffee roasting business. Since then, we’ve changed and grown, and now is time for the next change:

Starting today, I am changing my business name to The Roastery at Innisfree to better align what I am doing as a roaster with what I am doing as a farmer. The coffee won’t change. The small batch roasting won’t change. The personal service won’t change. But this change will help us focus even more on what we are doing at Innisfree.

Enjoy your coffee!

DLH

Read more at my The Roastery at Innisfree weblog...

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