Diagnosis: Moxie

We took it as a complement when departing the commercial desk at Gardeners Supply Chris said, “nice moxie with that truckload!” The skies darkened as we headed south, tailgate open to accommodate the bulging load of drought-tolerant perennials. Colorful Echinacea, Liatris, etc. were neatly protected under an old bed sheet, jute roles and 50 pound bags of cover crops were stacked high in the cab along with the boxes of sausages we picked up from the freezer warehouse. I said, “There is nothing more dangerous than a hillbilly with ambition.”


Looking around the farm, I realized moxie is a part of our culture. Rose just departed for the dump with another bulging truckload— and it stunk! (Plastic damaged two years back in the hail storm had tried to serve in other ways but wound up in a pile, harboring some death and decay, and reminding us we must start that blog: The Darker Side of Farming.) Alexa is downstairs processing a mountain of garlic scapes. My mind flashes to Tessa, tackling the bedded pack. Now on Liva and Anna with ice bandanas pruning tomatoes in the hoop house during the heat wave and planting out beets when it finally cooled down close to dark. Then there’s Laura, stopping all the pounding at the house construction site this morning, walking at a pace with a bucket saying “Pig-Pig-Pig” with Madison and Checkers following her, bushwhacking their way to a new patch of woods and pasture.


The farmers aren’t the only ones with moxie. Boris is now living with the sows while he awaits the does (estimated timeline: late September so we can kid in early March). The piglets are on the eastern flank, near where moose tracks have been spotted. The goat kids are browsing in the wilds of Kati’s swamp. The hens are each laying about six eggs a week. And those colorful perennials? They better have moxie. Their spot is high on the hill, where fill was cut for the new house. It is dry and steep, but they can hack it and simultaneously provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects critical to the success of the new 550 square foot garden and soon-to-be installed veggies and fruits. Like Uno, they’ll also supply charisma and joy. We contend that all of us working to create a new local food system are as revolutionary as the Green Mountain Boys. But lets face it… it’s going to take a lot of moxie!