So, after about 7 months of being away from home (6 in Afghanistan minus R & R in Paris), I find myself in an interesting place.
Any of you who read my posts probably knew that I was a law student, a librarian, a Crossfit coach, and a would-be-food-blogger(not so much here in Afghanistan). So it might sound strange that I have decided not to come back to law school, and instead to do something I actually care about. I made my way through my first year of law school with pretty good grades, a good class rank, and no desire to finish. I found a lot of my peers to be unimaginative, unmotivated, rich, spoiled and unwilling to do the work that was required of them. I spent about 80 hours a week reading cases, going to class, working on papers, and running group projects. It was extremely hard on my marriage, my waistline, my social life, and health. I no longer see any reason to continue.
Afghanistan has provided a lot of time for reading and studying on my own. This has meant that I finally got to read what I wanted. Most of it centered on food, cooking, and food production. I toyed with different careers when I get back: I looked at restaurants and food trucks; I looked at culinary school; I looked at working at the butcher down the street; I looked into aquaponics; Finally, I looked at farming. The common theme in my leisure reading and career search is food.
Until my parents, my family was farmers. On my mother’s side, both her parents came from orchardists who raised pears, apples, cherries, and plums for years dating back to their arrival in the United States. On my father’s side, my father’s father had grown up one of thirteen children of a sharecropper. The family had been farming in England, France, and Whales, and had continued the practice when they arrived in the Virginia Colony in the 1650’s.
My parent’s let the farm and attended college pushed into other areas in the pursuit of money and careers and a better life. They did well, and I was raised comfortably in the country, visited occasionally by my grandfather who would drop off crates of fruit throughout the fall. My mother would can the pears, make apple sauce or pies. On our trips out to the old farm in eastern Oregon my great-grandmother would tell us about the 200 acre ranch and orchard that shipped fruit across the United States as she made breakfast every morning. Some of my fondest memories revolve around that old farm kitchen.
I guess it seems natural as I sit here in Kabul, that I would want that old comfortable feeling again. I long to be home at night, to see and raise a family. I want for my family something better than I had. Although I was comfortable financially, I was never rooted in a place, and always thought that the next purchase I made would bring the contentment I looked for. It seems obvious now to say that I never made the purchase that brought happiness.
After a lot of thought, a long talk with my wife, a lot of financial leg work, and a good deal of scrimping and saving, my wife and I have decided to purchase a small farm. We’re looking at a couple of east coast properties, a big transition, as we try to find a property with sustainable water and affordable land. We have it narrowed down to a couple properties in VA, WV, and KY. We’re hammering out the details now.
The big plan is to offer locally raised sustainable, pasture raised eggs, chickens, beef, turkey, and pigs. In the longer term, we also plan to offer heritage apple tree starts, cider and apples (but that’s 5-8 years off). We’ll start offering our products in the spring of 2015, and we sincerely hope that you will join us around our table for fresh produce, honey, and meat. More details and pictures to come…