We are so excited to be home and reconnect with the farm!
Mandy and I just had a heckuva trip to Italy. We attended a family wedding in the region my grandparents are from, with cousins from Tuscany, Ireland, and Brazil. It was fantastic! The dance floor was filled for 5 hours with all generations of cousins and friends from all over the world and everybody was smiling, dancing, laughing, hugging and just all around having a wonderful time and soaking in this once in a lifetime experience to all be together. I can’t tell you how much it warmed my heart and filled my spirit and I’ll forever be grateful to my amazing international family for making this such an incredible moment in my life.
The world’s a crazy place, so I relish any opportunity to join with people from different backgrounds who are open to stepping out of their comfort zones and into that fertile unfamiliar space that requires a bit more effort, but also provides the greatest rewards. Traveling and experiencing other cultures and lifestyles with genuine curiosity when I was younger provided a huge shift in perspective and ultimately a greater degree of empathy that I feel is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.
One unfortunate gift we received this time around, was Covid. Despite being an outside wedding, 20 of us got sick exactly 2 days later. Omicron is more spreadable than a smooth jar of Skippy. We were down for a solid week with lingering symptoms for the full 10 days, which sucked because we had a bunch of visits and dinners with cousins at the old family home scheduled, but we just stayed bed bound while sweaty and feverish in 95 degree weather with no a.c.. Fortunately, we had it the worst (Well, Mandy’s poor mom had it the worst worst). Most of our family members were totally fine in a few days time though.
When we finally felt better, we decided just to go for a drive and get lost on small dirt roads in the hills and boy did it pay off! After hours of driving and just admiring the countryside, I pulled to the side of the road to stretch the legs and happened to see a sign that pointed to a trail. We just started walking for the heck of it, when we bumped into an Italian lady in a jumpsuit with a ladder. Turns out, she’s a government funded spelunker on her way to a private cave that houses 18 species of bats (Pipistrelli in Italian!). My Italian was just good enough to understand and accept her invitation for a private tour into the locked cave. Mandy hates caves, but couldn’t pass up the serendipity and next thing we know, we are deep in the freezing cave, looking at stratifications of quartz and rockfalls that had previously collapsed the original entrance to the cave. So exciting!
Then, we drove even further into the hills and at sunset, happened upon a never ending field of huge sunflowers that had just fully opened their petals! We were standing on the roof of our car at the top of a tremendous hillside looking down into the faces of tens of thousands of sunflowers while church bells from 2 seperate churches welcomed the sun to its nightly rest. Glowing, I tell you! Us and the flowers! We were all elated!
We finished that night at the home of a farmer, sitting with him, his wife, and their diapered child, under some oak trees, staring at the shadow of a hammock as it danced on the ancient stone walls of the villa, drinking his fermented beverages and connecting in the easy and deep way that only someone 10 years into the same beautifully frustrating endeavor as yourself could manage. Despite being a world apart, we immediately saw ourselves in the other and felt understood. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day.
So, in honor of that wonderful day and the magnificent and never-ending field of sunflowers that assured us that we are blessed, we are having a sale on Sunflower Seeds! Not the salty, spit on the bleachers kind, but the beautiful, grown in the garden kind!
Click on the link to see the varieties we have on sale and if you ever see me in public, ask me about how our friend’s Grandfather single handedly saved the famous Ponte Vecchio in Florence from the Nazis. Crazy story!