there is a farm in every house

A guest post by Jenny Alexander of The Painted Lily.

fresh tomatoes on the vine

Sure, maybe you don’t have cornfields in your backyard or even a small plot of land to grow a victory garden but the tagline from The Steel Fork got me thinking. “There is a farm in every house.”

At our house, we do have a small garden growing in my backyard. As summer continues on, it’s going to be chock full of cherry tomatoes, purple peppers, cucumbers and carrots. It’ll be the perfect recipe for my husband’s super popular homemade salsa. It’s a summer treat that our friends and family look forward to every year. I love to see the colorful mix of spicy veggies sitting in jars in the kitchen, ready to be handed out at our summertime family functions to those who appreciate really tasty, spicy, homemade goodness. It’s a gift that we love to give!

We’re growing more than tomatoes…

But besides the garden in the backyard, The Steel Fork’s tagline made me start to think about what else we are growing in the “farm” of our home.

My husband and I are growing two small businesses that are beginning to overflow our living spaces. It’s about time to give these seedlings a space of their own. Our “business garden” is blossoming!

We are growing three little people, too. These small sprouts need constant watering and feeding! It’s a joy to watch them grow and to see what they are becoming as they spread their little leaves and discover their world.

We are growing a life. Our house is the fertile field, our love and attention is the sunshine and our creativity and energy is the water that keeps it all alive and prosperous.

How is your house a farm and what are you growing? What do you do daily to tend to it’s needs?

One thing that keeps me on task with so many different elements of life to tend to is making lists every morning of the things I’d like accomplish. I’ve been a big list maker for a long time and it really helps me to bring the thoughts in my head into reality. I have a dry erase board in my studio that I use for my daily studio tasks and one in the kitchen for house related things to do. The joy of crossing items off my daily list is one thing that gives me a great sense of relief! I try to keep my daily lists realistic. Of course, I have the crazy lists of all the things I dream of getting done in coming weeks, but these daily lists I try to keep very manageable. And if I get done more in the day than was on the list, all the better!

Since my husband and I both run our own creative businesses from home, it’s really important to us that we schedule out our days to make sure that we tend to all of the things that are important to us and that nothing gets left out. As our own bosses (and as creative thinkers and makers) it’s pretty easy to get off task and meander into something that isn’t as important as what needs to be done. We usually spend mornings working over coffee, dealing with the business issues leftover from the day before, things that might have happened overnight with clients in other timezones and tackling some of the pressing business issues of the day. This could be computer work, emails, working on orders or approaching new wholesale customers. The kids have breakfast with us and then spend time alone in the mornings playing together or on their own. They know the routine and know that later in the day we’ll have our special time together. Of course, they can come to us with anything during our work time but they generally are pretty pleased to have some time to themselves. This schedule keeps us on task, helps us to use our time wisely and gives us a generally predictable timeline for the day.

But, honestly, there are days when the whole schedule just breaks down completely. With three kids in the house, there are going to be times when it just isn’t going to go as planned. So, I am an expert at working and living flexibly and using time effectively. It wasn’t because of some inborn knowledge that is hardwired into me. It has simply been born of necessity. I was never very good at time management in my younger years but having two burgeoning businesses, the kids and a house has taught me to use the time when I have it. I used to call it “working on stolen time” but I’ve stopped using that phrase because I realized it made me feel rushed and like my work time was haphazard. Some days I have to work in short bursts and I’ve really gotten used to that creatively. I’ve always been easily bored and had to move from task to task to stay interested so this method of working really fits my personality. I can put in 15 minutes here and there and still get a lot done.

Cultivating a farm is hard work…

Growing this “farm” here at our house is time consuming, physically and creatively demanding, crazy and wonderful. I love this new vision of life with which The Steel Fork has left me. It makes me look at everything in my life as something important and alive that needs attention and care to grow and prosper. With lists, a schedule and flexibility I feel like I have most of the tools that I need to keep this farm and family up and running.

Now… who wants some salsa?

Jenny Alexander is the artist behind The Painted Lily where you can find her kaleidoscope prints, art journals, and coasters to beautify your life & home.

{image credit: jenny alexander}

Note: Jenny’s post was inspired by SG sponsor The Steel Fork. No additional compensation of any form has been received for this post.

10 thoughts on “there is a farm in every house

  1. This reminds me a lot of a 3 phases conversation I had with a pagan friend as she talked about the maiden-mother-crone idea. I wondered if, in that light and considering I don’t have children, would I just skip the “mother” phase and eventually slip on into crone. She made the very good point that as an artist I “mother” my creativity, my projects, my art and that the phases are experienced no matter what.

    Which is why I love the idea of a farm being any number of possible things, things with potential for growth, and not just green things in the ground (considering I have a black thumb, this is a good thing!).

    And I make my to-do lists on post-it notes. The small space keeps my goals realistic :)

    1. I love the idea that you’ve mentioned about mothering your art and your creative vision. I think it’s a powerful way to look at your work and to give it some real “life.” Certainly there is thought, planning, affection and time put into each piece that you create and part of you goes into each creation. I had never really thought of it as mothering but your comment really hits the mark for me. Great thoughts! Thank you!

  2. i want some salsa jenny!!! seriously, you should consider posting the recipe because i love homemade salsa and i am always looking for new recipes.

    what a lovely analogy. i love the way you started to think about your home. i can so relate. my husband and i are both business owners as well. i love having the flexibility it gives us while raising our children. i am off to go tend to my farm, have a lovely day!

  3. What an absolutely delightful surprise! Thank you. I love how you extended the “farm” analogy to your home, family and business. It is so true. In developing the, “theres a farm in every home” I never considered the “everyday” as related to the nurturing that takes place on farm. You put it most beautifully by saying, “everything in my life as something important and alive that needs attention and care to grow and prosper.” I really love that. I am honored to be a part of your inspiration. Thank you Jenny.

    1. Oh, Kate! I’m so glad that you are pleased. I was really inspired by your tagline and it truly has changed how I look at our home, businesses and lives. Thank you for the new perspective!

  4. I absolutely loved this post! I have a garden that I pulled some sweet peas from for dinner last night. And then I read this post and it is so true. We are growing businesses, growing our children, and a manageable garden and keeping everything running. And what a blessing it is to be able to work at home and be with our kids. A very nice post. Thank you.

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