Once Amy and I decided that we wanted to pursue this simple yet complex, fun but tedious, and exhausting regenerative lifestyle, we had the dream to formalize it. Make it ours. A title which would allow both name recognition and humility while still expressing the important facets of our existence.

 
Full Cup Farm.
 
We did it, the 34.7 acres on the face of the earth were ours. No one could change that…even God. Well, he still has the most pull but we tried hard to honor Him with our name choice.
 
I was born in upstate NY, away from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. My first memories were of the gentleman’s farm that we lived on. I remember carrying a round rubber slop trough with my brother (one of us on each side – it was much bigger when you’re knee high to a grasshopper) into the stall for the 2 pigs. One of the pigs nibbled on the knee of my royal blue sweatpants, an urgent message for us to hurry up with their food. I can almost still small the warm soupy mess as Darryl and Chocolate Chip slurped and sloshed their way through the trough to find the best bits of food, efficiently creating hams, chops, ribs, bacon and sausage for the sustenance of our family. That vivid memory is the first I remember of being able to provide food for your own family.
 
At the time, my father ran his gentleman’s farm and worked full time in health care. This was 30+ years ago and he was a bit of a pioneer in the region where we were living. He was one of the first Nurse Practitioners in the area working in family practice. Evenings and weekends he spent tending his barn yard and always making sure to check in on his neighbors, including the German immigrant dairy farmers down the road. He would bring us along for the hay rides in the empty hay wagons through the back acreage between hay fields and grazing Holsteins. Even after we moved away when I was 5 years old, we would make sure to visit the Schmidt family on trips back to NY, even if just for a hay ride and home cooked meal with the best fresh milk you’ve ever tasted.

We moved to Maine in the summer of 1988. My father had found an excellent opportunity at a regional hospital here that covered a large section of this very rural state. Unfortunately, that meant leaving behind true rural living for suburbia. We moved to a “city” of about 30,000 people, the closest large city was just over 60,000 folks and 2 hours away. I only just now realize what my family and especially my father gave up to do that. His gentleman’s farm was now run and owned but some other gentleman. I applaud my Dad for continuing in what ways he could by having a decent sized vegetable garden. Memories of those gardens are fond. Pulling plump large carrots, hosing them off and pretending to be Bugs Bunny while eating them with greenery still attached. And for the record, nobody made better Dilly Beans, Bread and Butter Pickles and Sweet Pickles than my Mom. I still remember the large black with white speckles canning pot sitting on the stove for what seemed like days. The juice was worth the squeeze when it came time to delicious Dilly Beans and pickles as part of the appetizers before Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. We look forward to them in our stockings at Christmas once we moved out.

The garden seemed to get smaller and smaller each year, it finally disappeared once we children had our lives filled with sports, high school band practice, scouting activities and friends. My parents sacrificed of themselves (and their suburban homesteading) to provide the time and energy for the extra-curricular and social outings for my siblings and I. I had all but forgotten about those times until Amy and I had started exploring how to care for our nuclear family.

To be continued…