Anyone who has been to Fruitdale Farm knows that there isn't really much "farming" going on here just yet. For the past couple years, it has just been me (Aimee) and my two six-toed cats, living in a tiny cabin in the woods, planting things here and there, making paths through the forest, keeping bees, tapping a few maple trees, taking down old barns in the area with friends, piling up salvaged building materials and floating around on the paisley-shaped pond while dreaming of all the possibilities as a steward of this little slice of land in southern Ohio.
Without a doubt, this has been a most enchanting process for me... to have gone from gallivanting around this country and beyond -carrying everything I own in a backpack and a carry-on suitcase- to coming back to my roots, feeling the depth of connection that I feel with this area, owning a piece of land and building a sweet, humble home where I can live out my dreams. I am so blessed, to say the very least. I have learned a good bit about myself along this journey and one of the biggest lessons is probably that I can't do everything on my own. I am pretty darned stubborn and I'm reminded of this lesson almost daily. I have finally learned that it is ok to ask for help and that working with others can even be much more fun than toiling away by my lonesome (I'm totally the one-woman wolf pack most of the time).
Last summer, the universe stepped in and introduced me to a special, new friend named Fern. I took a summer job with the Arc of Appalachia (a nonprofit nature preserve system in Southern Ohio) where I had the privilege of working alongside her just about every day for six months. Fern has so much knowledge about the natural world and is incredibly skilled at participating in it in a harmonious way. I was blown away that a person like her existed and I was thrilled at the opportunity to learn as much as I could from her. Since last summer, Fern and I have become close friends and she has helped out a great deal with projects here at Fruitdale. This spring, she was accepted for a six-month internship at Tom Brown Jr's Tracker School in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. I knew this would be a great opportunity for her to get away and use her skills while assisting and learning from some of the most skilled survivalists in the country and even the world. I was stoked for Fern to go, but I also knew that she would be coming back, and with even more to teach.
This past month, things have gotten a bit more dynamic here at Fruitdale Farm. Fern has returned from New Jersey and and is now part of our crew! She is residing in a tiny off-grid cabin near the pond and is getting settled in. It is amazing how much more gets done around here when Fern is around! I'm so happy she is home and I hope that Fruitdale Farm will increasingly feel more like home to her as the time passes. I feel incredibly lucky to have her as a friend and a partner in homesteading. :)
Look forward to our monthly PRIMITIVE SKILLS workshops, led by Fern Truitt (see our events page and follow us on Facebook for more details).