Cén tslí bheatha atá agat? What is your profession?
The Irish word for profession is actually a noun phrase- slí bheatha, literally “way of life.” Thinking about my way of life really encompasses more than just strictly what I sell, or what I produce. My day job that I still hold, has a hold on me more than just the hours it demands of me. It changes my whole schedule. I don’t have time during the compressed work week to do very fancy meals, so I buy from the work cafeteria a lot. I end up making simple, repetitive dinners. It also creeps into my way of thinking- with “office politics” deciding how far I advance more than my, or anyone’s actual performance. It makes me literally a meaner person. Including the original sense of the word- to be mean, or average. That is to say vulgar. Reduced to the thought patterns of the Jones’ and not my own. So to ask my slí bheatha is in some ways, to catalogue all the effects it has on me. When at work, I usually eat lunch alone, because I am exhausted with social demands, and usually not good company for anybody.
So what is my slí bheatha, then, in farming? I have to be more patient. Patient with customers, patient with suppliers and contractors, patient with the weather, my garlic, everything. It makes me a better person, in short. It might be the fresh air (not counting the compost or lime-spreading days), the sun, rain, or sustained moderate exercise, who knows. And when I am with happy people who want my stuff, I am happy too. In farming, gone are the days where I am unapproachable before, during and after my shift. Life is my shift, and you can talk to me any time during it. I often end up in 2 hour conversations with anyone who has the spare time.
As I plan my season on this tail end of winter, I’m seeking to tap more into this better form of myself. 2018 is shaping up to be a great year and I can’t wait to see the garlic spears in April! In a couple months I’ll post the festival(s) I’ll be going to this year, and in the meanwhile I’ll keep building the rest of the site in anticipation of July and August harvest season.
PS Instead of a recent picture of this year's garlic plot, here's a pic from one night when I had to plant garlic by headlamp. This is when you love what you do- you buy headlamps and lots of batteries to get it done, whatever the cost.