You simply never know where your next opportunity is going to come from, and I’m hardly someone to turn down an interesting opportunity that could make a pretty cool memory. Unless you’re asking me to get on a plane – then I need some convincing.
A few months back a woman named Patryce Bak and I started chatting with each other on Instagram of all places. I knew she was local, but that she also worked in New York, San Francisco and frankly all over the world. I loved her photos of simple clean eating on Instagram, and how much she seemed to love Maine. It was when I first looked at her professional website that I became immediately smitten with her “The Nature of Work” project. The people behind your food, the simplicity and difficulties of working with the land and her profile of Maine. Simply put – it spoke to me.
So when Patryce contacted me to ask if Andy and I would do a shoot with her for her new Farmers & Homesteaders project I knew we had to be in. The concern though was that we are small time homesteaders with 1.1 acres of our own. While my husbands family owns woodlots and is into simple living, it would be hard to show. While I am smitten with the beef cattle farm and Andy helps on it when we need to and are more or less adopted into the farming family we live amongst, it is not our farm.
Questions definitely came up. What was she going to photograph? What was this about? We have a garden, a small barn, a garage and some chainsaws. Yes we make a lot of our own food, preserve, cut out own firewood, heat our house with only wood at this time and in general try to live a conscious simple life, but how was that going to be shown? I knew from being born in Maine but growing up out of state that this way of life isn’t normal for everyone. We had a garden my entire life but I realized growing up that a lot of my friends parents didn’t. Salsa was something you bought at a store, not made at home. Fresh bread was a treat, but I had friends who had never tasted it. I saw the other side. Andy however grew up where working in the woods, gardening and making the most of what little you had was regular.
I reminded him that many people don’t know where their food comes from. They don’t understand how it works. All things he knows and understands, but I reminded him how important it was to me to be a part of something that was going to show people that there are people out there who do this – no matter what size. To me, encouraging people to grow their own food no matter the size lot they have is one of my greatest joys. When someone comes to me and says “I only planted a tomato in a pot this year and some herbs, but it’s something” I want to jump out of my seat and yell and am incredibly happy for them. Everyone needs to take a first step. To have a chance to be a part of a project that could show this variety of farmers and homesteaders from very big, to very small, was awesome.
Thankfully, Andy knows how much this meant to me to do and he was on board. That’s the great thing about this guy – when something really means something to me and will make me really happy, he’s in. He’s in simply because it makes me happy. That’s a good man you guys, seriously.
So when Patryce came out I had just finished gathering some apples from the wild tree out back and the sun was setting. A new calf had just been born up at the farm so we took them up there to see it.
To be honest, my neighbor the farmer should have been the one photographed. Humble as the farmer is though he had told us that we should do our pictures at the farm. It might not be our farm literally, but to him we are a part of it – and it is a part of us. Also, it’s one of my happy places in life.
I’m happy to share these photos with you courtesy of Patryce. The second photo is also part of her Farmers & Homesteaders project you can see by clicking here.
A big thank you to Patryce for your beautiful photographs. It was wonderful meeting you and spending time with you. I hope you enjoyed the farm pears!
P.S. To be clear, we did photograph at our house too but it was getting a bit dark. The farm sits on a hill and the light was beautiful so the farm set of photos is what I’ve seen and what she has used in the project.
P.P.S. Here’s a little behind the scenes – in the photo of me looking out the barn door, I wasn’t just posing and staring out. I was actually perched there to get a better view of a brand new baby who had just been born about 2 hours earlier. At the time the mother was eating the placenta and I was totally in awe of nature at it’s finest. Also, that same mother chased me up onto rocks the next day, but that’s another post for another day.