There is more changing than just the seasons

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I am feeling a bit out of sorts lately.  Several of my friends and co-workers are moving away–to different states–and it’s got me sort of in a funk.  And it’s got me thinking about the next phase in my life and what I want to do with my career…does this sound like a mid-life crisis?

I don’t really see my career reflection as a mid-life crisis, but more of a question of “is what I’m doing now what I really want to keep doing?”  Even though I love my work, I know it is NOT what I am really passionate about and I know it’s not what I want to do for the long term.  And now that one of our best employees is leaving, I’m left wondering “do I want to put up with the bullshit at work that has been sort of buffered by my co-worker–my confidant to whom I can release some steam (and vise versa for her) and blow a day off to go skiing so we don’t completely lose our minds?  In short, the answer is a big fat “no.”  Even though I really enjoy the work, it’s not gaining me any practical skills.  I digitize polygons on a map, day in and day out.  The bright side of my work is I listen to tons of audiobooks.  The downside is the work is monotonous and I feel my skillset atrophying.  I do get to do other things outside of just digitizing because of my background.  I get to do some field work (which has become old hat and not as appealing to me as it was when I was younger–especially since I don’t get to visit real cool places anymore), and I have gotten to work on some other projects that lets me use my ecology brain–but I still feel unsettled and apprehensive of what’s coming once my co-worker moves on for good next month.  I don’t think it will be good.  And I’m not the only one who feels this way–so why stay on a sinking ship?

My passion is food and agriculture.  I would LOVE to pour my efforts into our little non-profit CSA (as a paid employee) and grow it and nurture it and make it something spectacular in our community.  I would also love to be a farmer, and I think it would be awesome if our CSA, which is not a typical CSA model, were to grow its own food, instead of relying solely on outside growers and producers for our goods.  And secretly, I would love to have my own cooking show, one that focused on locally grown produce and goods.  Hubby knows about this secret–we were casually discussing this the other day, sort of jokingly coming up with names and ways to gain viewers.  “You could call it ‘Stinker and the Chef’,” Hubby said, “since The Stinker is always in the kitchen with you.  She could be your mascot.”  “Or,” I said, “I could call it “Stinker and the Naked Chef.”  Because who wouldn’t watch a show that involves food and nudity?  Of course, I would wear a full apron to 1) protect myself and 2) who needs to see everything?  The appeal is to let the imagination flow.”  Hubby, of course, disagreed with the full nudity part, but qualified his disagreement by stating that only HE would be able to watch that show.  Well, that doesn’t help me gain viewers, now does it?

Helping to fuel my desire to be a farmer is the fact that a local nursery is for sale.  This could be a perfect way for the CSA to begin growing more of its own food…if we had $1 million to throw towards the purchase of said nursery.  But I will continue to dream and perhaps something (like a winning lottery ticket?) will present itself as an opportunity for me to chase my dreams.

Besides dreaming up ways to ditch my current job, this week has been quite busy.  I harvested a bunch of herbs from the garden last week, so I’ve been drying chives and sage.  I harvested and froze another gallon of chopped rhubarb.  I made more garlic scape pesto from some frozen garlic scapes using some basil and oregano from the garden.  Freezing the scapes seems to have changed the texture when I processed them in the food processor.  The texture is more stringy than I would like.  I don’t recommend freezing them first, though maybe if I had roasted them before processing that would have made a difference.  I got more plums with my CSA share this week, so I made a plum-raspberry-rhubarb upside down cake for girls’ night on Friday.  I will share the delicious recipe in my next post.  I also made my first fruit leather with some of the plums and some leftover applesauce–yummy!  And Saturday I helped my one friend pack her moving truck–which earned me the nickname “Tetris Girl” for my ability to pack everything so neatly and tightly (and fairly quickly) in the truck.  Maybe I should become a professional mover/ packer…

We’ve had beautiful weather this past week, and more is forecast for most of next week.  So my tomatoes and peppers are happy and finally ripening.  I’ve got a colorful array of tomatoes this year: red, purple, black, orange, and green.  I’ll dry some more–it’s my favorite way to enjoy them throughout the winter–and enjoy some in a fresh salad.  And I’ve still got some on the vines, so I’ll still be harvesting vine-ripened tomatoes for as long as the weather holds.  This makes me happy.  Growing plants makes me happy, so I know that I need to make the career change my heart is telling me to make.  I’m kidding no one.

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