But worry is not just for the sleeping hours. In the daylight, too, at this time of year, our complex mix of excitement and fear takes on many shapes. We're buying seeds, potting soil, tools, and all kinds of building materials right now, with our first market income still far away. In a huge step for us, we just took on our first bank loan this month: $20,000 for a tractor with enough power, and the capacity to start every week. We're not making these investments blindly. We have careful analyses, cash flow projections, and budgets based on real numbers from our past few years of sales. But still, it can feel crazy. But we know, too, that if we don't make some improvements, some good investments in our systems, we will not hit our goals and will not produce enough to make our living.
I joke to Mary that the more the ground thaws, the deeper our spending freeze should go, but my joke seems kind of lame and falls flat. We know it's no joke that one credit card is filled, but we both snicker even if the joke is only OK, because maybe some jokes, some keeping it light is an important part of the slumber party feeling that helps keep the excitement up.
The other thing we need, to be honest, are more farm members. People willing to say "hey, I'm with you guys for the season, let's see what you can do." The first spring payments from those memberships are what will get us through to the market season, but right now we mostly just need to know that you are on board; you can still reserve your membership with just a $20 deposit (and thank you, so much, to everyone who has done so already).
We returned from the conference to find another great surprise: in addition to a few more members, an anonymous note had arrived in our mailbox, with a bank check for a donation to our eatership fund--enough to cover one peak-season share or large feed bag for a family in need. Whoever you are, we love you, and it will help! We have successfully raised about $1500 in Eatership funds, and have started making matches to families that need some help. We need help spreading the word about our memberships and have tried to make the website as easy as possible to navigate and pay that deposit, whether you can cover the whole membership cost yourself, or if you need a boost.
As I write, the farm darkens. The chickens that I just checked are chortling on their roost bars. Malaya is snoring under my desk. Air from the open window wafts in; I smell spring coming, snowmelt, mud, compost. We are starting seeds so soon. I can hardly wait until I fall asleep, but I know I'll have late-night ideas to share. It'll take a few elbows I'm sure. But it's worth it.