Tessa DeMaster

I'm not lying to myself anymore! + Herbal Workshops: Tools for Combatting Winter Illness

Published 4 months ago • 5 min read

Hi Reader,

Reuben and I are taking a time management course.

I've heard talks and seminars on Stephen Covey or similar programs but this course is geared for farmers like us with complicated farm businesses and families mixed together.

This feels like the first time I've really tried to implement new time management skills and maybe its working. As a pretty organized person, it's not like I've never managed my time. I schedule. I write lists. I delegate.

Accomplishing projects every week is a big win. Learning how to schedule in time for small but important tasks for my family makes me feel less stressed too. It's the little details like cancelling a policy or switching electric suppliers or ordering a book my kids need for a course that i keep putting off because I "don't have time" after making meals, laundry, answering emails and uploading farm videos.

Taking time for myself makes a difference too! Imagine that.

Instead of "lying" to myself that I can "do it all," I am scheduling time to read a book at the end of the day and to "be done working" before my eyes are closing.

Educating ourselves is one of the things Reuben and I do throughout the year by listening to podcasts and reading books but we especially focus on what we need to learn to improve our farm business in the winter.

Avoiding Overwhelm?!

Our life is often overwhelming.

Do you ever feel like you are watching a "superwoman" when you see my videos or read my emails?

Here's the truth. I'm not!

I'm great at suggesting a thousand things to do with your garden or your meals but I can't do it all the time either. You don't see what I don't get done.

A great example is this week's video teaching you the difference between elderberries and pokeberries, medicinal herbs, and volunteer herbs and veggies that I should harvest out of my neglected garden before frost hits next week. But I'm not sure If I'll even get around to it. It seems like I have plenty of time so I'm likely to put it off, especially since the weather is so delightfully warm that I'm lured into a sense that frost is far off.

video preview

That's what I'm working on in my life. If I really want that bowl of fresh lettuce and dill for a salad next week, I'll have to schedule 15 minutes to actually do it on Saturday morning or Monday afternoon. We'll see if it makes the list.

What are you working on in your life?

Is taking time to do more for yourself a new thing for you?

Are you learning a new skill, taking a course or reading a great book?

At our homesteading conference last month we shared our knowledge of organic farming, sourdough bread making and we learned even more from the other presenters and those who attended.

In fact, Reuben put his whole book shelf of farm books on related topics out on the porch for everyone to browse.

"I think there are fewer books there now." he observed to me today. I hope that means people are reading them and plan to bring them back.

I grabbed a book from his shelf today. Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry. Did you know that Wendell Berry writes novels? Probably you did because he's known as an "American novelist and poet" but until I read Hannah Coulter I had only read a couple of his essays in my English Writing class in high school.

I was struck by how his story telling explained the failures of modern agriculture and it's contribution to the breaking down of families and small towns through the story of a lonely farm wife. I realized that as a mom I needed to curate a farm life for my children that they will want to embrace for their own someday - not walk away from for the "promises" of a better life somewhere else.

A family farm doesn't stay in the family if the children don't value it.

That almost happened here.

My grandfather couldn't pass on the love of farming to his children who all chose to go to college and have successful careers. To his credit, my dad valued the farm enough to move back to it to raise me and my brothers. His career made it possible for the farm to be maintained for several decades until his son-in-law, Reuben, started a small vegetable CSA that grew into Willow Haven Farm.

I want you to have that glimpse into farm life, both ours and that of the fictional Nathan and Hannah Coulter.

From the Farmer's Book Shelf

I'm going to start reading Nathan Coulter this week. It's now in my scheduled reading time. I recommend the book to you as well. I'd love to see if any of you join me. Send me a book review if you do.

Reuben, Blaise and Britta came back from Wyoming refreshed and inspired by the kind of education they glimpsed happening at the college they visited. Pairing the classical liberal arts with outdoor programs in a community of like minded students is just the kind of challenging learning that our farm grown kids are ready to appreciate.

Great books learning is what it is called sometimes but the great part comes when you experience the realities that you are studying.

We share our reality with you and invite you to participate from home or by visiting the farm. Whether it's teaching you how something grows or a need tip for making your food more delicious and nutritious, we are glad we can be a resource for you.

Prep Your Herbal Remedies for Winter

To help you become even more self-reliant, we've invited Clinical Herbalist, Jim Furey, to return for a workshop day. These two workshops will focus on what you can make now to have ready for the dark days of January and February to help your family combat winter illness.

📆 Workshop Day: December 2nd
🕙 Time: 10 AM - 3 PM
💫 Featuring: Clinical Herbalist, Jim Furey
💡 2 Workshops: $29 each for farm members. $35 for non members.

🌿Stay tuned for more information, coming soon!
All details will be posted at:

👇You can get on the waitlist for this event by letting me know here. 👇

Growing Self Reliant Farm Members

"If I can't make it or grow it myself, I know where I can get it from people I know." - Lisa L, Oct 2023

Our farm members know that we are doing the work, both in the field and in the office, to make REAL, HEALTHY food available to them every time they customize their Market Box Delivery.

NOW is a great time to become a farm member. Our Fall and Winter season is full of amazing food that never stops even though other CSAs and farmer's markets are closing.

We'll keep farming for you!

Reuben and Tessa DeMaster
Willow Haven Farm

P.S. Find out how a Market Box can fit into your life. Need help deciding what size to get? This free download will help you decide What Size Market Box will fit your life.

Thinking of unsubscribing? CSA members need to stay connected to our emails but you can limit them to just vital information about your membership by clicking here.

Tessa DeMaster

Growing up on my family's farm in Pennsylvania, I never would have pictured the life I live at Willow Haven farm. As a kid I spent summers in our large family garden we called, “The Truck Patch”. I helped mom every summer, picking beans, weeding, and cutting fruit and vegetables for the hundreds of jars of canned and frozen produce we put up. Now I spends less time out in the field and more time in the kitchen doing the same preserving for my own farm family. Farmer Reuben values my many hours doing much of the behind the scenes marketing, writing emails to cultivate customers and capturing the farm story each week. I'm always learning along the way in my quest to improve the farm experience for each of her current and future farm members in our 500+ member, year-round customized farm box delivery program. Reading our stories will connect you with your food in a way you never experienced before. Someday soon you will want to fit local food into your life and we'll be here to help you.

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