Story Pole Notes

Through Story Pole notes we will begin to share stories of our farming adventures, reflections, and endeavors that encompass our daily work and lifestyle. Matthew and I are winding down (and bundling up) from our first year of farming, and beginning to reflect on all that the past seasons have brought. Yes, the seasons of fall, winter, spring, and summer, but also the micro seasons within these defined by when the maple sap runs,  or when the nuts fall, or when the sheep are sheared, or when the hay is ready to be cut. However, before I dig any further into our experiences, I'd first like to explain the meaning and significance of the name Story Pole notes. 

Through the dawning of Story Pole notes, we are reflecting on the idea that a story pole (tool) used in building, is similar to how land is used in the act of farming. 

A story pole is a tool used by builders to measure the height of one story (from floor to ceiling), as well as other common distances. They have been an important tool for barn and house building in both the past and present. Story poles can be as simple as a small diameter tree, stick, or board cut to length, with measurements marked in pencil, pen, knife, ax, charcoal, or whatever was on hand. A simple tool, with great and steady importance. 

The story pole itself represents the land we farm. Builders use tools (pencils or knives) to make marks in the story pole to indicate certain measurements. Each mark is important and each made with intention.  We as farmers make marks in our land too. Using a diversity of tools in many different ways. Tools such as seeds, mowers, our hands, tractors, oxen, rope, or plows, to name just a few. Each mark is important and each made with intention. 

As the building deepens, the marks and measurements on the story pole become more intricate and plentiful. As we grow into our farm, plant trees and crops, raise livestock and infrastructure, our land becomes increasingly marked with the efforts of our daily work.

Instead of building houses and barns, we are building and nourishing our community (of plants, animals, and people) through raising food and supporting the vibrant diverse ecosystem that our farm is nestled within. 

Thus, Story Pole Press, recording the wrinkles of Whitney Farmstead, begins. 

Malaika Whitney