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Moving, again.

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After nearly 3 years, 2+ years full time, we are leaving the Excelsior Middle School in the fields of Boone. Sadly, again, this move is not by choice. We’ve been evicted. Well, our landlord has. Suddenly and surprisingly, maybe with cause, maybe not.  Either way it seems the school district wants their building back, and immediately. So we are spending this week and next moving.

I’ve moved this little company quite a few times and there is always a pang of sadness leaving a space but this time it feels quite large, the sadness. It hasn’t been easy to work in this space 2+ hours away from my home. A space that has flooded numberous times, been broken into 3 times (most recently losing 50lbs of organic frozen strawberries), and has incurred many trappings of tarantulas, lizards, toads, crickets, a snake, cats, and the neighbors dog who insisted she belonged in the break room with us instead of in her own yard. The water heater has broken, the heater too, for days at a time. We have sweat it out through the summer in an air conditionless 115 degree kitchen and huddled around the burners in the winters to stay warm. I’ve cycled through several employees there,  with Pete being the only consistent presence, he and my landlord Doug coming and going to check on things, his boots muddy and his coveralls dirty but his demeanor always sweet. My most favorite thing about this kitchen though was watching the seasons change, the farmers work, the coming and going of the yearly bird migrations, the sunsets after a long day, the expansive skies with ever changing cloud patterns and the colors of the black cattle against the tan shorn winter fields. The peace that comes from observation of time passing in these fields is foreign to me, but in this instance always comforting.  

We will be moving into the Fuel & Iron Commissary Kitchen in Pueblo proper. It will be our 9th kitchen in 11 years of making jam. It is a brand new shared kitchen and we have already put into place a couple pieces of equipment we were able to purchase with a grant from the Colorado Department of Agriculture that we were not able to fit into the infrastructure of the middle school kitchen, so there is always a bright side of things. We’ll have less “rural” service charges for deliveries, we can go out to lunch somewhere and there is AC and heat, which it turns out are pretty nice to have. There may be a slight delay in orders being processed as we figure out our new flow but don’t worry, I’m a pro at picking up and starting again in a new space. Once my friend Patrick joked I could make jam with a lighter and a spoon.

I’m quite grateful for this often uncomfortable chapter of RedCampers book and life will go on. It’s unfortunate things had to end the way they did though and my heart goes to the farmers affected by this closing of the space which was a dream of a coop space that was never fully realized. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you hope. The only constant in life is change.

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