Nice to Meet You
A Bit About Mary Ward
I often think of mine as an eclectic existence. People tell me I have surprising and varied experiences. I believe most everyone does, most people just don’t see themselves for all of what they’ve pursued and experienced.
I started life on a dairy farm in a rural Massachusetts town. It’s an experience that few know for the variety, challenge, and work ethic that it is. Those who do know it, or have served as some level of witness to it, know just how far the experience of farm living and working can take you, and how much of it applies to so many other aspects of work and life.
Typical of farm-raised kids, I spent plenty of years grumbling about it and swearing off the hard work and less favorable aspects of farm life. Also typical of farm kids, I was forced to eat many of those words as I grew and matured and ended up incorporating bits and pieces of the lifestyle into my own adult life, marriage, and family.
I’ve pursued a degree, started and transitioned through a career in early childhood education, worked for private employers, other farms and niched agricultural enterprises (Robinson’s Farm Cheese and Smith’s Country Cheese were particularly delicious experiences), and various local businesses ranging from kennel attendant to local in-store baker to running a commercial kitchen for a local farm-to-table meat producer. And while this all may appear a little scattered in focus, I blame my farming and hearty New England roots. When you grow up learning to take an interest and learn a valuable set of skills, you end up wanting to use them and pursue all sorts of experiences of interest to you.
Sometimes Life Takes A New Opportunistic Turn
When life pairs a desire and talent for writing with that instilled interest and range of skill and experience, you also might find yourself accidentally becoming a freelance content writer. As a freelance writer, you’re bound to find yourself writing all manner of articles, blog posts, web pages, product reports, and eBooks. One day you might be researching precious gems and jewelry trends. One day you might be writing a guide to living with urinary incontinence. (These things really do, and did, happen.)
In between experiences I became a wife and eventually a mother of four. I married a man who, while not born technically “on” a farm, worked for almost all of them around, either directly or contracted via cooperative agreements between farms. As a point of fact, I met that man on one Hardwick dairy farm, and we had our first "date" mowing hay on a John Dere tractor at a second local Hardwick farm (one we are thrilled to say is still here today, and who I've had the pleasure or working and writing for!). As a second point of fact, thanks to Mother Nature, that man and I were the only couple ever to be married in the historic Hardwick Paige Agricultural Building. It all made it hard to pull myself away from the farm life I thought I’d never live; especially when I figured out I didn’t really want to leave it behind me, or deny our children the benefits of it.
And So Here We Are Today
Today we live in a different small-ish town than the one I grew up in, with deep agricultural roots and excellent local businesses who I yearn to see thrive and survive. When raising four kids, health, diet, and nutritional clean living tends to take on a high importance and so as our life morphed, I found myself looking back to the food and lifestyle I took so easily for granted. Long story short (is this short?), today I consider myself and my family something of modern homesteaders. I mean, I drive a car (that seats eight) but I also bake a lot of my own bread, and churn butter (in my blender) from the cream from our mostly grass-fed backyard family jersey cow. We humanely raise poultry, pork, and sometimes veal and beef; we frequently shop small farms and businesses both to support the local economy and to know that what we are eating is both ethical as well as fed and raised in a manner that matters to us.
When you live a modern homesteading life alongside work and normal child and teen activities and demands, and you chat with people online and off about these things, you tend to find out that there are others out there quite a lot like you. They have similar interests and priorities. They ask a lot of questions and want to know how you do this or that. And when you’ve spent well over a decade writing about everything from gems to incontinence, you might just find yourself waking up one day to publish a book or five through the Amazon publishing platform, and enjoying a nice little residual “passive” royalty income.
Eventually, if you’re lucky (which I do think I am, so very much so, despite some pretty tough blows dealt by life), time, tides, and personal circumstance might conspire to bring you back home to work and choose something that leaves you with the flexibility to deal with life’s less pleasant, but also frequently enjoyable, circumstances. Maybe life opens up a space to focus on that local business and farm-focused writing business you’d thought about over the past several years. Maybe the interim time spent working for those small and niche businesses, in modern, niche-focused versions of the farms of your younger years, provided a great background, ideal for providing just the kinds of services you want to bring to those small businesses and farms to help fill their voids. Maybe life works in mysterious, but fulfilling and serendipitous ways.
Circling Back To Our Local Communities
Full-circle is a place I think we all find our way to eventually. I’m a deep believer in experience and education, be it formal or experiential, and that everything we live and experience is a tool worth having. It’s my own unique circle that I believe brings a unique sets of skills and experiences to offer to you, and I look forward to working with you for your farm, venture, or business. I'm eager to hear the story of your farm or small business. I hope you will contact me today to talk more about it!