- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

THOMPSON, Iowa (AP) - Two years ago, Mary Walk found herself at a crossroads.

The longtime Thompson postmaster was informed by the U.S. Postal Service that her job was going to be eliminated in 2014.

“I thought, when this happens and I don’t have a job anymore, what do I want to do?” Walk said. “I happened to kind of look out in the yard and I thought I want to be able to garden all day.”

The 51-year-old has been a Master Gardener - a title awarded those who complete an extensive horticulture program offered through university Extension Services - for 14 years.

So she started Linden Hill Farm, a community-supported agricultural operation, The Mason City Globe Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1sZn0vP ).

She grows 27 types of fruits and vegetables on about a half-acre on her property 5 miles south of Thompson.

“I’d been kicking around the idea of a CSA for a long time - six, seven, eight years. I thought, you know what, this is time. So I jumped right in,” she said.

“I had six shares the first year, which was a great opportunity to kind of work the kinks out and get things figured out.”

She averages from seven to 10 shares.

Once she completes her time as postmaster - her last day is Sept. 30 - she is considering expanding the business by selling to grocery stores and restaurants.

She hopes the business and a partial pension will keep her afloat.

“Maybe I’ll have to go get something part time during the winter. But I am hoping this will kind of take off and this will be my major income at least through the summer,” Walk said.

“It’s fantastic. When you get to a certain stage in your life, rather than say, ‘I work because I have to,’ I want to say ‘I work because I want to.’

“Everybody always says, ‘Isn’t that so much work?’” about gardening, she said. “Well, I don’t think of it as work. It is, but it’s fun work. I could sit out here all day and pull weeds. It doesn’t bother me at all.”

Walk has lived on the acreage since 2000.

“I was born and raised in Woden so I still consider myself kind of a city girl. I like being in the country,” Walk said. “It’s quiet. This is where I like to putt around or just kind of sit and do nothing.”

Cara Chapman, a fellow gardener, has known Walk for more than 10 years.

“I have learned a lot from her with her gardening talents and skills. She is lifelong gardener,” Chapman said. “I helped her move from Grafton to Thompson and she filled my truck twice with flowers.”

Walk is looking forward to the new challenges coming in the future.

“Take a chance. It takes a little guts.”

___

Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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