Eventually this farm blog update will be a regular occurrence, but for now it may be a bit sporadic as we settle into what it looks like to do this all well. I think one of my favorite things about this way of living is how many billions of things you have to try to juggle at once. This is probably also one of the hardest things but it keeps each day fresh, new, and busy with so many different tasks and projects. We are jumping into our first growing season with both feet, researching and learning as much as possible as we go, but always going. And it appears we have chosen the right line of work because we have loved every step of this beginning and are looking forward to each new and unexpected adventure.
Mike just walked in (9:15pm) with his head lamp on from plowing up the front lawn in the increasing darkness. As the sun went down he said, “As long as I can see what I’m doing, it’s not too bad.” I replied with, “True, but you CAN’T see what you’re doing…it’s completely dark out.” To which he just shrugged, turned the lamp on and headed back out. This is, for me, proof of the real beginning of spring: my husband-farmer’s unfathomable diligence, motivation, stamina, and unending labor. The cold weather didn’t offer him the outlet he needed, but the warmth of spring is where his personality thrives. In other careers he might have been considered a workaholic, but in this role that asks so much of the entire person, he is just good farmer.
It is a blessing that our farm and our home are the same place. That is another of my favorite parts of this life: work & leisure, office & home, family time & farm time are all the same thing. There is no disconnect between the week and the weekend and 8am-5pm is actually 6am-10pm and includes everything about our life. Our “office” has an entire wall packed with Everest’s playthings because there is nothing better than the three of us being in there together working around and with each other. Today she helped Mike broadfork the rhubarb bed and helped me pull weeds and check on the chicks. She dug up worms for the hens while Mike ran the walk-behind tractor and I made dinner. Our family has been allowed to create a space where we live one life; not a work life plus a home life, but one whole life together that includes every task and every member.
In other musings, I am determined to believe that this week’s warmer weather is the real thing and that – despite the inevitable cold nights and potential hard frosts April has yet to throw at us – winter is officially over! Our basement and greenhouse are literally overflowing with flats filled with hundreds of seedlings waiting for the world to be warm enough for them. We have been forced to get creative with our space in order to house them all as we are planting more on a weekly basis. This week is particularly exciting because in addition to starting seeds indoors, we will be putting rhubarb crowns in the field tomorrow and direct sowing snap peas, carrots, and beets on Saturday. Our 33 laying hens (New Hampshire Reds) will be 10 weeks old on Thursday and are beautiful, friendly, and loving the sunshine. Our 55 Freedom Ranger chicks arrived last Wednesday and are already displaying their individual personalities. Once out of the brooder, these birds will be 100% pasture raised in the pasture pen Mike built over the winter. This will keep them together and safe from the elements and predators while allowing them to graze on fresh pasture, bugs, and seeds in the sunshine. A couple of weeks ago Mike put up a 2-stage deer fence around our growing space. This followed much study as to which was the best fencing option (there are so many!) and we’re excited and anxious to see how it holds up once we have tasty goodness growing within. My flower seeds arrived recently along with strawberries & asparagus and we should be getting our drip irrigation equipment any day now.
As you can tell, the slow, quiet days of winter have turned abruptly into season-starting-chaos and we are brimming with the energy of it all. I can easily say that our little family is ready for the change and anticipating the action. Good food, a face full of sunshine, and life blooming and squawking all over the farm is our very near and delightful future. As we move into May and June I’ll barely be able to keep you up-to-date on wonderful things that will be happening here…so you will just have to come see!