As the old silver barn project comes to a close, (hopefully by Sunday the milk goats will be chomping down on hay and settling in to their new posh digs) I’m acutely aware of the next tasks that lay ahead, The garden. Yes, soon I’ll be starting onion seeds, celery, then broccoli cauliflower and then tomato, pepper, and eggplant by mid-February.
So winter, as it is a time of rest it’s also a time to lay the groundwork for the spring and summer months, the months which produce 90% of the farm’s entire year income. So yea, there a little bit riding on this. But I always enjoy this time. It’s a time hope sprouts ideas and visa versa. I sleep in a little, linger in the fire warmth of the yurt over coffee, I journal, I write and then the sun comes up and I do the work that will hopefully make all of the difference come April.
I’m still trying to figure things out though. I’m constantly trying to make improvements and sometimes the improvements I think I’m making end up not to be so. Trial and error. The challenge is catching it fast enough and being willing to change. To let go of how or what I thought was going to work. This coming year my single biggest and most important task is to gain a greater understanding of my soil. I know it’s all in the soil! Sometimes this soil fools me and leaves me scratching my head in confusion. I do know this; the soil on this land is very depleted of nutrients, everywhere. The drainage and erosion are problems. So I’m dealing with a kid that has a lot of problems that stretch back to many years of misuse and neglect. And here I am as best I can with very limited resources trying to help. It’s been slow, but I have seen progress, I’m just hoping for a magic bullet. Right.
I’ve had one person insist, I’m just not harnessing the soil and the landscape’s potential, but they have never farmed a day in their life, only read books and stories and seen a few u-tube videos, so of course they have the answers. They’ve never stayed in a place long enough to listened to what the land is asking for, and watched the ebb and flow of the seasons. The changes of temperature and rain fall amounts over the years. Because things change year after year, nothing ever is the same one year from the next. Except for the hours of daylight throughout the seasons and the earth’s rotation. (as far as I know at least). For several years we might have sopping wet springs and very dry falls so we learn how to adapt, then once we do we are then faced with several years of dry springs and wet falls. Go figure. The only way to have a sense of resolve is to keep trying. To keep listening, keep watching and to revel in the few successes.
So we brush the dust off our bones from the last season and start again with a renewed sense of hope, of excitement and dreams. And although we feel relaxed about things now we know there are storms ahead. No denying it. There will be miserable days in the cold, miserable days in the heat, but we’ll continue to push our limits and our strategy for staying alive and well for as long as we have the privilege to do so, because we’ve seen the miraculous days and the gratifying days and the days filled with joy and this knowledge is the nutrients we need to grow and that’s how it works.