The Trials of Spring
Spring is an enchanting time of year: a time of beginnings & awakening, verdant shoots of green grass, sprightly wild flowers, multi-colored flowering fruit trees, sap is rising, people falling in love, and so many beauteous things. For me, it is all of those – and also one of the most stressful times of the year. How so?
Spring: “sap is rising” is a common expression – my energy is up too: I wake up at 5:30, coffee, yogurt & toast, some quiet time, and then I’m ready to GO! Except that it’s cold & rainy out – not fair! Nature is geared up & my motor is revved up – with no place to go! I guess I could go fishing, repair farm equipment – but, in the rain?
THIS IS THE HARD PART – WAITING. Many think that the challenging part of farming & gardening is the work – well yes, it is a lot of work – but at least, when I am working, I feel good/productive. I can work long hours and my body aches – and it feels so good compared to “chomping at the bit” (a reference to bygone days when we worked with horses: they were ready to go and we held them back with the bit in the bridle…).
Rain – there is nothing as comforting as the sound & smell of rain when we really need it – I wake up in the night and hear the pitter-patter on the rood and ah! all is right with the world. BUT - it is equally discouraging when we have too much. Folklore around here says you should always welcome rain – if you don’t, you’ll be looking for it soon. I know I should be thankful for the rain but by the 4th week of it – I’m ready to scream & do an anti-rain dance.
At Sandhill, we put a lot of energy into agriculture: food for ourselves as well as to sell. In general, more of the food for ourselves is raised in gardens (smaller plots near our houses) and field crops are more for sale (although our fields are very small – the largest being 3 acres). Most of the human energy here goes into producing food for ourselves and we eat it fresh as well as preserve it – canning, drying, & freezing. My partner, Gigi, manages a lot of the production in our gardens – which entails coordinating people to do the work – some are experienced, others are new. We have 4 interns and 2 visitors here now – they mostly work in the gardens. I manage field crops and bees – I deal with fewer people and more equipment. I note that Spring is both a high & stressful time in our lives &our relationship: there is so much to do and talk about. When the weather is ideal, we barely see each other because we are busy. When it keeps raining, we see each other a lot – and we fret about being behind schedule: we have transplants that should be in the ground; she is trying to keep people busy outside of the garden and I am trying not to work soil that is too wet.
WAITING – a challenge and difficult part of farming. Why can’t we just RELAX and enjoy – whatever the weather?? Ah why not indeed? Perhaps it’s time to read, meditate, do yoga, go for a walk, admire the wildflowers….