January 21, 2008
It's a cold January day out on the farm--crisp and breezy with highs in the 40's. Brrrr. Still, the winter rye is deliciously green and the garlic looks happy all nestled in its thick blanket of leaf mulch. The small hoop house is full of 4 inch high braising mix and 2 inch lettuce, baby leeks, spinach, endive, claytonia, golden frill mustards, arugula, a few small beets and chard, and a whole glorious row of sweet onions. Ah, sweet onions. I weeded the field row today. 12o feet of sweet granex onions from Vidalia. We can't call them Vidalia onions because we're not growing them in Vidalia--ah, well. They're still sweet and beautiful. I sang them a little song as I hoed, "Sweet, sweet onions, growing in my field. Sweet, sweet onions, gonna give me sweet yield." The fact that I was working alone led to a wide variety of verses, but that was my refrain, and ah, it was sweet to sing it to those gentle beauties. Bundled up against the cold, hoeing in sun, the wind whistling and singing through the fence with me, it was fantastic. Hoeing wasn't a chore, it was pure pleasure. I sang to those beautiful onions, calling them into fullness, celebrating them, telling them how much we would cherish them and how we would eat them with joy, exuberantly. Thanking them for being. I think they were smiling back at me, liking my song, reaching their long, round leaves up for a taste of sun and wind and attention. We take care of each other, we do. I tend them; they feed me--body and heart. I celebrate their beauty and flavor, they respond to my love and attention. Somehow more is created than just onions and cells. There's a wholeness to it, healing. Present being. I stood there in that field singing, in the rows where eggplant grew last summer and where the red shouldered hawk keeps watch and I could almost touch the web that connects us all. It's so close here. I wish everyone could feel it like I do.
January is a slow month for outdoor work, and a good thing, too, since June will bring us 12-hour workdays and nonstop to-do lists. For now, the list is short. Reconstruct hoop house. Weed carrots. Mulch everything. Aside from field work, we've been deep in the planning process. Last week, we buckled down for two four-hour sessions to decide crop varieties, planting dates, row space needed, seeds required--basically to plan how the spring and summer will play out for us. All in January. Still, it was easier this year. We had last year's data to guide us and a better idea of what we were doing. We're still not done. Flowers and herbs await their turn on the list. Crop rotation and location remains to be addressed. It's all a process. We'll get there.
All in all, the farm is in a good place right now. Quiet. Gently growing. Well-tended. Enduring the freezes and cold days and nights with fortitude. Spring waits in the eves, heralded by the daffodils pushing up through the forest floor. Soon she'll be here. But I'm content to wait for now--enjoying the nakedness of the trees, the open invitation of forest and margin, the lack of rampant weeds. It's a good time. I'm glad I have the privilege of being a part of it--a caretaker, steward of a land that so graciously gives and gives, even in its quiet times. May I deserve its blessings.
So here's to the Roots Farm in its second season, third year, and my continued care of it. I'm excited about this year. My heart is full of nervous anticipation, like a mama-to-be. It promises so much. Will I be up to it? Will everything work out alright? I suppose so. The farm forgives mistakes more easily than most people do, rewards effort with tangible results, and provides learning opportunities as abundantly as weeds. I'll give it my best and somehow, that'll be good enough.
Here's to the Roots Farm. In the making of this farm, I've found more than just food, more than a job, more than a home and a community. Somehow, I found myself. Will wonders never cease? Silly universe, conspiring in my favor (by the way, thanks for that). Silly me, being afraid it wouldn't. Who ever thought I'd find my way through farming? I guess the universe did. I reached my hand into the earth not knowing what I'd find and when I pulled it up, I found my roots, imagine that.