two days

i remember a day, probably a decade and a half ago a new friend was touring me around his high tunnels in the middle of winter. surrounded by amplified sunlight, row upon row of of green leafy vegetables, and an engaging host, i was first introduced to seasonal affective disorder. WHAT? yep, my friend claimed he was prone to the lack of sunlight, short day, long night, winter blues and his high tunnels full of work and light and warmth and produce were his cure. funny, i thought, kind of funny.

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i guess at the time i hadn’t ever had the winter blues. i was new to farming, new to parenting, new new new, it was all too thrilling to notice the gray skies. but now friends, RIGHT NOW, i know all about it. when day after day dawns cloudy, when the dense gray cover refuses to part and let my beloved sun come through, i start to go a little batty. sure i have a cozy house. heck, we don’t use solar power as my beloved farm wives do, so i can still work on the computer, i can do indulgent things like plug in holiday lights. but nothing, nothing, beats the sun.

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when last week gave me two glorious mid december days of full sun, i knew without a doubt i needed to spend every waking moment in it. i picked the biggest possible current project and dug in. literally. full of straw, hay and aged manure one of our livestock facilities was in need of a clean out.  we had been talking of it for weeks, now that hay feeding season is upon us, we wanted to build a compost pile from last year’s leftovers and have a clean slate for our milk cow to over winter. the timing was perfect. the job was perfect. the weather was perfect.

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last winter’s residents at the shed

two sunny days passed. seven truck loads were moved. one big compost pile was formed. we felt great, the sun and work restored us. the gray has returned. i know this cycle will repeat over and over again until the sun comes back for good next spring. in the meantime, i will treasure every ray i can get!

DSCN0110wishing you all peace and pleasure as the days shorten. soon we will celebrate the solstice and welcome the return of the light. oh yes.

 

can do

since last we met in this space there has been a lovely series of sunny days. the return of the sun has helped me settle in to my spring groove.  spring holds with it a plethora of necessary tasks which can easily overwhelm. i chose to focus on what i can do: greenhouse work.

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here on the farm we have one 22′ x 45′ heated greenhouse. once we began using season extension in our high tunnels (we now have 2 of them, each 30′ x 96′), the support of a heated greenhouse became a critical component of the mix. generating plants the year round helped us utilize the tunnels more effectively. while far from perfection, these spaces are a true balm for the early and late season angst! not to mention it houses my son’s small but delightful citrus project.

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i am not sure if any of you have been so lucky to inhale the sweet fragrance of meyer lemon flowers. intoxicating and lovely, their scent surrounds me as i generate plants. the warmth of the greenhouse, the scent of citrus blossoms, the flats of newly emerging green. yep, i have found my spot.

this photo is actually from last year, i am still without camera

this photo is actually from last year, i am still without camera

our ground remains fairly soggy, field work now would be a mistake, one we have made many times over in the past and one we keep promising we won’t make again. working the fields too early leaves the soil structure cloddy for the entire season ahead, it seems only another deep frost and thaw cycle can mend those errors. so, with intention, and sometimes a bit of difficulty as i opt not to do many other tasks, i plant myself firmly at my post in the greenhouse. i sort through the seed packets, i make soil mix, i slow down and breathe deeply and head to my spot. with the sweet smell of citrus beside me, i sow seed after seed, filling flat after flat. i inhale and keep my daily watch as the seeds sprout, the first true leaves appear, the amazement of the promise that lies ahead.

and then there is paul. he too suffers the pressures of the emerging season, perhaps more so than me as he really plans the field work and executes the growing season here. luckily, while i focus on the greenhouse work,  he too has found the perfect place for his restless hands: he is framing the roof supports for the top of our nearly complete root cellar.

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in the windows of  opportunity that presented themselves during the past winter, we completed the foundation and laid the block for our cellar. now,  these have been lovely days for construction, sunny and mild, he can focus and execute a perfectly timed project

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we need this space complete.  during the hot summer months the earth will cool the area to house our harvests. as the season progresses, we can fill her to the brim with winter squash and potatoes and many other storage crops. you see now, before our daylight hours are consumed entirely in the gardens,  is the perfect time to finish this project.

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it can be all too easy to move through life clinging to the reminders of things not done, lamenting on tasks not complete. i am trying now to live daily life reminding myself of all that i have done, all that is complete. all that is possible. with each aspect of life, why not focus on the positive. the benefits are undeniable.  friends, join me, it’s fun!