I sit hesitantly at my keyboard. The washer and dryer are rumbling in the nearby room. I look out the window at my farm shed at the back of the lot. I see the brown branches of tall trees swaying in the wind with a backdrop of cloudy skies with fresh blue, dirty grey, pillow sheet white, and golden tones from the sun that is trying to brighten the landscape. Yesterday’s snow is melting quite fast. I love much about winter and even thrive when I ride my bike (with studded tires) in the chilly air with snowflakes falling on my face as was the case yesterday. But this is still the dormant season, and my spirit feels the weight of such a long wait for spring.
The chicken hotel in the middle of my garden/pasture stands idle. My five laying hens are still residing in their winter quarters–the garage with a small run around the edge of it. They seem eager to be out, but I would need to provide more supervision than I want this afternoon. I am nervous, considering that last fall, one of the chickens was attacked by a young bald eagle. Thankfully, Addy has survived.
Other Story County farmers have been growing food in high tunnels this winter, and in some respects, I am a wannabee and would like to say that I, too, had mastered high tunnels. However, I have no reason to get a head start on the season. In fact, with my appreciation for the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, I wonder how vegetables that are grown “off-season” (even if virtous because they are locally-grown) fit with the concept of eating in tune with nature. Might it not be best to wait to eat fresh greens in season. For sure, there are some vegetables that I will eat only in season. For instance, asparagus unless a gracious hostess is serving it for a meal. Wow, do I delight when asparagus is ready in the spring, and I walk to my garden in my pajamas in the morning to harvest some, then check for eggs from my layers, and cook a skillet of onions, garlic, oregano, asparagus, and eggs for my breakfast.
I tell myself to appreciate this fallow season, and that even though my moods are flat and I feel like napping with the cats much of the time, this season is good for me. I hope that subconsciously, my psyche is working (perhaps sorting out priorities) just as there is much that is invisible but happening in the soil during the long winter season. As it is, I find this a good season to declutter, finding good homes for items I no longer need. As it is, I have been thinking about personal priorities and commitments to let go of. Taking up writing for this Blog seems a good, new priority.
Keeping an archive of photo and text helps put life in perspective. It is fun to have photos that I took a year ago. My March 7, 2012, calendar entry says, “Warm weather, garlic shoots emerging from ground.”
I also recall seeing plenty of blossoms on my young fruit trees. But lo, a late cold spell slammed the area, and my trees had only three apples and no other fruit during the season, and few central Iowa growers had apples to sell. With our climate change and the precarious nature of apple and cherry blossoms, I am wondering if it is not wise–if I intend to plant new sources of fruit–to invest in more of such things a raspberries and gooseberries that do not blossom until summer. But alas, I have saved scionwood from both a Sweet 16 and Jonathan apple tree and have ordered rootstock from Raintree Nursery in Oregon. I guess I will be doing some grafting in late April. And I have ordered more gooseberry plants.
Well, I have a new camcorder and must learn how to use it to document the “Meet the producers” day at the Farm to Folk CSA here in Ames tomorrow. I look forward to documenting other food and farming activities as well. So I will be reaching out to farmers who have interesting projects in their green houses and are beginning work in their gardens.