Find me in the flood

Find me in the flood

I wake at six o’clock to a steady, soaking rain. Yes. Not yes because I’m excited to be out in the cold and wet all day, slogging around in my mud-caked boots, or because I’m particularly ready to jump out of bed in the pitch darkness of late November. It just sounds good. It sounds right. It sounds like late November should sound in the Willamette Valley, finally.

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When "so much" feels easy

When "so much" feels easy

And all of a sudden, the season is nearly done and I haven’t written in a month and there is still. so. much.

So much to catch up about here, so much to finish at the farm before I drop it for the winter, so much recovery, so much gratitude, so much to mull over, talk about, try to improve. At times in the midst of the season, when I’d be chest-high in crates of peppers to sort or swirling amongst fifty eager people doing ten different projects, the “so much” felt like too much, and I would long for the winter, when I could reminisce with romance while my back rested and my skin faded back to its usual pasty hue. Sometimes, farming throws at us just too much to truly enjoy.

But then the markets end for the season, and every day is no longer completely consumed by harvest and processing….

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Winter's passed

Winter's passed

I think we made it.  Through winter.  I mean, I don't think it's coming back.  It hit me, not earlier this week when I was sweating in a T-shirt or burning the back of my neck in the summery sunshine.  It hit me this evening, when I was walking my friend's dogs in Westmoreland Park, looking toward a rainbow stretching up from a field of camas and buttercup, realizing I was wearing only a thin sweatshirt a few hours after a thunderous downpour.  Just a few weeks ago, such a rain would have chilled me to the bone.  There wouldn't have been any tulips to catch those droplets, or steam swimming up off the freshly tilled fields as the sun shone through the thunderheads.  There's still a couple weeks until the average last frost date here, but this feeling of relief-- six months in the making-- is too great to let that sway me.  Winter's passed, I say!  We made it.

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Waiting over winter

Waiting over winter

So much youth and newness surrounds this time of year.  Buds and blossoms creaking open, shoots breaking through soil, tender baby transplants being tucked into the earth.  It's so easy for me to focus on the novelty and freshness of firsts, and get swept away in the excitement of seeing the first blossom, the first sprout, the first harvest.  Just this afternoon, as the Tuesday crew set out zucchini plants over freshly laid plastic in the new high tunnel, we marveled at the miniature yellow fruit that some of the plants were already producing.

All these things are awe-inspiring, and if I allow myself to stay present and appreciate each one, they're all special and meaningful.  By this point in the season, though, all the cuteness starts to blend together for me.  It's too much to take in.  I get tired of relishing new life.  Yes, the tomato stems are thickening exponentially and the first round of red kale has clearly taken root and started to settle in.  But nothing we've planted this season is anywhere near maturity, or gives off a sense of wear and age.  Nothing is strong yet.

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