From the first of the year on, we begin the slow but steady work of building another season on the farm. The seeds are ordered right away (actually before the new year this year), planting schedules are made, the year’s business plan and goals are hemmed and hawed over until written down as good. By February, trays of dirt and seed begin to fill the greenhouse, with planting, either in the greenhouse or in the field, continuing from this point on through summer. Yet even when the whole ball does get rolling in the middle of winter, April and May mark the beginning of being busy. Busy with ground prep and planting spring crops, then ground prep and planting summer crops, getting everything ready for the start of the farmer’s market season and CSA harvests, all while tying up the loose ends of winter side work and the children’s school year.
I always feel a little frantic at this time of year, even when the farmer doesn’t and he is working twice as hard. Days like today and yesterday, where we peel off the sweaters and roll up our pant legs to keep cool help it feel like everything is going to fall in place; but when just earlier in the week we had to work on prepping the wash station instead of planting while it rained and we lost one of the younger chickens who didn’t make it in for the night to the cold mid-thirties, it can seem like warm, dry spring and summer won’t be here come the end of this month.
When there is so much to do, it is hard to let the weather dictate your schedule. Still, we have now been doing this for going on four years; we have learned over the last couple of years the importance of taking time to relax, to be together in the midst of farm busyness. So, like last year, the maypole was raised and children wrapped it willy-nilly because the weaving was too much, but the dancing and silliness were not. And today, two generations of mother’s living on the farm (for a bit; in the same town-for good!) are being celebrated with a day away from the work, both the day to day work of dishes as well as the long hours of weeding and planting that would normally make for this family’s sunny Sunday. It is hard, in some ways, to take a day like today off. But in other ways, when we don’t take time to let go, to keep celebrating life (which is really what our living and working on this farm are all about anyways), we let go of one of our farm’s founding tenants-sustainability. Not everyone is a mother and needs to celebrate today, but we are all reborn in the warmth of May, so we all have an excuse to find time to enjoy this month…this glorious, busy, expanding, full, and forming month.