picture perfect summer’s night

It is hot this weekend.

We are sweaty and smiling, splashing in and out of the small kid’s pool in the front yard.  And spending the bulk of our late afternoons at our favorite creek, further up in the hills from the farm than the river just down our road, but better when it is really hot and the crowds are out and the colder, mountain water feels just right.  We can’t work much in the heat, so we play.  We break into the small stash of frozen raspberries and blueberries even though they were meant to be saved for winter.  We treat ourselves.  We are summering.

I love this weather.

I love the feeling of being baked, like the earth, to perfection.  I drink it in, I feel myself unfurling.  I need a good dose of it to make it through the grey Pacific Northwest winters of my adopted home.  I am, by the sun, a leo after all.

And the plants are soaking it up too.  Well watered, they love the heat just as much I do.  I feel like I can almost see them growing by the minute.

But even more than the intense middle of the day, when the temperatures peak, what I really love, and miss the most from my childhood’s Midwest summers, is the evening time during an Oregon heat wave.  Perfect summer nights, still warm, without a need for a sweater, but still cooler than the day.  If I were younger, I would just throw down some blankets on the ground and sleep outside.  If I could, I’d find some water to swim in under the moon.  Those are the kind of summer nights I love.

Last night, we walked the fields in this perfect slowing down, simmering down time of the day.  The sounds of the birds and the bugs, happy again to not be sweltering, filled the air alongside the blanket of dusk.  I had my camera back in hand after a very long two week break of lending it to the oldest boy for art camp.  I missed it, missed looking at our space through the lens, capturing this light.  I gobbled it all up and stuffed it into digital files again.  It was lovely.

This year’s growing season has been amazing.  The weather, the plantings, the success.  A true gift.  I wish we could bottle it up and pour it over ever year to come, but we know all too well that this isn’t how the game of farming works.  Nevertheless, it does feel like it was meant just for us, a balm from the universe to heal the wounds of last season, the first year that ever had us doubting our chosen profession.

Looking around last night at all the happy plants, pest free and thriving, the happy soil, the growing perennials, the beauty of our home, I almost couldn’t believe it was real.  We are truly blessed.   And we really do love what we do and all of the things that are a part of that, the good and the bad.  We are happy, despite everything that could get in the way of our happiness, and that is about the most anyone can ask for.

This place is ours.  Our vision turned reality.  The cumulation of all our choices so far.  It feels good to be able to say that we don’t regret any of it.

Last night was perfect summer’s night.  Picture perfect, yes, as captured in photos.  But more than that, it was, just like any other night in our lives, imperfectly perfect.  It was us walking our land. Food growing, and weeds too. Naked small people running around that I couldn’t take pictures of, sometimes stepping in the rows, sometimes running through the wild.  They were stitching their own sense of summer into their bare skin.  My only hope for them, and for all of you, is that there are enough golden moments in the journey to always make the whole thing seem to shine.

farm, farming, csa, field, summer, summer night

 Shining view of our lower field.  We’ve planted more space down there than ever before this year.  This golden, golden year.

farm, farm life, father, son

Down the hill with papa on a perfect summer night.

tomatoes, farming, farm, csa, organic farming

All kinds of tomatoes growing, growing, growing.   And not too many weeds, hooray!

carrots, beets, lettuces, succession planting, farm, farming

Succession plantings=success!   Carrots, beets, lettuces.   These, we keep planting every few weeks into September. 

salad mix, lettuce, farm, farming

Up close, salad mix.  And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

lettuce, field, farm, farming

Even sprouting up in the wrong place, she grows.  Lettuces are almost as beautiful to me as flowers.

cabbage, farming, farm

Red rock cabbage, even though you are behind schedule, the color of your leaves will always make me swoon.

irrigation, farming, farm

We make do, it is what we do.  Meaning, no fancy irrigation equipment here!

sprouts, succession planting, farm, farming

We were once this fragile too.

tomatillos, farm, farming

Tomatillos make me drool! 

green beans, farming, farm

Beautiful bean planting, so healthy and happy, and no pests.  Good.

love, farming, farmer, green beans, farm

I really am loving this year’s bean plantings.  And every year, more and more, I love this farmer too.

view, farm, farming, home, love

This is our home.  Sweet, sweet, home.

the quickening

quickeningmoon

The quickening.  Can you feel it too?

That is the word that has been coming to my mind again and again  these past few weeks.  And lo and behold, it is also one (of the many) names given to this week’s full moon.

The beginning of things.  Or more accurately, the middle.  Almost the tipping point, but not quite.

The slow, gradual journey to fecundity, started with tiny seeds, and now itching our skin from the inside, almost ready to be found on the outside, in our bodies moving, full again.  Full of life, which of course we are all through these sleepy winter months, but still, full in louder ways, full and abundant–that is what we are now stepping foot after foot towards. It’s thrilling.  And the word on the tip of my tongue so perfect, so encapsulating of these feelings stirred in the blood by so little a thing as earlier sunrises and daffodil shoots.

When you feel those first few butterfly flutters of new life in your womb, the moment is a rush of excitement and awe, wonder and delight.  But everything is wrapped in the yarn of anticipation.  Don’t we love those little fingers and feet brushing against us from the mystery of inside out?  Even when all that is to come is still hidden.  Everything is unknown.

the mystery of seeds

Of course, we feel this way about a farming season too.  The eager anticipation that begins with making the plans, ordering the seeds. Germinating before germination. Cleaning up the seed starting greenhouse, mixing the potting soil.  And then, sowing.  Tediously filling up a large space with very tiny things.  It is all so good.  Good because of what it means, what it intends–because the real birth of a season comes much later when we see what kind of spring weather we’ll have, how much rain and when and for how long, and whatever other particular awesomenesses or challenges arise from the earth along with those plants.  A mystery teasing us now in its all promising way, quickening our pace bit by bit until soon it will require full laboring.

And then, reaping, always abundantly, one way or another.

But for now, I will stir that word around in my mouth a while longer.  I know too well that the cycle goes by faster and faster with each breath.  The quickening.   For now, while we are still able to pause and savor it all easily, without too much weight or worry, we will revel in the magic that is the unknowing, in the promise.  Spring is magic.  And hope, faith.

All things sweetly anticipated and reverently moved towards are more graciously received.  The whole process is a joy, each part inseparable from the whole.

My pulse quickens at the thought of those long, ripe days of summer; I seriously long for hot and sweaty skin, I do love the sun so.  But when it arrives, it will be all the better because of this season of calm.  Watching those perky daffodils grow without any hurry, their greens a cheery sight, there yellow bonnet flowers so much the more, I attempt the same myself.

It is the quickening, but that translates to slow and steady, inch by inch.  It is a happy pace, and definitely a picked up pace.  But not rushed, nor wild.  It is that special place between worlds.  It carries movement towards, healthy, sure growth.

Like an expectant mother, we wait.  But like her too, we nourish ourselves while we can.  We prepare for the birth of the season.

the quickening