Well folks, spring is on the horizon and we are hoping for some sunny days in March! We didn’t manage to get much outdoor farm work done in February what with the land being under snow for almost three weeks and then receiving a deluge of rain after that. The water is much needed and appreciated, for we are glad to have the pond full and the creeks running briskly. We are also itching to get to going on the season.
In the new caterpillar tunnels we built before the snow came, life is springing up from beds and trays. Salad mixes, cooking greens, beets, onions, radishes and heading brassica like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are all peeking forth from the soil to see what the new day may bring. There is abundant joy in the sprouting of seeds, and the excitement of the spring to come fills the heart of the farmer.
Daffodils are on the verge of blooming, and the crocuses have already begun here on the mountain. It is interesting to see the difference in climate here in Mendocino county; our daffodils are some of the latest to bloom, often by as much as two to three weeks later than those in South county. The snow has certainly had an impact, slowing many things down. The garlic and cover crops were all flattened and are just now beginning to recover their vertical tendencies.
The pasture is lush and green, beginning to grow anew now that the snow has melted and the sun is creeping higher in the sky. We have emerged from the depths of winter and verdant growth is in our near future. We are skinning hoophouses and making plans for bed prep and crop rotations. Seeds wait patiently in their paper packets, awaiting the magic combination of sun, soil and water. Hope springs eternal, and we are feeling the oncoming as a rush in the blood.
Sunday was Amber and my anniversary, and it was the first time in weeks that we were able to spend a full day working together on the farm. Between the intense weather and my hectic schedule, there has been little time for outdoor work of late (although more time than I might like has been spent in paperwork and regulatory efforts). We cleaned out the chicken coop to make a new compost pile, and began the work of turning the last one to move it towards finish and dispersal. The red worms are present in great numbers, which is a joyous sight to see. We skinned one hoophouse and built another small one to use as dry storage for equipment and amendments.
What limited crops we have available at this time of year have been impacted by the snow that lingered on top of them for most of February. Some have been damaged by the cycles of freezing and thawing, and some have been damaged by the weight of the snow, flattening them against the ground. We are salvaging and scavenging what we can find, but we are also reflecting that there is a reason humans have suffered famine in March. We are grateful for the abundance that is accessible from other local farms and via the MendoLake FoodHub. Working in partnership, we are able to provide access to quality food and help to construct linkages within the local food system. It is a joy to be part of the journey, and we are grateful to share it with you!