Sunday, May 3, 2015

Back to work

Sometimes it feels like we're just talking at each other's backs as we go from task to task. Jared finished the firewood hutch on Friday while I packed the truck for our big spring sale the following day. 

Once the warm weather hit, I'm up with the sun. Not dawn, nowhere near dawn, but somewhere closer to when the sun is a half hour below the ridge behind our house. I pull on yesterday's (or possibly that week's) work pants and shirt. If Jared stirs and his eyes blink open, I'll whisper, "Good morning," and maybe, "How'd ya sleep?" I wait for his answer and then pad down the stairs.

The cat meows, but I'm moving fast now. No time to open the crooked, squeaky door behind which Mountain Kitten sleeps. I take a sip of water and head outside to... the garden, the nursery.

Once the warm weather hit earlier this week and in earnest this weekend, more plants jumped our of the ground. There's a window of time for everything on the farm. That window is now, not for every task but it's the ideal time for many. Root growth, top growth. Time to transplant, pot up, germinate and go for it.

About two weeks ago, we were waiting and waiting. Our plants weren't emerging. Days and nights were cold. We were all sick, but still dragging ass around the farm. Hard, extended cold was coming, irrigation lines had to be bled and shut off. "Twenty-nine degrees isn't 35 degrees," Jared said. The forecast for two nights looked bad. Temperatures dipped below freezing and held for hours. The following morning I felt the soil in some of our containerized plants. Frozen solid.

I hardly remember that time. Jared likes to say, "Spring is hurry up and wait." Now, it's try to catch me.

Some weeks it seems we just grind on, without stopping. No time to stop. It's incredibly exciting, unbelievable things happen - hoophouses go up, plastic films enclose them. Plants thrive in the warmth. Just weeks later the sun is strong. The plants slow down in the heat. The film comes off. Shade cloth goes on.

We smile a lot. We high five, and things go well. Then suddenly several things go badly. We all suffer a bit. We each take turns feeling irritable, critical, or criticized.


Meals come a little later than they should. One of us gets hungry and cranky. We entertain going out to eat, but it's far easier and less time consuming to boil another package of hot dogs and fry garlic mustard. This is a funny dream I'm living.

After dinner, we work until the sun goes down and the moon comes up. Tonight the moon rises over the same ridge the sun did this morning. Those glowing spheres cause the plants to charge from the ground, or dry to a cinder.

Once Beren is asleep, the night shift. Email, writing, and catching up on dishes or packing tomorrow's lunch. I hardly feel up of the task. I feel a little blue some evenings. I'm tired.

I remember when Jared and I moved to the Sourlands several years ago. It was November, winter was coming. We felt it. We bought warm, incredibly warm socks. We took window screens out and closed storm windows. We cut firewood. We had some purpose. We weren't waiting for the the building superintendent to turn on the heat in Queens anymore. Thank goodness.

Now that purpose, that sense of weather and seasons has even deeper meaning as we work on our own land. If we don't complete a task - making growing beds, transplanting, tilling - then when? Next year? That doesn't do, as Beren says.

Perhaps I appear to be complaining. Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. I am not whining, because I attack whiners like Mountain Kitten attacks my feet after sunset. Like the advertising execs at Home Depot say, "Let's do this."

Anyway, it's spring, and I better back back to work.


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