June 17, 2010

The Clouds are Either Half Full of Moisture, or Half Full of Delay

The other day, Jacob pulled me into the greenhouse. "I want to show you something," he said. "Look at all of this. Look at what we've accomplished. Look at how much work we've done."

He was referring to this:

I laughed out loud. Just the day before, I took a moment to fully survey the greenhouse and got a little despondent thinking about all the work we had ahead of us. "All of this," I thought, "Has to be in the ground in the next few weeks."

So, the greenhouse is either half full of accomplishment or half full of work, depending on your vantage point.

Luckily Jacob and I have a knack for balancing each other. On days when I see work, he sees accomplishment. On days he sees a to do list, I remind him of all we've caught up on. That's what marriage is all about, right?

But back to the greenhouse. There are two main reasons it is still so full this late in the season:

Nights are still dipping down into the mid-30s, leaving us a little leery of transplanting things like tomatoes and peppers and the likes. Last Saturday, as a matter of fact, we got our last (knock on wood) frost and it got a few of the tomatoes we'd just put out to harden off. (They'll survive though.)

And, with all that cold is coming lots and lots of rain, which has hampered our efforts to get into the field to work beds and transplant.

But, as a kid who grew up on a dryland farm I'm never going to complain about moisture, no matter how much it's pushing us back. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that just when you think something is not working for you, like all the rain, you turn around and see that it's just what something else needed, like our emmer and Kamut and lentils:

Just look at that pretty stuff, popping up in nice little rows.

We delivered our first CSA shares this week and despite our worries about not having enough yet, we filled bags with lettuce and spinach and kale and radishes and our customers walked away happy -- some even overwhelmed with the bounty. We have so much spinach that we're delivering our first order to the local IGA tomorrow. So, the weather has been good to us in some ways, and bad to us in others.

There's the lesson.

The truth is, farming is an exercise in surrender. Surrender to weather and pests (we've stopped losing tomatoes, by the way) and schedules that are not your own. We control very little on this little patch of land and sometimes, that's just as it should be.

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