The seasons blend together so beautifully, I have to make a conscious effort to acknowledge that today marks the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. Butterflies are beginning to show themselves, the Canada goslings are shedding their down and unfurling their gently tucked feathers. The field, garden, and all plant life is bursting at the seam and growing before my very eyes. We are in the throes of, in the height of new growth, of life emerging into its fullness. Welcome.
Summertime on The Farm looks like this: glorious & bright eastern sun rises; steady barn chores and pasture management; endless mowing; occasional naps in the hammock; plenty of bike rides; wading pool and sandbox parties; vigorous garden weeding and watering; evening boat excursions that usually begin or end with fishing; some evening campfires and firefly watching. The firefly display in our goose pond this year is spectacular. Our son, excitedly, asks every night:”Let’s go see the moon mama!” Or “Daddy, let’s go see the fire bugs!” Watching him delight in the summer wonders is like summoning magic into our lives. Bless our sweet boy for all the gifts he brings.
Our vegetable gardens are growing well. The broccoli and brussel sprouts are particularly healthy this year as is our red leaf lettuce and arugula. We tried putting some strawberries in pots and that was not very successful. However the herbs we planted in the old whiskey barrels are overflowing. In our two northern facing (shady) barrels we planted spearmint and parsley. In our three southern facing (more sun exposure) barrels we planted cherry tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender and lemongrass. And I suspect we will have some cherry tomatoes to enjoy in just a few short weeks. There’s nothing quite like a sun warmed sweet cherry tomato fresh off the vine.
Oh, how I love the Summer Solstice…..
It has been said that there are two springs in Minnesota: The Thawing & The Greening. On The Farm, we are in the midst of The Greening. Excitement, rebirth, and the gentle unfolding of spring abounds. There are the early bloomers like the maple trees, already greening. And there are the late bloomers like the black walnut trees, their buds are just beginning to emerge. All unfolding in their own time and with a grace that humbles me to my core. The momentum of our ascent moves forward as we approach the summer solstice, after which we will begin our descent into rest and dormancy. The seasons are a beautiful mirror, a reminder that everything is a process.
The crops are in, our garden is planted (with a few exceptions) and we look forward to watching it all grow. Right about the moment I thought the ground was too dry and our rain barrels getting too low, the spring rains swept through, offering us a reprieve from our watering chores and our endless outdoor ‘projects’. Taking this moment to nourish other parts of our life, the parts that we seem to overlook during this very busy time of year.
Reminding me: With the rain comes the flowers.
The grass is growing, buds are swelling into blossoms, our gardens are tilled and we are ready for spring. Our compost this year consists of aged alpaca & cow manure mixed with shredded leaves. We decided to move our vegetable gardens from down the hill by our barn to our front yard. Through the years we’ve discovered that, for us, weeding and every day maintenance is the real work of having a garden. In the beginning planting is labor intensive, but a successful, abundant, and sustainable garden takes dedication and self-discipline from planting through harvesting. So, with this in mind, having our gardens right outside our front door and easily accessible will help us tremendously….especially with a little one running around. Besides, if we are going to landscape, why not make it edible! There is just so much to think about and to get done this time of year.
You know, it’s easy to get caught up in the list of unending ‘projects’ around the Farm (that could be said of life in general) and there IS a sense of satisfaction seeing a project complete. But to be honest, I feel the most joy in those tiny moments in between the start and finish; tilting my face toward the sun, taking a deep breath and a sip of water after digging a few holes for our garden from which we will gather food and replenish our bodies in a couple short months. Or watching our son splash in the puddles on our way down to the barn for chores. For me, it’s important to take in those moments, to widen my perspective from task oriented to in-the-moment-experience oriented.
I’m looking out my window at the lake down the hill and the waves indicate there is a strong northwest wind. What opportunities will blow through our life today?
Budding with possibility.
Today, I saw a flock of ducks fluttering across the dreary clouds in the late morning. Strange since it is only February, a gentle reminder that we never know what to expect. It felt like a tiny miracle; the first sighting of our migratory friends, bringing with them the promise of Spring. We are going to tap our Maple Trees this weekend, since the temperature is above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. This is the time when the trees begin sapping: pulling all of the stored sap from it’s roots up through it’s truck and out to each limb. Before we know it, there will be buds and then the slow unfoldment of each perfect leaf. So beautiful. I will be posting more about our tapping and syruping process here, and on our website / social media outlets. Visit us at http://www.natureseconomy.com
As the weather begins to warm up and I begin to shake off the cold, begin to turn outwards again, I am integrating the meditation below. Cheers to renewal & rebirth!
“Eastern Sun melt the cold from my bones, curtain rise. Take the darkness from my eyes, breathing in. Pulling life into my lungs, as a child, I am born again.” -Ayla Nero
A time for rest. I’d say our growing season is o v e r. Ha, well past over. With the solstice behind us, the sun is growing stronger every day which is rather exciting for us gardeners and our pasture-grazing friends. Still, it IS winter and with that comes an appreciated reprieve from our outdoor projects, well most of them anyway. This time of year our outdoor activities include: barn chores-taking care of our alpacas, geese, and chickens (who are keeping warm in their barn down the hill); ice skating on the goose pond; snow shoeing & tree trimming; blowing our driveway; and some good old ice fishing. What a treat it is when Steve comes home with some fresh fish for dinner. Taking a breath, taking a pause, embracing the season. And beneath the winter snow is life waiting to be reborn.