As a local farmer, I spend most of the winter wandering around in a mental fog. I am not sure if it has to do with the intensity of farming and that after the final harvest is put away I just sort a need a break. For sure, my body is tired, but my mind is wiped out. Farming is like riding a tornado. Every day it touches down somewhere on the farm, I get off and then I am immediately whisked away by the next tornado.
This mental fog could be attributed to the obvious—I am getting older. But there is more to the story. It probably has to do with identity. From March to November, I am a farmer. But from November to March, I am a little lost, as if in a fog. Sure I am meandering around planning, fixing things, avoiding any outside chores when it is miserable. I do get to read lots of books with my younger ones during this season.
One time my kiddos bought me a lazy boy recliner (hmmm…aptly named?) for Father’s day. I picked out the perfect one, brought it home and promptly took it back. I RARELY SIT DOWN! And even if I were to recline, I am sure my kiddos would AMBUSH me! So if I need to recline (aka. sleep), I just go to bed.
But something happens in March. As soon as the daffodils are blossoming, I am snapped out of my fog and my nose perks up in the air, like my Labrador retriever searching for a scent. I become completely coherent with purpose and direction. I notice the buds swelling on fruit trees, the chives growing, the grass growing and that the robins are back. I notice where the soil is drying out and watch for a weather window to “open the fields.” And at that very moment, when I am the farmer again, as if by instinct, I peer off into the horizon watching for that first tornado—I am ready.
Farm Update: We have planted peas in the greenhouse, which are just popping up and should go out in a week, if this gorgeous weather holds. We separated and planted several goose berries bushes, raised the grape trellis another foot and transplanted the Doyle blackberries so they wouldn’t shade the grapes.
We are repairing and replacing fence for the herd of Angus and Hereford cattle that will be arriving for their summer grazing. Sadly, most Americans are forced to eat feedlot beef existing on a diet of genetically engineered corn and soybeans. Yuck!
I really like raising beef cattle and on my farm the cattle get to live a pretty idyllic life. They have lots of grass and room to roam. We move them every day to fresh pasture and mostly leave them alone. Besides our healthy soils, the water from above and below our farm and the sunshine produce a crazy amount of grass, and what do cows love to eat?—grass. So, for a cow coming to our farm, grazing on grass and gazing at Mt. Pilchuck is a pretty good gig.