You can believe what you will about global warming, but global everything-is-going-to-heck is an inarguable fact. We didn't have our first frost til late October--then it snowed 5 inches--then it basically didn't snow all winter, until March, when it snowed another 5 inches... and now two weeks later it's EIGHTY? I'm not complaining--we're blessed with a great spring-fed pond to irrigate with and strong silt loam soils that don't mind a little warm, dry weather. Like every other farmer I've talked to, though, I can't help but feel a little unsettled... what does this MEAN?
Regardless of what it means: We'll take it! This time last year we were still buried under snow, and we hadn't even gotten the materials together to build our greenhouse, nevermind have it full of plants... now we've got our upper field plowed, the garlic's up and looking happy, the greenhouse is filling up with hopeful little sprouts, and things feel good. Amazingly, even the flats down by the river seem nearly dry enough to work--though we'll do some investigation with a shovel before we actually take equipment down there. Those soils have a lot of potential, but handled wet I think they also have a lot of potential to really be unpleasant.
Along with the winter salt, some enterprising rodents around here have been active over the winter. As we unpack things from their winter resting places, we're sometimes greeted with unpleasant reminders that we're not the only tenants of this ground. And just like in your kitchen, they don't just eat a piece of bread and be done with it, they chew the corner of every slice in the bag. This is a good hundred feet of layflat irrigation hose that's junk now. It's enough to drive a man mad.
We've also finally gotten our act together enough to register the farm with WWOOF, an international organization that coordinates volunteer workers on organic farms. Volunteers come live and work with us, and in exchange for a half day of work each day, they get room, board, fresh air, fulfilling work, and the opportunity to learn something about how we run our farm. We're already getting inquiries and are excited by the prospect of having both some help, and also some unusual company around. Some of our first contact through WWOOF are three Taiwanese girls who plan to come in July. Can't wait!
...since we're hoping to make our farm as welcoming to volunteers as possible, we also figured we ought to get some boats. After all, a volunteer or WWOOFer has to do SOMETHING with all that time he or she isn't working! So along with my never-ending list of farm needs, I've been searching craigslist for a kayak and a canoe. Today I drove Chucho down to Ulster County and picked up both at once, for a pretty good price! Even though we're already bewilderingly behind on our to-do lists, Cara and Tucker and I made some time to go out on the river before dusk today. The river's half full of water from the fields drying out, but it's a very gentle, slow full. It was a really nice moment to reflect on how lucky we are to live such a great life, in such a beautiful place with this strong farm to care for. Sure, we work like dogs, but we like our life, too... and now there's BOATS!