I think I may have a small case of the farmer blues.  Nothing gets you down like an already cool spring topped with 12.5 inches of rain that washes your hard work and top soil down into the valleys below.  No, it’s not really that bad, it just takes the bounce out of your step, the teeth from your grin and the white from your clothes.  Nothing that a little time, sunshine and hard work can’t clear up in a jiffy.  But it really is something to see.  Our county, Vernon, got hit hardest (over 12inches) last weekend and our little La Farge, which sits on the edge of the Kickapoo River had to be evacuated by boat.  Again, we’re thankful for being on the ridge  but were ’land-locked’ in and without electricity for over 24 hours.

Minor clean up and minor damage; just praying for sunshine!

I have become aware of how I pay so much closer attention to weather patterns and how they affect the growth of plants now that my life revolves around them;  verses my life when I lived in town and storms were actually kinda fun.  I remember a time when I would hear the bleeping on the radio that interrupted the broadcast to warn the listening area of strong storms approaching.  I remember walking out onto warm pavement and holding my palms up to the sky, wishing I could be closer to the storm than the residential area I lived in.  Something really alive was coming and it was dangerous and wild and had the attention of everyone who listened to radio or watched television.  I loved the sound of thunder, and lightening excited me.  The two combined with rolling dark clouds were  better than ice cream in August at noon.

It’s somewhat of a ritual for us here on the farm, to wake up in the morning and hop on the internet and check our two favorite weather websites and compare them to plan our day.  We usually have more than one plan for the day, depending on what shape the sky is going to take.  The weather is our all-holy ruler.  What the sky says-goes!  We like to ask nicely for rain or a few extra hours of sunshine or maybe a calm breeze on a hot day, but we usually have to compromise to make it through.  This is the nature of farming, checking in with the big boss every morning.

I take weather much more seriously now that I have so much more at stake than my material belongings as when I was a child in my mother’s home with nothing to lose.  Some of the very basic needs for our lives are growing in our little 6 acre field across the road.  We’re putting together  a rather complicated collage of plants in patterns and rows and sections that will produce enough food to feed over 100 families for half of a year or longer.  Like Buddhist monks and their sand gardens, we’re out there transplanting, cultivating and harvesting every inch of that six acres with our little  hands, humming our little garden songs.  We love this garden, and are attached to it in literal and spiritual ways, and we feel pained in some ways when strong, damaging storms come thru and rip up the roots and tender leaves and distort the rows, or wash away the mulch.

I can’t describe my relationship to weather.  It’s something I listen for when I wake up in the middle of the night to roll over, it’s the first thing my eyes look to when I wake up in the morning and it’s the pain in my neck from looking up or over my shoulder all day to see what’s coming from the West.  The weather is my silent governor that totes me around the farm and puts plans in my head for the weeks work.  It’s my best friend, one that I admire, but she has very little respect for me and/or my opinion.  And in the night , I dream about eternal sunshine.  It’s fascinating how we are so enthralled with the things we cannot understand and have no control over. 

My lesson for the week is to roll with the punches.  It’s like, if you’ve ever taken a Tai Chi  class, learning how to re-direct forceful energy that is coming at you and using it to your advantage.  My lesson is to be patient and the warmth with come, because I have no say on atmospheric issues.  The plants will grow and the food will come, it just takes time, it comes every year.

WHAT’S in the BOX???

Re-Bags !–  Something we thought everyone would like and could use to pick up their box in each week.   Hang it by the door, then toss it back in the car for next weeks goodies.

Bunching Onions– One of the most obvious signs of spring.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. 

Spinach– We lowered our quality standards on the spinach as we lost approximately 50 %of this crop from damaging winds and rain.  We picked some leaves we normally would not have harvested, but still yummy.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.    

Asparagus-  Eat it up as soon as possible!  Asparagus is best when eaten as fresh as you can get it!  Keeps best standing upright in a bowl with water in your refrigerator.  

Rhubarb-  A real early spring treat!  Full shares only-not much.

Burdock Root-  Another wild-harvested surprise!  No need to peel it before using it.