Welcome Winter

image It has finally arrived – the cold, crisp starlit nights, the frosty breath of sheep and donkeys pushing their way back to the night pasture, chickens huddling in their houses by 6 pm and bleak empty fields sleeping with the promise of the warmth of spring in just a few short months. And, your farmer?  I’m so grateful for a slower pace.  The warm autumn has allowed time to catch up on the many chores that were cast aside during the frantic pace of the summer months – new coats of paint on the chicken houses, weeding and pruning the blackberries, removing the warm weather crops from the hoop houses and replanting with spinach, lettuces, chard and other goodies. The seed catalogs have begun to arrive, complete with enticing photos of the newest heirloom discoveries and European treasures.  I really enjoy planning the next year’s garden. It’s so full of promise mapped out on paper – weed free and without brutal weather and damaging insects. I hope to attend a couple of different conferences this winter especially to learn new organic ways of adapting to the conditions the changing climate has brought to farming.  There is such a wealth of information and wisdom to be gained while spending time with other farmers who have made growing incredible food for their community their life’s passion. Farming is a demanding way of life and can take its toll on your soul – the heartache of a beautiful field of strawberries ruined by a late frost, coyotes finding their way into the sheep pasture and killing beautiful newborn lambs, a freak hailstorm decimating weeks of planting and growing. So many challenges, but so many more delights. I never cease to be amazed by the miracle of planting a tiny seed and harvesting huge, beautiful tomatoes. I simply love the flavor of sun ripened fruit – the berries are perfect picked straight from the branch, so juicy and fragrant.  It brings me such joy to turn the soil in the spring and plant row after row of beautiful little transplants and nurture them for weeks until time for that first picking. Then to take the bounty to the farmers market, restaurants and our CSA and feed you, my friends and neighbors. That is what brings me such deep joy, peace and satisfaction. So while the snow flies and the tempatures plummet, your farmer will get some much needed rest and dream of that perfect, weed free alluring season to come…