Posts Tagged ‘health’

“Feelings, nothing more than feeling” by John

Today is Friday, and that means it’s harvest day. The day when we get to walk around the farm, see all of the wonderful foods that we have nurtured into being, and harvest those that are ready to nourish our customers.

Usually harvest day gives me quite a lift. It’s a chance to look at the farm for the bounty it is producing, rather than the work that needs to get done. It’s a chance to remember why we’re doing this (for the food!). It’s a chance, too, to get into the zen of the harvest – focus purely on the plants in front of you and on finding the best they have to offer. It can become quite meditative at times.

Today, harvest day was … just another day. Even though we were picking blueberries for the first time. Even though Joan harvested tomatoes for the first time. Even though we have 26 things to bring to market tomorrow and lots of all of them. Despite all that I was just … flat today. Flat at best.

I should have written about this earlier, but three weeks ago I HATED farming. We came back from a visit to Ontario and were faced with massive crop failure of our June bearing strawberries (due to poor weather), a complete overrun of pernicious and perennial weeds (due to poor planning), and a feeling of hopelessness at ever being able to make things work. We were worried about money, we were worried about the weather, we were worried about the amount of work to be done, we were worried about our bodies … we were worried about everything!

Coincidentally, it was around this time that we came to the realization that we didn’t want to stay on the farm for another year. This decision wasn’t come by easily and probably all started with a job interview in Victoria, and had less to do with one bad week than with future goals and plans, and is still something we’re agonizing over – but we’ve made the decision. We won’t be renewing our lease come September 1st. We’re planning to stay till October 1st to get all our crops harvested, but after that our merry band of house-mates disbands and we’re off to new adventures.

But back to feelings. On harvest day of the bad week everything turned around. The day-neutral strawberries were producing well and we had an amazing bounty to bring to market. This didn’t change my mind about needing to leave the farm, but at least it let me feel like we were accomplishing something while there. The good feelings lasted for a full week and on to another harvest day and then, abruptly, left.

Since then I’ve been, ambivalent about farming at best. There are good days and bad days and good moments and bad moments and on the whole I can’t seem to drum up much enthusiasm either way.

But, the farm marches on and so must we. Cindy and I have been developing a set of rules/lessons learned from farming that we need to write down at some point. The ducks are growing and we’ve been learning how to herd them from the pond to their home each night. The raspberries are producing as are many other crops and we’re feeding ourselves, supplying a restaurant, selling at market and filling orders for private sales and we’re selling eggs as fast as they can be laid. There’s lots to do and lots to enjoy and lots to record before we’re through. Hopefully it won’t be quite so long till our next post so that we can keep you all entertained and so that we’ll have a record of what the heck we were doing later in life. Cindy and I were wondering if, when we’re 85, we’ll ever believe that we used to use large sticks to chase ducks out of a pond, around a blueberry patch, and into a poorly constructed a-frame home each night. Maybe we’ll get it on video so we can prove to ourselves that it really did happen.

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“A Day Of Death” by John

Today began with death and is ending with cookies.

This morning was the first morning that I’ve taken part in all of the livestock chores for a while. Yesterday was market so the morning was a rush. The day before I wasn’t allowed outside because my allergies had been so terrible on Thursday ( got the blueberry field mowed and MAN was there a lot of pollen. I ended up almost unable to breathe. Have since bought a full nose and mouth mask with replaceable filters). Thursday … well I can’t remember much about Thursday other than hours on the mower and hours more in misery.

Anyway, when I got down toilet the ducks out this morning I did my usual count and only got to 6. It took me a moment to believe it but sure enough, one little duckling was missing. I looked everywhere I could think of (there have been a few mornings where one duck had squeezed out and ended up trying quite funnily to both avoid being seen by us and get past us back into the coop) but there was no sign anywhere. No duck, no peeps, not even a puff of feathers to show the kill site. Just – gone.

The other morning I saw a bald eagle flying up from the barn area so what I’m guessing happened was that a duck got out and got picked off before it could find a place to hide. Sad, but I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. Cindy and I added some more wood and latches to the coop so we’re hoping that the little guys can’t get out anymore. Time will tell.

Most of the rest of today was spent weeding, mowing or weed whacking so more death death and death. Oddly, I feel better at the end of today than I have felt in a while now ( have been in a bit of an emotional funk). The fact that I’m currently making cookies with my wonderful wife probably doesn’t hurt. Also the fact that I had a very productive, if destructive, day.

Have a long list of things to do tomorrow before we leave for a week so should probably get to sleep now (mmm sugar rush from fresh baked cookies). Thanks for reading.