Farm Musings ARCHIVE . 2023
Once Again, Spring
Time marches on, despite my best efforts to keep it from slipping by before I’ve checked off my to-do list. Here it is, spring again, and I marvel at how short it seems since I last sat here looking out the window at the emerging daffodils. April showers are making outside work unpleasant today, which is just the excuse I need to force myself to sit down and write.
As with every year on the farm, last year was packed with activity that consumed my time. Ever the over-achiever, at least in my mind, I’m left with the sense that I didn’t get enough done, that I’m perpetually behind. I struggle to keep that in check, to enjoy the process more than the outcome. It remains an ongoing challenge.
The biggest event since I last wrote was that we had a new barn built and the old barn was torn down. This has delightfully changed the look of the farm and has given us much needed safe, sturdy, and dry storage for our tools and equipment. It has also alleviated the constant source of worry that the old barn was going to spontaneously collapse taking all of our stuff with it or, worse, catch fire, taking our entire home with it. We sleep much better now that both issues have been eliminated.
I finally got my greenhouse assembled, thanks to the help of two very dear friends. I could not have done it without them as they served not only as extra hands but very patient coworkers with valuable skills. The green house is now a toasty refuge for my seedlings and I look forward to many years of puttering in it.
I took a part time job at a local garden center over the summer and, despite having to juggle the hours with the farm work, loved every minute of it. Flower gardening is my other love and I don’t spend enough time doing it these days. Working at a place where I can talk to people all day about pretty plants is just about as perfect a job as I can imagine. Of course, a garden center is essentially a candy store for plants addicts, so it was a challenge not to spend my entire paycheck on the tempting inventory. The struggle was real! I will be returning to the seasonal job this spring and look forward to seeing both the people and plants again.
As if I didn’t have enough going on this past summer, I took over as Treasurer of the Canterbury Community Farmers Market so that our much-loved former Treasurer could take a well-deserved break. This involved shadowing her at markets all summer, trying to absorb as much knowledge and history as possible. It is a daunting task, one that my professional experience in regulatory compliance has equipped me for, but I also have the constant support of the former Treasurer-now-just-our-bookkeeper to keep me sane as I navigate the financial aspects of our market’s 17th year in Canterbury. Be sure to visit the market each Wednesday afternoon starting May 31st and stop by the market tent to say hello!
There are a couple of changes to the farm this year that I hope will provide some new inspiration. First, I will not be selling vegetables this year to the Canterbury Country Store. As with my decision to leave the farmers market as a vendor, this was not a decision I made lightly. There are multiple reasons for making this change, which I may discuss in a future blog, but it ultimately comes down to time. I want to focus on other things here on the farm but I also want to be able to sit under the maple tree with my husband and do nothing. My husband’s already limited free time has been further shortened by his recent election to the Town’s Select Board, a job I know he will give his all to because that’s just who he is. It means our ability to take downtime will become even more of a challenge and I want to make sure we can take the time we need. This does not mean I won’t be growing vegetables, however. On the contrary, I’ve come up with an exciting community garden idea that I hope will prove to be successful and perhaps a springboard for something bigger. There will definitely be more about this project in future blogs.
The other change, or redirection of efforts, will be in my flower gardens. Too many years have gone by with me looking out my windows to flower gardens neglected and unrealized. Flower gardening helps me keep my sanity. It allows me to relax and lose my cares in the possibilities of the latest perennial planting. I do my best thinking while weeding, dividing and moving plants. I also volunteered to have my gardens, both vegetable and flower, be a stop on this summer’s Canterbury Garden Tour. As insane as I’m sure some of you are thinking this decision might be, it is just the kick in the pants I need to refocus on one of my joys in life. Plus, I have this slightly ridiculous goal of someday being featured as one of many “viewer’s garden” segments on the British show “Gardener’s World” with Monty Don. With that goal in mind, there’s lots to do before I feel I can submit videos for consideration in a year or two. You can be sure Suzie will be prominently featured since Monty is a dog lover.
So, off we go into another season on the farm. There will be more poultry, more vegetables, and more gardening than ever but, thankfully, no major renovation or infrastructure projects. I always start the year with the best of intentions to write more and I really will try to stick to it this year. As with taking downtime, writing these blogs forces me to stop, look around and savor the passing of time. It’s something we should all do more frequently, don’t you think?