The last week of May was filled with the more-or-less standard cocktail of mistakes, excitement, progress, and fears. Maybe today I’ll stick with some basic strategies from way back in Conflict Resolution class, which could be accurately subtitled “How to Critique Someone/thing You Love Without Causing Them to Ditch You.” The only one I really remember is the good-bad-good method, and on the farm this week it would go something like this:
The good news is that vegetables are really fun to grow.
The bad news is that we’re planting them into quackgrass sod.
The good news is that we know how to weed quackgrass.
Or a variation, good-bad-change:
It’s really great that we grow thousands of fruit trees in the nursery.
It’s not cool when the stuff we put on them to protect them from getting eaten by bugs actually kills them.
Maybe next time we should not use that stuff.
You get the idea. We’ve had some financial, emotional and agricultural setbacks whose ramifications will be reverberating throughout the life of the farm for the duration of the season if not longer. Most of the farm news I post to the blog is good news–not that I try to put a positive spin on everything, but there’s so much good going on here that it’s easy to find a whole post’s worth of pleasant tidbits. On the other hand, I don’t want any of you lovely readers to have the impression that our greatest struggles revolve around wondering if the rain will fall or what color to paint the barn trim or something like that. We are fortunate never to have to worry about being warm or fed, but the stakes are still high and for much of the farm the investment-to-payoff time lapse is six to eighteen or more months (or thirty years for the nut trees we planted) with all kinds of pitfalls along the way. Just ask me if you want to know more.
On a lighter note, there really is some excellent news this week: The remaining two pregnant dairy cows (Ryan and Kenya) have popped their babies out since my last post, and two new bull calves joined our ranks. We’re rocking out in the milk production sector and the waiting game is over.
Tyler and Elsie hosted a class of eight Waldorf third graders and their teacher for a two night trip last week, and they all got going on some great farm projects. The Brussels sprouts are planted, the trees in the orchard are starting to be mulched, the brush pile was burned, and s’mores were made by all. Today we followed up by putting row cover on the Brussels sprouts to foil the flea beetles and planting almost a thousand sweet potato slips. Mark and Miriam never cease to amaze with their sharp wits, humor, perspective, and hard work. Life is truly good, and we live around hordes of brilliant, lovable humans on a beautiful, resilient and precious planet. Thank you for your time and see in the next episode.