So once again the end is here, one more Saturday market. Just as the finish line is in sight, the starting line appears. Yesterday we planted the first seven beds of flowers for next spring- Sweet William, delphinium, scabiosa and more. Today leeks go in for next spring too. This is one of the main reasons we stop selling at this time of year so we can concentrate on growing for next year. Sure it’s also about the improved quality of life that comes with a reduced schedule and enjoying the fall weather especially after this brutal summer but it is equally about getting ready for next year. The coming year is really made the preceding fall as we prepare the soil with mineral amendments and raise up the beds we will plant next spring then seed them down with nourishing cover crops that will protect and improve them over the winter. We will slowly plant flowers and vegetables to overwinter too so they will be ready for those early markets next March. Finally we are planning and ordering seeds and plants and dreaming of new things to entice you and interest us.
Then there are the projects we can only do in the off season and the meeting season begins all too soon as well. The big project has already started, the final addition to the house, a living room. The mason will finish the foundation today so that it will be standing there waiting for me to strap on the tool belt in two weeks to frame it up so it can be dried in before it gets cold. This means the rest of the winter will be filled with interior and exterior finishes, I promised Betsy that I would have the construction done by the time we were 50, I figure a year late is not too bad. The meeting and speaking calendar is already full too, beginning next week when the national cut flower meeting is in Raleigh where Betsy is an integral player and I will be giving a presentation. Two more conferences in North Carolina in November including the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s meeting in Durham, where I am giving multiple talks. December takes me to South Carolina to speak at the Vegetable Growers conference. January is too full, with trips to Tennessee, Missouri (where I am the keynote at a vegetable growers conference there) and Kentucky. Late February I am off to speak at the Georgia Organics conference and March might take me back to Missouri. Betsy is thinking about heading to Italy in February for a cut flower conference there and then to see our friends while I am hopefully hiking out west. In between all of this will be sheetrock and trim and painting and flooring; I wonder when I am going to get to read those books on my side table? We will keep you updated on all of the off season activities will a monthly newsletter.
Finally we want to thank all of you who have sent kind messages through out the year in response to one grousing or report of yet another obstacle we have encountered and reported to you. It is our hope that through the newsletter that you get a feel of what everyday life is like on a small farm like ours. Sure there are hard things that happen but majority of our work is calm and rewarding. The good news is that after all that has happened this season (late freeze, drought, no blueberries or turkeys, poor and late spring crops) we have roared back and have had the best season we have ever had (as far as gross income). That is a tribute to a resilient, sustainable farming system we have developed over the years, of which all of you are no small part, thank you again for your support!