3/16/06 Vol. 3 #1

Well here we go again!  That statement can be applied to a lot of aspects of this late winter?, early spring season.  Market in two days?  It just seems brutally early but  with the weather we have been having it almost seems too late.  Saint Patrick’s day tomorrow and the first day of Spring on Monday.  Last year on this date it actually snowed on us.  Not this year, I just came in from running the irrigation on the lettuce field.  We are beginning to get really worried about the potential of the drought for this coming season.  You may remember the picture of one of our ponds near the end of last year, pumped down to almost empty, well after an entire winter it essentially hasn’t comeback up an inch.  We have only had it not refill one other time in 25 years!  We are now in the process of refilling it from the other pond and the creek to try and have some water on hand for what is shaping up to be a worse drought than 2002, which is the worst of all time since we have been farming.

The big theme that goes with “here we go again” is that this is a big year for us!  You will probably hear references to this all year but this is what we are calling our 25-25-50 year.  This year we will have been married for 25 years, farming for 25 seasons and we both will turn 50 this year!  The numerologists will go wild with this I am sure!!  Twenty five springs of wondering what it will be like, new beginnings, new crops, new ideas to try.  It is still exciting and scary after all these years.

Despite how wildly busy and un-winter like this past few months have been the farm is actually right on schedule as for as planting goes.  Betsy has taken time out of studying all things Italian to make sure that I focused enough so that we got things done in a timely manner.  The poultry plant saga rolls on and has used up more time than we could have ever imagined possible.  I would like to say it is all running smoothly but can’t.  I do feel as if we have turned some major corners and things look better in recent days.  So good in fact that I have ordered turkeys for this season, six more months of good bird stories!  The first 6000 heads of lettuce are in the ground, the peas are up as is the spinach, turnips, radishes and more.  Lots of flowers in the field too, we just now need to get some water to them to make them grow.

The winter speaking season ended last week with two presentations in Asheville at the Organic Growers’ School.  I also traveled to speak at conferences in Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia.  Good folks at all these meetings and we feel that the small farm-local food message is really growing by leaps and bounds.  One more big meeting this weekend (the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group board meeting) and I can finally stay home and farm!  Betsy is still taking Italian class two nights a week and I am taking a pastured pork production class one night a week, think prosciutto and pancetta!

Picture of the Week
Fantastic Anemones
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