Summertime and the livin’ is easy

A touch of relief

Exactly one month later, at last it has rained again.  With the intense heat and pure dryness, ultra-ugly scenarios had taken hold of my brain: 100 degrees and sunny for three more months.  Well, we are far from out of the woods, and this .4 inch of rain won’t last long under the punishing sun.  But just perhaps this Summer will not be one big dust bowl.

Perfect Potluck

Thanks for another wonderful solstice gathering: ideal weather, good food, good music, and especially good people.  These events are really meaningful to us.  It takes the energy of a community to make this farm happen, and we are blessed with such a super, supportive circle of giving souls.

The alliums have arrived

The barn is full of gorgeous garlic, and lots of nice onions are maturing early.  You really have to love these crops.  Come what may this Summer, we will have plenty of these cooking staples to go around.  We used our last of last year’s storage onions in June and have a hard time imagining life without the aroma of garlic and onion cooking in the kitchen.

The low down

Here we go again, breaking weather records.  A few weeks ago the garden was in fine form, as good of a start to the growing season as we have had.  Now, however, we are in dangerous territory, on the precipice of something perhaps quite ugly.  One soaking rain in the last seven weeks, and that was a month ago.  We have seen this kind of heat and drought before: the crunch of dead grass underfoot, soils baked into impenetrable bricks, lesser plants dying and great trees giving up noisy leaves to the hot breeze.  This is not so uncommon in August.  But June?  This is the time of year when plants become established and strong, not when they merely struggle to survive.  That the hottest, driest months are yet to come could well spell a very long, painful Summer.  Have I mentioned that we do not have an irrigation system in place?

Clearly I have put off irrigation as long as possible.  Farming is being a juggler of priorities and endless investments.  In order to farm, we bought land.  In order to work the land, we bought equipment.  In order to store the equipment, we fixed up the barn.  In order to grow crops for human consumption, we bought and built a deer fence.  In order to store our harvest, we built a “walk-in cooler.”  We made it to year five on this un-irrigated farm without getting badly burned, but the droughts have never come so soon, and we have to be prepared for even greater and earlier droughts than this one.  My hope is in a week or so to have drip lines running to an acre of our most critical crops.  My hope is also that it will not be too little or too late.

Farming is not for the faint-hearted.  Blueberry growers in these parts had their crops wiped out by a late frost this Spring.  Cattle farmers, as the grass goes brown and the hay gets eaten, may well sell off cows.  Tobacco farmers may just have to call it another lost year.  For generations now, the fates of many farmers have been in the fickle hands of the jet stream.  You roll the dice dreaming of a big, bountiful year and you get a devastating hail storm instead.  Another bad drought, flood, or storm sends the unfortunate farmer to the city looking for work.  We don’t get paid just for trying.

No one knows what the coming months hold.  A resurrected Summer?  A luxurious Fall?  More of the same into October?  An early killing frost?  Regardless, we are blessed to have you behind us.  CSA lives on, and it provides us all some security in a volatile world.  Though we can’t make it rain, we can together ease the pain of nature’s whims and sustain into the future a fertile place on earth.  Though “the market” couldn’t care less about hot and hurting farmers, this community of love is like a gentle mist of mercy from above.

The ever-expanding community

It’s not a goat.  We’ve already added interns and honeybees and more chickens.  Some time around the new year we are expecting a little sibling for Clark.  Courtney is in good health and getting a lot more rest than she is able to during the school year.  We are so thankful for the way in which you have embraced Clark and been so good to our family, and we have no doubt that the new arrival will be just as celebrated and fortunate.

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