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The Cycle Begins

posted Jan 16, 2016, 8:57 AM by Maureen Dempsey   [ updated Jan 16, 2016, 8:58 AM ]
I was recently reading a newsletter from a farm in California.  The farmer is a wonderful writer and his most recent letter pondered the planning portion of the farming year.  He commented on how short this time is before we are up and running again in the new season.  I am feeling a little pressured right now to get seed orders in, do all the tax filing required of the business , get the sheep shorn , and order all the supplies to start up the greenhouses.  I feel for all those farmers that don't stop producing in the winter.  They grow in high tunnels, attend winter markets, do winter CSA's.  I like the traditional cycle of the year on our farm.  I spend more time with the livestock ( shovel pens, clean hen houses, watch for signs of lambing ) something I don't have time for during the growing season. Once the sheep are out on pasture, I see them very little .  And while I appreciate the technological advances that allow us to grow during the winter months ( and we may have to start doing that at some point ) I would miss the changes in the workday that winter allows and the cycle of the seasons that enables us to stop a little earlier in the day, eat dinner at a normal hour , enjoy the lambs in their frolicking, and slow down enough to make the beginning of production season exciting and enjoyable.   Those seed catalogs are a "taste" of what is to come but the toil involved in producing all that good food and beautiful flowers is still in the future. We can still sit down in the evenings before the wood stove and read that novel we just dreamed about last summer.
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