Why are we so happy amidst the slosh and sludge caused by the incessant spring rain that has, inevitably, begun its months-long parade? Acceptance, I answer. The embracing of "what is." Understanding that this is all part of the farm dynamic and that all this is beyond our control.
Oh, and a few days off the farm. That's gonna help a whole hell of a lot, too.
We're taking the quickest of trips to Santa Fe, New Mexico this week. The strange warm weather of this Fall meant we kept planting and harvesting which meant we never really took the seasonal break we've come to expect in the final months of a calendar year, which mean we never took a real vacation for ourselves. As we take firmer and firmer steps into this 5th year of our farm, we know that in order to keep going and remain strong we have to take occasional breaks (and learn not to feel guilty about them--that's key).
It was an absolute joy to have more harvest to bring to the markets last week--arugula, be still my heart-- and if we can come through this most recent avalanche of rain we might just have even more abundance for when we return to markets this weekend. We're planning on reopening the farmstand some time in March, but it too depends on Mother Nature. We had many new transplants and seeds in the ground before getting pounded with rain last Friday and earlier this week. As always, we'll hope for the best and move onward, ever!
And lest you think the only thing that makes us happy is blissful ignorance and holding turquoise in the mountains, I thought I'd share these few memories from the past week that put the broadest of smiles on my face:
If you're familiar with Dr. William Johnson, I don't even need to explain why he makes me happy. But if you're not, let me tell you that every moment spent in Dr. J's company is 100% pleasant, enlightening and companionable. He's a horticulture expert for our corner of the world, and he was one of the first people to learn of our endeavor to farm organically in Galveston County. He's recounted to me several times how he withheld judgement until he saw us endure one Gulf Coast summer, and once we'd made it through that (scarcely unscathed, but with a sweaty determination to continue), he figured we'd be all right.
Dr. J came to the farm this week to perform our on-site inspection required for our Certified Naturally Grown certification. This peer-review system depends on the generosity, knowledge and flexibility of experienced growers in whichever area of the country you grow in, and Dr. Johnson fits us like a glove. He endured multiple pages of paperwork, a long and muddy ride in the rhino and a lengthy discussion with the chickens. (He was particularly tickled with our beautiful rooster, Rusty.) I'm most excited about the samples he took from one of our Einscheimer apple trees. A few of them have a funny pest and/or disease problem that I couldn't sort out for myself, and you wouldn't believe how immensely comforting it is to have my resident expert snip a few pieces of branch to tote back to his office and examine with his fellow plant nerds. My proclivity for taxonomy and obsession with nipping things in the bud wherever possible (pun absolutely intended) meant I was going a little crazy not knowing what to call the crumpled leaves and wispy webbing I found on the tree.
We often miss the community we felt when living in upstate New York and North Carolina--the organic agriculture scenes there are bursting with support, meet-ups, potlucks, workshops, happy hours and constant camaraderie. That's been far harder to cultivate here, but it's moments like the one painted on Dr. Johnson's face above that make me happy to be here.
On that same note, I owe a credit to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Galveston for their marvelous generosity last Sunday. As market manager, I arrange various community outreach events for Galveston's Own Farmers Market, and last weekend we had our second-ever "Taste the Market" event, hosted by the SDA-Galveston group. All week we discussed what produce would be available from the various farmers and they arrived at market prepared to put together tasty samples and share them with our customers. It's a large diverse group of volunteers who are nothing but smiles. Not once do they mention what group they're with. They bring no flyers, no posters or signs.Their lack of self-promotion and desire to serve others is nearly confounding but for their very obvious mirth and gratitude to be there. All they wanna do is hand out beautiful, bite-sized snacks in order to highlight the joy of eating fresh and local.
And you know, it IS a joy.
All the more so because of the cheer and kindness evident everywhere you look. I'm so proud to be a part of that energy, and so grateful for its presence.