Sea turtle wisdom means killing your darlings.
Well, if you wondered whether the yo-yo quality of weather patterns here over the past few weeks would make us a little strange, let me provide the following:
Every morning, for the past 10 days, Alex has risen to our alarm and immediately grabbed his phone. He checks his weather app which elicits either, “ Ohhhhh noooo....it's gonna be 28 degrees this Sunday night. This is the wooooorst!!!” Or, “ YESSS! It's up to degrees! This is the BEST!”
Turns out, farmers have a more dependent relationship with the weather than most, and it indeed does make us a little weird.
It's been cold and rainy here this week, which always slows us down a bit. We have loads of transplanting and direct-seeding to tend to, but varying levels of swampy mud between beds dictated how much of that we could accomplish.
The greenhouse, however, is humming along.
Of course, you would too, if you were partying with all different kinds of friends at your own private fiesta hut with your very own heater and drinks brought morning and night.
Just look at 'em. Aren't they almost a little smug in their happiness?
The teenage statice and bachelor's button flowers mingle with the bok choy and spinach, all showing the barely-emerging tomatoes, eggplants and peppers how it's done. Everyone's friends, and everybody's healthy.
It's been a great week for pals of all kinds, actually.
A neighbor dog has been making it a habit to saunter up on Saturdays and visit a while. He gets a little top-of-the-head lovin' and we're all content.
We were also particularly lucky to attend a 'Happy Farmer Hour 'with fellow growers, makers, farmers and nature-lovers. The first of what will hopefully be many, it was a unique and welcome chance to relax and socialize with people and...well, do what people do when they relax and socialize.
In my case, that involved a beer and lots of jokes, some of which might have been funny. Despite that, it was a real treat to allow folks who work so hard a chance to share some golden free time with others who relate to their same challenges and blessings. Let's just say Alex didn't need to explain that dramatic romance with his phone's weather app.
Plus, The Mosquito Cafe on the island has a tremendous happy hour.
You'd think with this many new friends and all this chilly weather, we'd be less anxious to get out and seed some more friends. Not so. Keeping the greenhouse full-to-bursting and tending to our germinated seedlings in the field has been a large task of late.
I'm constantly thumbing through our cataloged seed reserves, writing varieties on popsicle sticks and, when I'm not cursing the loss of feeling in my fingers, I hang out on my haunches and scoot down aisles of new seedlings, pulling out most of them to make way for a chosen few.
It can be seen as a brutal business, this business of plant-editing.
I think of it akin to the way a frog or sea turtle mommy--or any living thing really, but picture a frog or sea turtle-- have thousands or hundreds of eggs. Not all of those little fellas make it--nature's rough. But some do, and they flourish in a way that none would if we chose to never pluck and remove most of those baby bok-choys.
I remember the response of one of the first farmers I worked for, when I voiced the sentiment, "Ohh, it's so sad to pull them out!" He looked at me sympathetically and said very matter-of-factly,
"No, it's not sad." He picked up one just-thinned seedling and brought it close to his lips. "Just say to them, 'Thank you for your life.' Just thank them."
And so there it is. I no longer think of it as loss. I just thank them.
I love looking at freshly-sown rows and imagining the tender new life that will grow from each seed. Some won't live. Some will be thinned by the farmer, some will be eaten by caterpillars, some will become bunny food. The heat, the cold, the rain, the whatevers... we have to be thankful not only for the ones that make it, but also the ones who don't.
And so, this week, we're not only grooving on a toasty greenhouse and making new connections with people in our field, but through our simple farm tasks we reaffirm all those good crunchy-granola feelings of oneness. Feeling in harmony with the lifecycle and all that.
Of course, basking in the oneness doesn't stop us from moaning like pregnant cats about ice-cold feet or the damn bunnies that ate 5 ft of new sweet peas, so hopefully that will keep any self-importance at bay. :)