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Shifting Tides in Weather & Life.

On the Farm . . . what's happening this week - 2/18/16.

This week finds us getting trays ready and purchasing potting mix to make seed blocks. In a few short weeks we will be starting onion seeds! Bill's also cleaning taps and getting his tools ready for maple syrup season which could start anytime. Our mindset is shifting from the quiet of winter to the craziness of our "busy" season. We are starting to imagine walking out to the fields in shirtsleeves instead of zooming out all bundled up on a snowmobile.

Right now all our harvesting happens indoors with microgreens grown in flats and spinach grown in the hoophouse. It is comfortable, warm enough even to shed the outer layer of our winter wear. The steamy environment smells "green" to me - reminiscent of summer. And now that we are again enjoying 10 hour days (more light for plants to grow!), we see last fall's plantings of spinach and mache (a salad green) beginning to germinate. More concrete evidence than the calendar that the tide of winter is slowly beginning to turn.

Last weekend saw my family gather at a large cabin on Petenwell Lake to remember the day my dad died two years ago. That day significantly changed our lives and, ultimately, us. While there were a few sad moments, there were many opportunities to play card games, put puzzles together, discuss political issues, prepare meals, read books and magazines, walk over the frozen lake marveling at the sheets of ice rising up along the shore, engage in general silliness, and contemplate again how our lives have changed since Dad's suicide. He would have loved this gathering whose sole purpose was to simply be with each other.

It felt to me like another tide shifting. While his leaving still hurts, sometimes overwhelmingly so, the violence of it seems to be losing ground to our many memories from before that event. My sister Lauren had said after his funeral that she didn't want his life to be defined by how it ended. That it was much more than that. At the time, I didn't see how that could happen. My disbelief, guilt, sadness, and questions were sometimes overpowering. I couldn't remember "before" without ultimately thinking of the seemingly senselessness of his death.

But I think it is slowly happening. At least sometimes. It is a relief not only for me but for all of us. His death is part of his story and ours, but I see now it is only that - part of the story and not the totality of it. While I feel sad at all he has missed in the last two years and at how much we have missed his presence, I'm hopeful for the memories that we haven't yet made.

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