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On the Farm - March 30, 2016

We are making the switch from Winter Shares to Spring Shares this week. This includes welcoming new members to our farm . . . and saying good-bye to others, either for the season or for longer. People’s lives change, and sometimes CSA isn't the right choice for whatever reason. The McMillan family was inspired by their Yearly Membership to make their dream of owning a farm come true. Now they will be growing their own produce. We feel proud and excited for them and wish them the best. Unexpectedly, Bill is still adding to our syrup harvest. Because our sugar bush is down in a steep and narrow ravine, it hasn't warmed up the way most other locations have. While it will mean more syrup, it takes away from the time he has available to make soil blocks, work in the fields, water in the greenhouse, make repairs, etc. He always pushes himself this time of year, and the last week has been no exception!

And now more than any other time there’s more paperwork. I'm busy processing new member information, answering questions, and organizing our records. It’s also my job to keep us on schedule and to continuously review this year’s crop plan revising as necessary. Since our seed starting greenhouse isn't finished yet, we have growing lights, shelving units, and tables filled with flats of seedlings set up in our living room. Every few days more flats come out of the germination chamber and encroach on our space. It is a little challenging to maneuver around the trays of tiny plants. Sound overwhelming - sometimes it is. Don't get me wrong, the planning and potential of this season feels great. We are certain this will be our best year yet! Our seeds are germinating and growing well. We are better organized. We have new techniques (new to us) and some new tools to help us be more efficient. And we have new workshare members to help us.

Through the view of our rose-colored glasses, we realize the chance there may be some disappointments. Heck, the weeds may get away from us once in a while. (Wink, wink!) Even so, this will be a better year because with every growing season, we learn more about vegetable farming and encouraging the soil structure of our farm, both of which are conducive to growing abundant crops.

We also become wiser about ourselves and about sharing responsibilities. Working under a deadline, around - and sometimes through - harsh weather, dealing with sudden obstacles like an unpredicted frost, packing produce late into the evening for the next day's delivery, or dealing with a broken part on our tractor strips away the protective layers we wear most of the time. Bill and I get down to the nitty gritty of both our business and our relationship. It seems to be an opportunity not only for the growth of our farm but for us personally. It’s a time to re-dedicate ourselves to our goal – working together making a living growing nutritious produce.

Well, let's just say . . . we are deep in that process right now. And while I'm certain we are growing - sometimes it is stressful. We are tired and a little overworked. We get frustrated with each other. How could you forget to do that? Why did you do that? Did you move the tool I was using? You do chores today. Okay, then you make supper tonight! Arghhh!

Fortunately for us, the stress of Spring is coupled with promise and hope. Kind of like when a new baby is born. Its soft skin, endearing coos, and enticing baby smell help new parents make it through the sleepless nights, mountains of dirty laundry, and seemingly endless nursing sessions.

Being out in the sun, smelling the fresh air, seeing earthworms working in the soil, watching seedlings sprout and stretch toward the light, and having people sign up for our shares helps Bill and me keep our focus. It helps us catch ourselves when our tone gets sharp and our words harsh. The wonder of it all helps us be kind to each other.

And, ultimately, that is our most important goal.

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