Monday, March 19, 2012

On the cycles of farm life

Friday, the rain came. It wasn't supposed to be a lot of rain, but the mountains trapped it on the farm and a steady drizzle continued for much of the day. I had intended to start some additional seedlings in the morning, and then cut up some branches I had pulled from the field. I decided against both things, the chill in the air didn't lead me to want to open the greenhouse shelves, the peppers need it about 80 degrees consistently. It's silly to cut firewood for next year in the rain, with an electric chainsaw. So instead I spent the morning working on some marketing items.

That's the thing about farming that people don't often realize- the marketing/business end of things. While yes, the most pressing concerns are often related to survival/thriving of all things living (feed, comfort, shelter, water etc)- you also have to have customers. So we've been taking a few ads out, still trying to explain what choosing our CSA means- and why you should trust us to grow most of your food. After a long morning staring at a screen (which I am not especially fond of doing), I looked around for how to make the most of the weather.

I ventured out into the rabbitry to see how the kits were fairing with the chill, and not surprising- they were bundled up in mama's nest, but clearly active and content. I then realized that there was one task, which could be done indoors- and I had no excuse to avoid. The barren doe, had to go. She was our first doe, and of course, we handle our livestock so that they are fairly friendly when we need them to be. But, despite multiple breeding sessions with a proud grand-champion buck- she had failed to produce a single litter. At that point, she was unlikely to ever conceive. Farms can not afford to feed much livestock that do not provide a benefit. And in utter practicality, we needed a plan for dinner anyway.

Maybe that sounds harsh to some, but the reality is we break our backs to provide a high quality life for all living things here. And in return, they graciously provide for us. For every pound of feed the doe was eating, that's a pound more we'd have to purchase to feed rabbits going for the CSA- with no prospect of continuing the productivity. The time it takes to care for her, could be spent caring for members of our farm who are able to provide us with nourishment and income. And so without much fan fare, but genuine thanks, I dispatched the doe and prepped the meat to chill for dinner.

With that task done, and already in the kitchen- I peered out the windows to see the rain continuing in a steady determination to keep me inside. The improvements on the house have slowed, now that she is (mostly) functional. The farm was quiet and resting. So I took the opportunity to paint our kitchen a deep red. It took about a million coats (and needs one more) but the result is very much Us. Warm, bold and inviting, the kitchen is settling into be the welcoming place we wanted. Where coffee is served, meals are shared, and cats stare out from the windows observing birds and moseying sheep.

And it's really that simple here, and that complicated. Small business owners, butchers, and handy-people. All in one day. Rhythmic, exhausting and deeply satisfying. 

No comments:

Post a Comment