We have now begun our 8th season of growing food. As the weather slowly begins to warm, here in the Pacific Northwest, our body and mind begin to awaken. Even though we’ve lived through many spring seasons, the newness that occurs each year continues to fill us with hope and potential. Along with potential, patience and hope represent the roots that take hold of a farmer and provide her/him the philosophical stamina required to make it through an entire growing season. Although the physical aspect of operating a small-scale farm is formidable, mental stress is often the most prevalent factor as each day begins. Everything we do is at the mercy of something completely out of our control: nature. It is this unknown that makes each day an unrelenting struggle and gratifying achievement – there’s always tomorrow is more than a mantra, it is the truth that feeds our passion for growing food.
With each new season our ‘rites of spring passage’ become more rewarding, never to be taken for granted. There are six events that mark the beginning of each spring here on our farm. Without fail, each season I begin looking hard at my surroundings awaiting the returns of chorus frogs, tree swallows, barn swallows, goldfinch, osprey and the rufous hummingbird. As each of these amazing creatures let me know they’ve arrived I studiously, and with great excitement, log each event and compare to the previous seasons. Here are this years ‘rites of spring passage’:
Chorus Frogs 1/25
Tree Swallows 2/28/4
Rufous Hummingbird 2/27
Barn Swallows 3/30
While these events will certainly go unnoticed by many people, to us this marks the very beginning of what lies ahead. These creatures provide us with much more than a reason to note their arrival, they tell us that anything is possible, if you make the effort. They tell us to get motivated, get moving, and get our hands in the soil. This symbiotic relationship means everything when you take the time to notice – there’s much more to a farm than simply growing food, and we are thankful for this.