Yesterday was this Winter’s first real snow storm. For hours the snow was blowing in heavily and all you could see was white furious flurry and the vague shadows of trees battered in the wind.
Today the sun is shining, the storm is over, calm is restored. It is gorgeous outside. It is peaceful and I’m enjoying digging my way through the snow, out the front door, to the barn, and to all the spots where I feed the birds.
The birds are happy and are gratefully crowding the feeders. Woodpeckers, blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, starlings… It is a regular feeding frenzy out there.
I am waiting for the snow plow to clear my driveway and I am glad I don’t need to leave yet… I surely would be stuck as soon as I kicked the car in reverse. In some spots the snow is knee deep, in others just high enough to lap over the edge of my boots.
I wish I had a one horse sleigh… This would be the perfect day to take my Percheron mare out for a little joy ride!
Snow quietly descends from the silver winter sky and powders the world in a delicate layer of shimmery white. I am curled up cozy and warm indoors with a purring kitten in my lap. Enjoying a fresh cup of coffe and fresh chocolate chip waffles, I am looking out, pondering the beauty and quietude of this season in the country.
Rarely a car goes by and besides the milk truck and snow plow rattling along there does not seem to be much astir. Even the blue jays and squirrels have disappeared, crows sit all poufed up and silent in the trees and only tiny tracks tell of rabbits, rats, and mice still bustling about in the snow.
With temperatures well below 0°F there really is little motivation to go outside, and I am grateful that I seized the sunny afternoon yesterday and brought in a barrow-load of fire wood. Though quite a bit colder, the sun and blue sky made it much more bearable to be out and about and I did accomplish quite a bit before the chill got to my bones and enticed me back into my comfortable, well heated abode.
To all of you, whatever your climate may be, I send warm and wonderful wishes for the season and beyond. May the old year end in peace and harmony, and the new one rise and shine with infinite possibilities, prosperity, and above all love, laughter and happiness.
Treat bags… Check. Pumpkin…. Check. I’m on top of it!
I love the cooler weather and the changing colors of nature all around. The farming season is done with my last delivery gone out this past Thursday. And now comes the ckean up. Putting the harvest shed back in order, tucking away deer fences and seeding supplies, clearing the greenhouses and tying up loose ends…
I am still waiting for my pumpkins to change color… With the lack of sun and recent cooler weather they are lagging a bit behind… So are my green beans, and there are still a few eggplant and peppers and watermelons limping along, too.
I had hoped for a fall delivery for Thanksgiving, planned on raising turkeys and putting together a harvest meal in a box, but I am glad I decided not to. Once the season got rolling, there was little wiggle room to fit any more work into the days. And now I am grateful to be done with the tight schedule and the long drive for the deliveries every week.
It is time to slow down, breathe, put my feet up and enjoy life a little more, ponder what might come next. I am looking forward to finding a farm to call my own, to still grow vegetables and flowers, if not for a second CSA season, then for a farmers market or just a farm stand in the driveway… And to realize some of my ambitions to raise more animals… Like a cow or rwo for milking, sheep or goats and a few turkeys… I have a dream!
And I finally have the time to work on some artsy projects, some of which I intend to sell at the upcoming art fair and christmas boutique.
Fall, time to fall in love with life again!
As the season winds down I am grateful to have received some lovely emails from members and neighbors who enjoy sharing in my harvests and appreciate the beauty and bounty of the fresh food I deliver. Here are a couple of the messages I received
~ Hello Neighbor!
Holy cats. Those are just beautiful tomatoes! Thank you so very much…
Have a great rest of your week! Cheers, J ~
~ Hi Susanne,
Thank you for the email informing us, and thank you for all your work starting this up. I commend you (actually that’s understating it – I’m in awe of you) for entering the risky world of CSA farming and doing a mountain of work – not to mention successfully providing a year of delicious veggies! Please keep me on the contact list if you start up in another location. My husband Bill and I would love to continue to support your efforts starting up a farm. Take care, Celesre .M. and Bill S. ~
~ Dear Susanne,
I apologize for my slow reply. But I’m so sorry to hear that this has been a difficult season. And I’m even sorrier to hear that Kate is selling her farm, and that you won’t be able to continue next year. We’ve very much enjoyed our season with you and have loved the many delicious vegetables you’ve provided. Thank you for all you’ve put into this–your work and care have been much appreciated. Daniel and I look forward to these final few weeks of the CSA, and then we wish you all the best for for what comes next…
With gratitude, Erik ~
Every size shape amd color of tomato you can imagine! What fun to harvest even just a small-ish basket full for the end of summer bash for the folks at the assisted living where I work part time.
I have been facing a bunch of difficulties here on the farm that are trying my creativity and abilities to say the least… Torrential rains and relentless critters munching away on my crops are just some of the influences that I am grappling with. Plants not growing or not producing crops is another challenge I am learning to deal with – calling on fellow farmers in the area who are willing to share their extras with me, or even buying things like sweet corn since mine was a complete loss.
There are many differences to Kate’s CSA besides number of members and her many years of experience. There were always 6 or 7 helpers on the farm, and a lot of action everywhere throughout the day.
I am here by myself, there is much less activity. It is quiet and peaceful and apparently quite inviting to the overflow of deer and rabbits and rodents that mess with my stuff 😉 And much less (wo)manpower to do the work.
In essence, running a CSA is quite an undertaking. And while I enjoy the work and farming very much, I have my share of disappointment and frustration with the things that don’t go well. I still am proud of the beautiful food I grow and the full bags I deliver.
I had big plans for my CSA – fun festivals on the farm, volunteer days throughout the season, scavenger hunt on and around the farm… But all these plans were derailed and fell flat as time progressed. Too few members right from the start, insurance limitations, Kate’s decision to move in spring, preparing for her move early in the season, and finally her move and decision to sell the farm… Things did not turn out as planned at all.
So now that Kate has moved to California and decided to sell the farm, I will be finishing my season here in early fall, and depending on the sale and new folks moving in, will probably stay on through winter to look after things here. This means of course that my CSA on Kate’s land is shorter lived than I initially planned. I am not certain where I will settle next year and whether I will have the opportunity to continue my CSA on another farm.
I thank all my members for their trust and giving me the wonderful opportunity to grow and deliver vegetables this summer. A big thank you also to my lovely drop site hosts! I appreciate all the support and feedback this season! And I regret not having had the chance to have everybody out here for the hands on festivities everyone enjoyed so much with Kate. And to continue growing with everybody through the seasons I hoped would follow this one.
I love walking in the forest on a crisp morning. Birds singing and bugs humming, early sunlight filtering through the the luscious shades of green, accenting the dark and sturdy tree trunks reaching out of the fertile ground. The light scent of ferns and wildflowers intermingled with musky wafts of composting leaves and rich soil… I breathe in deeply and release any tension as I take in the beauty and continuity of nature, of life, really.
Thoughts, worries, doubts, regrets vanish as I see potential for play all around. An old stump rises out of the ferns. Roots above ground form a cave, and at a glance it looks as though a scene for a fairytale… I stand and watch waiting for the slightest hint of movement suggesting I stepped into a different world of magical creatures. I imagine tiny fairies and unicorns and sourcerers… For a moment I wish to live in that world. Just a tiny figure disappearing among ferns and stems without making a sound, safe from the pressures of life.
And for a moment, as I gaze into the tree tops high above me, I realize I am that tiny figure, surrounded by a world much bigger than the everyday woes and duties we call reality. A world full of possibility and opportunity and freedom.
My very own Snapdragons and Sweet Peas. Deliciously colorful and fragrant.
The little bunnies next to the vase are needle felted. A fun winter pastime of mine. I will write more about them soon.
There is nothing better than farm fresh. Here is such a good meal in one “small” batch… Just add chicken breast or bacon or trout… Yum.
I love raising colorful food. And flowers. And this year I have a thing for purple… From purple peppers to purple poppy, things are just looking gorgeous. Hmm… Wonder if there are chickens that lay purple eggs 😉