Before the Plunge

What strange weather we’ve been having, more like early April than late February. This past weekend, I saw the first red-winged blackbird of the season, and the daffodils in the farmhouse flowerbeds are poking though the soil. People have asked me what this early warm-up bodes for the coming season, and, honestly, I have no idea. Right now, it sure makes chicken chores easier, and the hens have enjoyed being outside in the fresh air and sunshine these past few days. I know my farmer friends who raise livestock are grateful for this weather, especially the ones who are elbow deep in lambing and farrowing right now. And warm, sunny days mean greenhouses burn less fuel, so that is welcome as well.

But no matter what the weather does, our season is set to begin in earnest when it always does, at the beginning of March — on the sixth, as a matter of fact, when I start in on the greenhouse schedule. Onions, leeks, and shallots are the first crops I’ll seed, followed by parsley and celery a week later. And as the greenhouse ramps up, I’ll start crossing other pre-season tasks off the to-do list: things like making sure I have enough flats and pots for planting and totes and buckets for harvesting, repairing what needs fixed and building what needs made, and deciding what gets planted where and when, and so on. And all these plans and preparations need to be well in hand by the beginning of May, when the madness of spring planting takes up all our time. So right now is a sweet time on the farm, that last quiet moment before the deep breath and long plunge into the cycle of the new season.