Hello, all, and happy Memorial Day weekend! Can you believe we’re reaching the end of May already? ?
Today we’re diving into another (exciting?) episode of The Farm, wherein I give a low-down of what’s going on in the life and times Beyond the Writing Corner. Previously on The Farm, I shared a bit about what farm life (at least our small corner of it) looks like in winter. But now, winter has finally drawn to a close, allowing spring to step in and work some magic.
Contrary to popular belief, spring on the farm does not look like the pictures in magazines, where everything is vibrantly green and clean and bursting with color. That’s a late June fantasy at best. The spring most of us are familiar with, the March through May spring, comes in varying degrees of mud, with a constant underlying progression of new growth. Once the weather starts to turn it’s a joy to walk around and see all the budding coming up in the flower beds, proof that it wasn’t just wishful thinking and daydreams that survived the cold season.
During this time, there’s fits and spurts of yard cleanup between cold spells and basking in the delight of crocuses and daffodils splashing color in an otherwise dreary landscape. And waiting for those tulips. Gotta love those tulips, although I think the grape hyacinths are my favorite.
This year the Farmer’s Wife started seeds in the Spare ‘Oom, before it was warm enough to set up in the greenhouse. It might have become an obsession, starting seeds. Trays and trays of herbs and flowers, melons and, like, five different kinds of tomatoes. Straw flowers, camellia, sunflowers, lavender, calendula, poppies, sage, marshmallow, chocolate stripe tomatoes, tigger melons, chamomile . . . the list just goes on! Did it get a little out of hand? Maybe. But who cares?
And in the midst of this, at long last, we were able to get our hands on the farm stand of our dreams. After years of looking, with several options slipping through our fingers, it was like God telling us “Wait, I’ve got something better coming.” And boy, did he! Just down the road, even, a shed came up for sale complete with front porch and wiring for electric. What a blessing! The dreams we have for this place could fill it to the rafters, too, but if there’s one thing to learn in this business, it’s patience. Patience and trust and moving forward one step at a time.
At the moment we’ve only got the front porch open with syrup, honey, and plants, since the inside needs to be finished, but it’s still so exciting and encouraging to see people stopping by. And now that it’s been warmer more consistently, the rhubarb and asparagus are going as fast as it grows!
It never ceases to amaze me how vigorous growing things are. Every day the green things become greener, and before long they’re full, spreading new leaves to the sun, as if they couldn’t wait to come out of hibernation. If only I were that eager to get up in the morning . . .?
Right now, as I write this and glance out my window, it’s hard to imagine that a month ago we were still freezing and waiting for it to snow again, and now the lavender is budding, and first cutting from the hayfields is in the barn. The goji bushes are threatening to take over the world. Again. Plants are in the ground, flowerbeds are being edged, and the plan for the weekend is to get the vegetable garden in order. Every year we’ve tried something different, to see what works best. Last year we mulched the bananas out of it, which worked wonders for keeping the soil moist during such an awfully dry summer, not to mention keeping the weeding to a minimum. This year we’re going to try permanent beds and a couple other things. While not everyone sees exactly eye-to-eye about everything, it’s important to remember that, more than anything, it’s an exercise in dependence on God. It’s working with the land, getting our hands dirty, and eating the fruits of our labor. Because, y’all, in this country, no one’s going to starve if the garden doesn’t do well, even if the tomatoes do taste better than those bland commercial fruits they sell in the grocery store.
And let’s not forget the pigs! Usually we’ll get three or four to split between us and our customers, but this time we got a whopping seven! Faith like potatoes? How about faith like pigs! At the moment they’re still small (and a couple of them are polka dotted!), but these bacon seeds grow FAST and BIG.
Looking forward, our goal is to keep digging deeper into the homesteading lifestyle, making and growing and preserving what we can, and responsibly sourcing what we can’t. This summer we do not intend on doing farmers markets, aiming rather to invite people to us and our amazingly adorable farm stand. The market last year was an adventure, to say the least, but the schedule sapped so much out of me, personally, that between my ‘day job’ and prepping for the market, I hardly got the chance to enjoy the summer. I was broken up for a while over whether or not to dive into that pool again this year, but praise God for wise counselors, who can look at things from the outside. I don’t have the time or energy to do that again. I survived last summer, sacrificing life-giving things like family time, bike rides, reading, and my novel, to focus on the market (which I’ll admit was profitable). However, while we’re called to work and save for the future, we were also made to thrive where we’re planted. I took on too much last year, but this year, I want to thrive. To be with my family, to pursue my novel, to take those moments of being still and just knowing that the Lord is God. Even if it means I don’t pursue my dreams for NovelTea right now.
It’s almost like God is saying “Wait. I’ve got something better coming.”