Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Into The Barn We Go

You'd think that after farming for over 30 years I'd be used to the changing of the seasons. In spring it all begins with a hint of things to come... the swell of the earth as the new and tender shoots poke their heads up, the smell of the sweet loam as the soil is turned for the pea and spinach seeds, the first  lettuce plants to be transplanted into the garden. Although there are fewer dramatic changes during the winter months, there is still a slow unfolding of the new season, the cobwebbing of the barn, the first cow to freshen, the first milk.

But as every season moves on, there is that sharp glint of memory along with transition  The first call of the red winged black birds announcing their return. Then the cacophony of all the birds, the spring peepers, the frogs in the pond. The buds, the flowers, the fruits, the leaves. Most birds are gone. The Goldfinches, Nuthatches, Jays, Cardinals and Chickadees remain along with some Evening Grosbeaks who stop by for a quick bite to eat before heading out.

Our evening salads chart the course of the season, from the first tender salad of greens picked in the greenhouse, to the heartier lettuces grown in the garden mixed with spinach, next comes the cherry tomatoes, then big beautiful heirloom tomatoes along with red peppers and cucumber, and then back to head lettuce. Last night's salad was lettuce, with the very last cucumber and red pepper of the season along with just harvested shredded  carrots, truly a lagging indicator of what's to come, when our salads will be only red cabbage and carrots.

last night's salad


Now the carrots have all been harvested and only the covered chard remains in the garden.

And though the seasons spin on by, I look forward to each new step of the year.
There isn't sadness, but the eager anticipation of what comes next. I love how as the days shorten and grow cold, we turn to our indoor life. A life where instead of seeing the cows every 2 days when we change their pastures to a life where we see them every day, twice a day for milking. The warm sweet smells of the barn. The reassuring aroma of fresh milk.

And this is where I find myself today. Ozzie was the first cow to 'freshen' with a bull calf this past Sunday. Yoyo will be next, followed by Pookah. The milk room has been cleaned, the milking equipment is all tuned up for our winter season. The barn has been cobwebbed, the gutter cleaner greased. Into the barn and the cheeseroom I go.

1 comment:

Méabh Fitzpatrick said...

We just tried some of your Farmhouse Cheese... what a taste sensation! Thank you.