I've had this quote from Jack Kerouac swirling in my head for the past week or so:
"Will you love me in December as you do in May?"
In the winter, my relationship with farming begs this question. We have been lucky to have such mild weather for the past two months - but the cold snap this week hit me like a ton of bricks.
If I was ready (read, smarter) I would've taken all the floats out of the water tanks and tucked the hoses safely inside the farm house, away from the bitter wind that so quickly freezes them. Nothing incites panic more quickly than finding frozen hydrants on the farm - the cows alone drink 300 gallons of water each day, a quantity that I wouldn't want to carry in buckets from the kitchen sink. Gray clouds threaten snow, which is beautiful, but also incredibly difficult to trudge through when carrying fifty-pound buckets of feed out to the pigs in their pasture. These months bring a lot less daylight and a lot more work.
It's easy to think back to the days of May when everything is coming alive - the fields and trees exploding in green in what seems like the blink of an eye, calves being born, the chirping of new chicks. The sun is warm, the air is sweet, and the water is automated. (Ok, maybe I'm starting to romanticize all of this a bit, with myself as a Carhartt-clad Snow White of sorts.)
I realize, though, that the cold and wind and snow are hard on all of us on the farm, not just the humans. It may make our work more difficult, but this is when the animals need us most. Breaking five inches of ice in water tanks in order to run 250 feet of hose from the one trusty hydrant we have suddenly doesn't seem like a chore, but a duty.
So we throw on an extra layer of thermals, a balaclava (life saver) and some New England grit. May might be more kind, but December brings renewed sense of purpose, and these farmers are grateful for it.
p.s. Our continued thanks to our expanding family of CSA members - your support and enthusiasm for real food is awesome.
Real food enthusiast following nature's template