Tag Archives: winter

Winter desk work: planning the 2015 season

Planning for the 2015 season is well underway. I thought it would be fun to give a little peek into the process. Many questions have to be addressed: what crops to plant where/when/how, how much seed on hand vs. how much to order, and so on.

Take a look at the link below:


I recall seeing a quote of Rudolf Steiner’s, the creator of Biodynamic farming methods and principles, that basically stated a simple fact, each and every farm is different. Our farm is a product of our learned experiences from other farms, and from research acquired on our own. Yet, try as one might to be alike differences remain inevitable.

Most of us know the basic idea: prepare a field for crops, sow the crops, and hopefully reap the harvest. Actually doing this, the planning and execution, will vary widely, especially when looking at all the details.

It’s all too easy for our work to feel dull, tedious, or worse. Even the faintest of new light can bring things to life, sharpen our focus. Since I’ve always liked maps, diagrams, plans on paper, and hand written notes and scribbles, why not enjoy our work from as many perspectives as we please?

Warm feathers and wool and cold iron and wood

I used to like to watch water boil on occasion. I liked testing the expression, but it was just a simple sensational thing, like staring across a room towards a window and letting the focus of your eyes shift. Those were the in between fillers my memory likes to recall from childhood winters. The fillers would move from simmering to a boil when the opportunity arose to finally go play in the snow.

These days I find myself stretching limbs under warm covers as I awake, peaking out into the chilly room and the icy world beyond it. Then I pull the covers back over my head and think it makes much more sense to stay in bed where it’s warm. Somehow my blissfully ignorant love for winter has aged into a kvetcher.

When the choice is between staying under warm covers or going out to work on the cold iron tractor, I find it hard to get up. Then the dog starts licking me and, in short order, putting his paw on my face.

Working in the cold is mostly slow, and sometimes (too often) painful. Playing, in winter as a kid, or exercising outside as an adult are one thing, because you get warmed up by moving and then, hopefully, continue moving enough until you end up someplace warm before too long. But trying to build a curing rack, or rebuild a tractor implement is something quite different. The latter involves less moving, and lots of working with tools and parts that can be small, heavy, rusty, sharp, and freezing cold. Fingers get stiff, toes start to ache, eyes water, and snot runs. Needless to say, I prefer sledding or, for that matter, watching water boil. But alas, some things are worth it, or so I tell myself anyway. Cliches and mantras, even the kvetching will itself, don’t always hold up to the wind chill.

Does this sound like kvetching? I know I’m not the only one. Two winter projects I’ve been working on are building new and improved curing racks for next year’s harvest of garlic, onions, and squashes; and modifying a tractor implement for shaping beds for planting. Hopefully this will allow us to shape beds mechanically rather than by hand, which would save a whole lot of time and energy. Time and energy. So much and so little.