Happy Holidays to all of our dear friends, customers, compatriots out in the world! Here on Winter Solstice, I am inclined to hide out during these long dark nights. Thankfully in our Finger Lakes area, the weather looks to be shifting into an attitude that is more supportive of my hibernation- snow in the forecast! Here’s to a real, serious winter storm that sets back our overwintering pests, replenishes our groundwater and makes for snowy white fun.
On the doorstep of Winter, I’m enjoying my look back to what Fall meant for the Good Life. This fall was a sort of John Henry time that really emphasized the mental and physical fight that is our wacky way of approaching ecological farming (maybe the darkness is indeed getting to me). Pessimism aside, in this fall, we see PROGRESS! Here are some highlights:
- Complete renovation of our high tunnel system to a rail-road inspired installation (yes, I am from the West and did dream of being a Harvey girl). Garrett pounded posts deep into the ground to support a total of 1500’ of track. By putting our rails onto permanent bases, we reduced the time it takes to move one high tunnel form 6-8 hr to 1.5 hr. Since we try to move each of our 5 tunnels 3 times a year, we feel like we’ve made a significant change! Thanks Garrett.
We continue to experience ongoing challenges and joys of farming with horses, who have a Mind of Their Own. This fall, Leo- a younger Percheron who came here in March- started taking a dominant position in our herd. This was an instructive and disruptive time for us, as the shifting herd dynamics resulted in escapee antics and much horse shouting (them at each other, and sometimes, regrettably, me at them). Just when I think I might have a handle on teamstering, something new comes along to challenge and increase my skills repertoire. Thankfully, I have been surrounded by help, as we have a new, weekly working horse group. I find that in thinking through my teamster issues, two or three heads is better than one.
- Fall brought us a very delicious and very small harvest of apples- what was left following our late April frost- reminded us how glorious the future is on this farm. We have serious plans for apples going forward. Think Gold Rush!
- Thanksgiving was, again, a major time on our farm. We started a new Thanksgiving Market which was an excellent collaboration between GLF and some of our favorite local farmers and food producers. Please check out the link if you are curious- we expect to repeat this Thanksgiving –only farm market next year!
- Our town- Covert- is now home to a serious anti-fracking group. I am pleased to be part of this, and while I appreciate separating politics and our farm newsletter, I feel compelled to mention the urgent action on this issue by pointing you all to the 30 Comments in 30 Days website- http://www.thirtydaysoffrackingregs.com. There you can help NYS make the decision to protect our local economies, air, water, soil and well being.
- Finally, Garrett and I got married this Fall- Sept. 22!
As I say goodbye for the year, here are some Solstice thoughts via our wedding readings:
From The Country of Marriage by Wendell Berry (#3)
Sometimes our life reminds me
Of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
And in that opening a house,
An orchard and garden,
Comfortable shades, and flowers
Red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
Made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
To be made anew day after day, the dark
Richer than the light and more blessed,
Provided we stay brave
Enough to keep on going in.
All the best to you and your families and may you persevere,
Melissa for Good Lifers everywhere