Posted by: J Nyman | April 17, 2008

Organizing, planning, re-organizing and just plain working

By the end of this weekend, we, likely, will have all of the buckets we use to collect sap from the maple trees cleaned and stored for the year. We’ll also have a new brooder box built for the chicksthat will arrive in two weeks and the temporary laying pen set up in the barn, though I’m starting to wonder why we’re not just spending our time getting the portable hen house ready.

If we’re really on our horses and manage to find a volunteer babysitter, we’ll also finish bottling the last of the syrup, broadcast some seed on pastures and, with luck, fix the barnyard fence and get the sheep out of the barn. In an ideal world, the girls would have been out ages ago but our world is not ideal, per se. Our world has a building code with overzealous by-law enforcement officers (another story). It is possible that more still will get done in the next four days. This is Spring, after all.

Though this Spring thing happens every year and, every year, brings an over-abundance of ‘tasks’ to get done, it never feels normal or routine. This year is no different. In fact we’re starting our new Meat CSA and still only two years at this farm property. Fences are on the menu, as are auction sales and trips to the farms of relatives to buy livestock. Nice to know that we can get some animals from people we trust.

What is it about Spring that makes it seem so out-of-the-ordinary? We do this every year. Why should it feel new this year? I mean, again this year?

There are other things that we do every year at the same time that can become routine. How about Christmas? Christmas music, turkey dinners, crazy Christmas mornings opening presents and rushing to get where you need to go. Christmas gets to be routine.

Perhaps Spring feels routine to others. Maybe it’s just that John and I are relatively young and have not been in the exact same position for long enough to feel routine about our Spring to-do list. After all, we have farmed at three different locations in the last 9 years (not including his family dairy farm), each of us has had a number of different full and part time jobs trying to fund this farming project and we’ve started a family. I’ll assume that this has something to do with the lack of routine.

And, we have a neighbouring dairy farmer who has been in the dairy business with his black and white Holsteins, on the same piece of land for over 45 years. When I see him heading down the road to cultivate and plant a field, I don’t get the sense that it feels very new to him.

On the other hand, even should a person ‘do’ Spring the same way for years, I doubt it ever really feels old and worn out. I don’t know that auto-pilot is really possible for a farm in Spring. This may just be my personal connection with Nature and the unseen energies of our world, but ‘newness’ is what Spring is about, isn’t it? Even if you’re doing the same-old, same-old, there’s a spirit of beginning that comes with this season that a long standing routine can’t break.

Isn’t there? I mean, Spring is so full of resuming, rebirth and renewal. I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to keep all the resuming, rebirthing and renewing from overwhelming me and yet, what would be the opposite of these things?

Stopping, dying and decaying?

No. Those are not what Spring is doing. Spring is new and new is not routine. That little voice in my head says: “Live with it, Colleen. And enjoy it. Revel in the fact that a life of farming has chosen you. People existing in air conditioned boxes might feel routine about this warming season but not you. You get to feel the life ‘spring up’.”

Feel the life spring up. Yes, that is what I’m doing. And, no, it isn’t routine. It’s amazing and exciting.


Here’s hoping that everyone gets to feel a little life spring up in the next few weeks. Happy Spring!


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