Farmers, like other folks, often use the New Year as an opportunity for reflection and self-examination. We ask ourselves again: Are we crazy to be farming? Can we really survive another summer of working that hard? Isn’t there anything else we could do to find fulfillment? It’s pretty much our last chance to ask these big questions: by the end of January, we need to have our planting schedule worked out and our seed orders done, and before February is over, it will be time to start a fire in the greenhouse stove and seed the herbs and onions. If we were going to quit, now would be the time to do it, before the year rolls over and starts gathering momentum to steamroll us under another hectic growing season.
Yet even as we ask ourselves whether we want to keep farming at all, we’re also asking other questions. What will the weather be like this year? Should we plant the onions earlier? How many varieties of potatoes should we grow? What can we do about the squash bugs? There is an unending stream of little decisions to make, and we go right on making them—because deep down, we’ve already decided we will keep on farming. What else would we do? Farming is our life.
So, as we look back on 2012, we are looking ahead to another season of long days, hard work, and the satisfaction that only comes with nurturing growing things. We don’t expect our second year to be any easier than our first, but we do hope it is different. We hope we learned enough from our mistakes in 2012 to make different mistakes in 2013, so we can go on learning.
Of course, this year would be different even if we hadn’t learned anything from last year. Our baby will make sure of that, starting as soon as he or she is born (sometime this month). Children have always been an integral part of our farming vision, but as we’ve discovered with other aspects of that vision, reality is infinitely more complex and challenging than anything we can imagine. We have been warned by various farming mentors that farming with an infant demands numerous adjustments—and farming with a toddler changes everything. Then again, what is farming if not a constant dance with change? The weather changes from day to day, the seasons change and change again, and the plants and animals our livelihood depends on never stop growing, dying, and beginning again. Life is what we farmers work with, and life always changes. If we are smart, we change with it.
Among all the other changes, hopefully this year we will manage to post to this blog more regularly! In the meantime, we wish you a New Year full of growth, change, and different mistakes. Thanks for reading.