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Summer’s Song

Joelle and I are raising our last 3 children still at home and are often blessed with an assortment of grand kiddos at any given time. The farm is so different through the eyes of a child. What do they see? What do they hear? What excites their imaginations? Where did they go?!?! 

Each year the farm season unfolds from the winter’s rest into several mini scores of lyrical geniuses, some ominous or foreboding, others dancing on the clouds, and some making their final push to the crescendo. Let’s be honest, Disney wouldn’t be Disney without music. And given the season of life with 6 grand kiddos under 8, a Disney anything is only a couple clicks away!  

And lest you think that I am being a nice grandpa, I also happen to like Disney, too. As I typed the title, I hear Olaf singing, “In Summmmmmmer!” 

A musical score is an apt way to capture the farm season and to capture life. Every crop is its own instrument playing to its own sheet of music written exclusively for it. Some of the moody opening pieces are like peas and spinach where the spring weather is similar; moody and unpredictable. And as we march from March to June their scores come to an end.  

And if by magic, the beans, cucumbers and tomatoes chime-in, overlaying and adding complexity to the changing landscape, with warm notes much like the weather (usually). These heat-loving summer crops thrive on increasing day length and heat units. Heat units vary for each crop and help a grower determine harvest dates. We don’t rely on technical heat units, but we do rely on HEAT to help these crops flourish. 

Every week we add new plantings till mid-August and from the end of April till October we are harvesting something. And if you happen to be waxing poetic with me and dreaming of farming, let me bring you back to earth! We weed something, somewhere, every week from April to October.  

Some people say, “a dog is a man’s best friend”, but as an organic farmer, a Hulu hoe is a close second! Weeding is hard work, but it is also very rewarding, it was one of the few chores when you are done you get immediate feedback! One of our summer weeders shared that, “it is so rewarding when you get the whole root.” Yes, it is! 

And now we are midway through this year’s musical and it has been a unique rendition. 2020 will be a year for the record books, but not because of the crops; because of the weather and the extenuating circumstances. 

And just like any live performance, once the show has begun, the conductor/director must make decisions in real time. Which just may be why farming has always kept my attention.  It is never the same score from year to year.