And the lovely November rains soon turned to snow as Thanksgiving neared. Enough snow to cover the tan grasses and open up the ski trails. Early enough so that I wasn’t too far off my prediction of an “early winter”. December has given us even more precipitation during the first half with a week-long storm cycle that really helped our moisture deficit. Yes, there was rain even here in the Methow but lots of snow also. A solid – and I mean solid- two feet on the flat here at the granary; much more higher up. So far, our snow pack looks to be very healthy. Remember, too, how the ground never froze? Alas, we should have excellent absorption come spring.
For now, however, we take stock in the white hills, today’s blue skies and finches, chickadees, and nuthatches jousting at the feeder as roof eaves drip. We’ve had fun plowing out around the granaries and today we’re taking advantage of the clear skies and moving a couple loads of grain over to our cleaning line where we were running out! Being a small operation, we do not have enclosed transfer augers from silo to silo and so must rely on clear skies to transfer grain in our grain wagon.
Freight becomes more challenging up here in the winter, too. Our shipping companies are generally very accommodating and it takes efforts on both ends but ultimately, I’m always pleased how we seldom ever fall behind getting orders out the week they are scheduled for. Of course, the great staff here has a lot to do with this. What winter causes in extra challenges up here in the foothills, she makes up for in beauty and solitude as the fields rest.
As we get more into this years crop we are seeing the consistency and quality hold up as we’d thought it might. Today moving grain we were testing some of the emmer kernels and they are so dense and colorful. It is odd to be standing out in the snowy surroundings and get the whiff of summer as we auger around the grain. The grain keeps the dry, harvest smell (dusty too?!) and yet the land is moist and white and wildfires a ways off! Over the years we’ve noticed the direct correlation between how our grains clean and how they mill. So far this year they are cleaning out nicely and, not surprisingly, making wonderful flours.
It’s all about eating, is it not? This darkest time of year. I love the short days, long nights and robust foods associated with the season. Last evening Brooke made a tasty soup with our split emmer and tomatoes and chicken stock and kale and… ! We do feel blessed with this bounty and only wish we could somehow share the goods with the so very many people in need this time of year when the long nights and cold are not so easy to handle as those of us with fire and shelter. The animals themselves suffer. I watched a huge buck flounder through the snow outside our fence late the other night. Even the strong sometimes will not make spring…
During this giving season I encourage all those of us more fortunate to lend a hand to those who aren’t. Cook a meal for them, shovel a path, or some act of kindness will certainly go a long ways. As peaceful as the scene here at Bluebird is for the moment, we know peace is not the norm in too many places. I have to believe that peace breeds peace because to believe otherwise is too limiting. So…
We send peace! From our farm to your table. From our hearts to yours… Sing out. If Ebenezer can, so might we all!
To a fine, peaceful 2016. Holiday tidings to all.
Your, Farmer Sam