By Sam Lucy
Enough of a winter here in the Methow that we skipped right over January notes. Surely, everyone noticed? Indeed, we’ve enjoyed (mostly) as long of a wet cycle as I can recall beginning, really, back in late October and running on until now, mid-February. Lovely snow fall has turned to rain, icy roads to mud, and just now some of the southerly rock outcroppings are baring off. Like clockwork, red-wing blackbirds have returned to the nearby seeps as of the 15th and most evenings coyotes sing away as this is “their month.”Owls hoot nightly and likely have taken a few of the quail and Hungarian partridge that we’ve been bolstering with grain scratch winter-long.
As much extra work as the steady storms created for us here at our Rendezvous Road granary, I must say the thought of winter slipping away is disturbing. Sure, freight trucks can once again climb our road and we no longer will be ferrying pallets 2.5 miles down to the Chewuch for shipping. No more plowing, snow blowing, digging out the granaries and wagon. However, there is a sort of beautiful isolation that came with the towering snowbanks, not to mention excellent skiing – back-country or trail… Alas, cold weather will return. And we may get more snow but the corner has been turned and winter soon will be on the losing end.
The best news for all is the extensive moisture. Recall my mention that we received steady, late fall rains prior to snow-fall, and that the ground never froze. This sets the stage for excellent absorption of this solid snow-pack, even if it warms up quickly. Recharge of the soil profile should be quick this spring, and certainly irrigation water in reliable supply. We’re hopeful that the recharge will delay fire-season no matter what the summer weather, and that the State enjoys a reprieve after the past two horrific summers.
Thanks to all of you we have started the new year very busy! January was a bustle of Bluebird orders through all three of our sales channels. We’ve been into this years crop for a while now and as I’d hoped, the quality has remained consistently high. This may be our most consistent, high-quality crop so far. It has been a joy to run, and a joy to mill with the sweet aroma of nutritious grains and flours filling the granary. It never hurts to have breakfast pancakes from time to time. Or some of Larkin’s emmer cookies. Or a hearty farro soup, or thick, whole grain breads, or…. Another part of winter I love!
As I watch the nuthatches, finches, and chickadees at the feeder it is the blackbird’s song that reminds me spring is inevitable, and I do have occasional thoughts of the fields – all of which remain under 3 feet of snow. I’m beginning to make a list of the equipment repairs/maintenance as well as figure our spring cropping plans. Before long, we’ll be selecting some of our planting stock. And reviewing the fall’s soil tests, and…
But first, more skiing! Also, I’ve been invited to the “Grain Convening” at Paicines Ranch outside San Jose, California during the first week in March. I look forward to schmoozing with some of the other players in the organic modern and ancient grain movement and meet a couple folks I’ve long admired.
I hope this finds each of you well, and having had a good winter. I look forward to reporting on the conference as well as the Methow Spring and more good news from our granary. Until then,
Yours, Farmer Sam