Well, it hasn’t been a quiet week, or month, here at Bluebird Grain Farms. In sight of the current chaos of Covid-19, we feel even more grateful for living where we do up here in the North Cascade foothills, where practicing daily isolation comes by nature. And certainly with Nature. At times, I’ve felt a little guilty knowing how hard the times are for so many others worldwide during this pandemic. Generally, there is plenty to focus on a farm, and with processing food but this latest crisis has narrowed that focus even more. Our job is clear: Keep doing what we set out to do and have been doing for over 15 years now at Bluebird which is producing on-farm, and with our growers of high-quality organic grains, then seeing these grains through the processing to package. It’s a big job. Right now, we are seeing just how important of a job it is. And how important it is to stay the course.
Our customers have been amazing. Many of you are familiar to us yet, we’ve had a wave of new customers that we sure hope will stay on board even after (if) the dust settles. Our hope is to keep all the channels of sales going; that has been quite a challenge here the past 6 weeks. We apologize for some delays. We temporarily have had to suspend new accounts just to make sure our inventories were secure for our current customers. This, in large, is due to our wonderful tiny and mighty crew here who have stayed healthy, respectful, and have stepped up big time. This includes a few neighbor teenagers as well as home – from – college kids who have been happy to help in and around “on-lining” or, “google sharing.” Bravo!
Each morning waking to bird-song is one way to ease the anxiousness we all feel right now. I wish I could put these dawn voices outside here along Pete Creek into a sealable container and distribute around to all. Even though some of the songs are urgent like: “git up-get outa bed” if it is a flicker, testy robin, or pesky magpie – mostly bird voices transport me to the world going on with all creatures great and small that haven’t changed tune, so as to speak, regardless of the current human panic. As I mentioned in my last Notes, this is reassuring talk. The world of spring is perhaps the busiest world of all. Ask a house wren… The meadowlark’s voice soothes even the most type-A of us, and I can’t wait for the warblers and thrush and tanagers to join later in May.
Yes, we are farming! Truth to tell, I’ve sowed peas for spring cover crop where we couldn’t get in winter peas last fall. Although we are very dry this spring, with careful cultivation we left enough ground moisture to drill into for germination. I’ll grow out these peas into July when a neighbor may come in and graze sheep this year before the peas are allowed to go beyond the flower. Now, we are beginning to disk up the alfalfa on our highway 20 property so we can plow under the alfalfa and plant our hard white spring wheat that has been flying out the door! Lastly, and in June, I’ll put in a pivot of buckwheat in prep for next year’s spring grain out at Big Valley.
Dry… This valley can be dry indeed and we have the least amount of residual moisture from winter that we’ve had in a number of years. That said, plenty of water in the mountains and, like last year in late spring/early summer, we might just get some timely rains? May and June are often wetter by far than April. But only Mother Earth knows what we’ll be dished up? And she still may well be making her mind up?
Please continue to be respectful of one another, even if we’re getting tired of being around the same ole’ faces! It is vital we keep calm, and not encourage any extra exposure at least for the next while here. What is more, I hope we all can retain some of the valuable lessons we’ve learned these past couple of months. Meanwhile, our thoughts go out to all of those lost to this pandemic – worldwide. And wish for recovered health to those now affected.
Yours, Farmer Sam