February 2018 Farmer Notes

Farmer Notes

Mother Nature has surprised us once again, switching gears just when she looked to be leaning toward an earlier spring. During the first week of this month a true Chinook wind blew through our valley for most of a full week, the snow sunk as temperatures soared and it sure seemed winter had lost its bite. Not so! Here toward latter February we’re experiencing the coldest temps of the year! Along with more fluffy snow. This brings more strain to the work here at our granary, but feels better and more right I suppose, in the sense it might be good for the land.

As well, it has redeemed this farmer with the fact that with spring indeed a ways off; we don’t actually need to begin digging out equipment for maintenance just yet. Heck, there may even be more good powder skiing left!

I’m a bit concerned for the wildlife as there was an early push of birds near the first of the month. Blackbirds showed up a week early down at the ponds, chickadees were into full spring song and I’d heard of robin sightings in the lower valley. Now, it looks like mid – December outside! My worry likely goes unwarranted, as I know Nature generally can take care of herself just fine but I suppose my concern for the wildlife is simply part of my nature.

Nature is, and always has been, at the root of what we do here at Bluebird. The love of nature is why we began Bluebird in the first place. There are plenty of reasons to believe that the earth never should have “been farmed” and I understand this. At the same time, agriculture is/has been part of society for so long and continues to be the way in which we feed one another. With that said, it is ever more important to not only hold the earth in the highest of regard, but to treat the earth with that regard. During the course of a farming season, we set forth with the greatest of intent to do the “least harm.” And yet, I always get to second guess myself after every action.

My love of the land and the love of place comes to me through seven generations of New Hampshire farmers on the same homestead in the White Mountains where I was born, raised and allowed to “run free”… after all the chores were done of course. There always were plenty of chores and various hand tools and pieces of equipment to not break and to learn how to operate properly, and plenty of Uncles peering on. There, too, were plenty of woods to explore, streams to fish, birds to flush and mountains to play on. I learned from a creed that was both cursed and blessed by the simple satisfaction of “doing a day’s work.” More importantly, doing a day’s work and still having time to help others. And so, even if I don’t do well, I at least know the difference!

There are various efforts put forth to produce the Bluebird products that many of you have grown to enjoy. I can stand behind every one, but I cannot pretend to do it all myself.  First, we have to have all of you supporters, and then we have to have our crew that gets this idea of hard work and doing just what needs doing. I am so happy we have that crew and more importantly, I’m proud of the way they take pride.

Winter is not only hard on wildlife; it is hard on humans too. The fact that even “my creed” one day succumbs to the vagaries of hard work, ethics, and yes – grace – makes me no less the proud. And so when my 91 year old father passed away at the end of last month – he being the next to last of all my great elders left – a dear cousin of mine remarked: “I feel completely unmoored.” Yes, I thought, but at the same time, because of my Dad– whose accomplishments are too numerous to mention here – because of my wonderful Aunts and Uncles, and my dear ole’ Mum, I feel more grounded than ever. And more assured of the path. We hope that some of this path continues to find its way into Bluebird for a long, long time to come. There certainly are many different parts that make the whole, no? Here’s to the part my father played.

Cheers, Farmer Sam