Winter remains alive and well here in Cascade foothills with some of the coldest temperatures of the season and more white fluff continuing to fall from the sky. It’s beautiful looking out, and beautiful once out albeit a bit chilly! Chickadees rush the feeder, along with Purple Finch, and in place of Waxwings, we’ve had Pine Grosbeaks visiting the shriveled, fermented crabapples that somehow hang on. Any drops are quickly scarfed up by our two black Labs – both of whom are experienced and persistent scrap foragers. I have to think it is a splendid flavor, and perhaps to “favorable effect”?
As the snowpack builds statewide, I believe we should come out of last years’ drought. The river level is up for this time of year and I’m noticing small creeks that were dry in the fall, are now beginning to gurgle beneath the snow with gathering water. This continued weather should set the stage for a rich and glorious spring. Some are more anxious than others for the coming season.
Personally, I love a good, long winter for winters’ sake. I admit to tiring of working in it though and stand in appreciation of our staff here who have kept the granary going 5 days a week, snow or shine, milling and shipping our fresh to order goods for all. After finishing yet another round of snow clearing, I love stepping into the aroma of the just-hulled grains or opening a drum of fresh, just milled flour. These aromas – “summer’s release” if you will – smell all the more poignant in the cold air. To be sure, the covey of quail enjoy any and all leftovers; they run-up over the snowbanks every late afternoon to stock up on the cracked grain scattered there, and peck through any emmer hulls underneath the cyclone.
During this winter month when the coyotes begin their breeding chorus and the deep night skies glitter with stars or snow, I get to reflect on seasons past. I reflect on our occupation, why I love it here and yes, the coming spring. I’ve been devoting a fair bit of time lately trying to nail down all the details pertaining to our next facility. This has been an involved and interesting activity all of its own. Although perhaps delayed a bit this year, when spring finally hits it will come with the same urgency as always in these tucked away foothills. The clock will already be ticking on the “bare ground” months ahead when we not only begin our farm season but when we also hope to begin construction!
Another item I’ve been working on is my first podcast series – at least the first few episodes of what I hope is an on-going, informative, and of course, engaging series titled: From Plow to Plate.
Deputy Don from the local KROOT radio station and I began recording back in the fall and we’ve been finalizing edits just recently. This series will soon be aired on KROOT and it will also be accessible on our website. As with writing – the only real genre of communication that I’ve worked in until now, verbal recording, then editing, is quite a process. It has been one I’ve enjoyed for the most part. And as with writing, the engagement begins with material.
During these recording sessions, and during our facility planning sessions I’ve been thinking about the role Bluebird has played for the past 16 years ago. Perhaps more exciting, I pondered what its role will be, and should be, in the coming years. Aside from providing nutritious food, which always will remain our primary goal, we have other roles to play. Brooke and I are seldom short on ideas. We’ve plenty in mind up-coming and I look forward to sharing them as they take form, as well as sharing the actuality of them in the near future. So… stay tuned!
Alas, we’ve still got this pandemic to get through after what will be a year now. Too many folks continue to die from Covid, too many are still without employment and too many continue to slow progress down. Please, let’s try and help each other and work our way out of this pall.
In doing so, I hope we can retain all the lessons we’ve learned and apply them to future crisis’s which undoubtedly will arise.
Here’s to looking ahead
Your Farmer, Sam