Writing this on the first “official” morning of Spring 2018. The thermometer reads 26 FH on the back porch at dawn and already I hear restless geese down along the river as the night-time owls grow quiet. A week ago we had a solid rain during the dark hours and the very next day as the weather cleared, a pair of Bluebirds appeared by one of their houses along the fence! That fast, I heard a distant meadowlark and not long after, a robin. Since, it has been a steady flood of new bird song as finches join the winter-time juncos and chickadees at the feeder, towhees flit about the aspen and despite the still wintry look about the foothills, Mother knows spring is here!
To be sure, we ended up with a very good winter insofar as moisture. March began with perhaps our biggest snowstorm of the year. Here in the foothills of the North Cascades, we are in excellent shape moisture-wise heading into spring. It has been a slow unwinding of winter which has allowed most of the melt to go straight into the soil profile, with plenty more snow to go. Last spring was our latest start in the fields to date and I’m guessing this year will be similar. A late start means good moisture so that is always worth the patience.
Our granary has been a-buzz winter-long with a variety of orders both big and small. Our grains continue to clean very nicely and mill up fine. There have been the usual seasonal challenges with working in the weather and shipping out but suddenly as the roads dry and snow recedes we are reminded how logistics here will even out. I had to plow out two of our storage tanks so that we could access more grain and already those areas are bare. Better news: Our supply has held strong!
I’m reticent to let go of winter more so each year. Yet, one can not help but feel the excitement of Spring with the lengthening days and opening of the land. We are beginning to formalize our planting plans, mostly set in motion with last fall’s field work. As well, we have our seed-supply to draw from and during any spare time in the granary, we will be cleaning up our seed selection so we can sow when the time comes.
When will that time come? There’s one that is hard to predict. Will it be based on intellect or intuition? Are intellect and intuition one and the same? One thing that remains true; I feel like a beginner each Spring and this alone can be exciting.
We will continue to do our best to safe-guard our crops from any contamination, which is more easily done up here in the mountains than elsewhere. We’ve been certified organic since the get-go and have only grown and processed organic grains here at Bluebird ever since. Organic, however, doesn’t always mean nutritious, though it certainly should. That is why we test our grains from time to time for nutrient content, and all the time by tasting them! What we feed our family we are happy to feed yours.
One more family member down this winter – at least I hope it’s the last. This one is dedicated to our old girl Teal, who was part of Bluebird from the beginning. Teal came into our lives lost and then unclaimed. Thanks to my mother-in-law Sis, she wound up spending many an hour trailing in the fields, happily digging up gophers and mouse after mouse. She was always good at finding yummy morsels to test – only after properly aged. Strong headed at times to a fault, she became one of the best hunting dogs I’ve had to date. If ever there was a dog that loved the water, Teal was that dog. Now she’s resting near that never-ending stream…
Here’s to new beginnings…
Yours, Farmer Sam