March Farmer Notes

Farmer Notes

You readers know I often open my “notes” with a few words about birds.  Given this upside downtime, we may find ourselves looking to forms of familiarity, consistency, and beauty.  All the more reason to stick with birds who, as with the rest of Nature, seem to go about their daily business the same as ever despite Covid – 19.

Western Bluebirds and Meadowlarks returned in early March,  gracing the melting hillsides with song while fluttering about bitterbrush and sage.  Now that the bluebells, yellow bells and spring beauties are popping, and blue grouse hoot of the evening and juncos snatch up every uncovered seed, I think we can call an official start to spring.  Robins bounce around the baring lawn each morning, “yarding” out earthworms while never breaking a one, even when temperatures are still freezing and the soil only a tad above. Truth to tell, this morning is the first wherein the mercury been above 32 FH. 

What a stretch of glorious weather we’ve had!  Days on end of sun and blue sky to temper the usual spring wind.  Snow remains only on the north slopes around the Rendezvous here, which makes the work at our granary easier but brings some concern as to how dry it is.  As with last spring, the groundwater seems non-existent. This comes as little surprise considering we never had 2 feet of snow on the ground all winter. If it weren’t for the winter rains consolidating that snow, it likely would have disappeared much sooner.  Alas, the mountains have a solid snowpack, and last year we had timely early summer rains. So…

Yes, the farming season is coming right up.  I suspect we’ll be making some motions in that direction early next month as we have our Highway 20 property set to go with pivot irrigation, and I’ve got to disc up and plow out the alfalfa stand there to put in organic grains!

Our Big Valley lease also will need spring cultivation, and I’ll seed that soil into a spring cover crop of peas or vetch as last fall was too moist to get anything planted. At this time at Bluebird, however, it is all about our old, wooden granary.

During this unusual time, one of the things many are pondering is our food systems.  Besides toilet paper, apparently folks also are concerned about eating. February and March are always heavy months here at Bluebird, but this latest concern over food supply has pretty much swamped us. Daily, we scramble to process all the orders that await as we know how dedicated you customers are to us, and us to you. We appreciate your patience as our service is slower than normal.  Fear not, we have the supply of most things but only so much time and given the state-wide restrictions, only so many folks can be on-site at one time.

Rest assured that we are healthy!  Each of our employees takes their daily temperatures and we are even more diligent about hand-washing, doorknob washing and only allowing inbound and outbound freight up here.  We are delivering local orders as usual, and definitely are keeping locals in mind as that is what “local food systems” are mostly about. This unusual time reminds us of our rural role as producers and processors.  

The juggling act of running our grain cleaning line, and our flour mill daily is a bit of a song and dance but so far, we’re cranking out the high-quality product you are accustomed to at a much larger volume.  Through it all, we keep in mind our value: Nutrition, fresh, organic… These are the cornerstones of Bluebird that will never disappear no matter how busy we are.

And we are grateful.  Given the pain, so many businesses are faced with right now, we are very grateful indeed, and yet very concerned for all other businesses that can not operate during this time. Know that we support you. We support you now and will when you are up and running again.

As well, we support the government mandate to just stay put unless you have necessary errands or other urgent needs.  Fresh air, good food and rest is what will keep this current

conundrum in check.  Doing “nothing” must be so hard for so many and yet at this time, doing nothing can mean doing a helluva lot!

Wishing you all health, and patience. 

Farmer Sam