Oregon just isn’t being herself these days. Usually January is dark and wet; tailor-made for turning inward, for recovery and rest, and, only when you’re ready, for anticipation of what the year may hold.
This year, it’s been bluebird days, chapped lips, cold wind whipping in your hair, warm afternoon sun, and the most gorgeous sunrises that all demand you get UP and OUT in the world. Not that I’m complaining. I don’t know if I have ever felt so motivated at the start of a new year–the sunshine does wonders for your feeling ready to take on the world.
Above all, the incredible weather has me thinking ahead to this year’s farming season. I can’t even express how awesome it feels to be looking forward to a second season on the farm and to digging deeper into this field that has thoroughly captured my mind and heart. Almost everything I read and think about all day has to do with farming. And there’s been a shift of late in the sort of farm reading I do–away from the stories of discovery, tales of first year exploits and failures, away from the falling in love stage. Right now, I am splitting my time between a book on crop planning, a business handbook for organic farmers, and about eight hefty seed catalogs. And it’s awesome. I’m liking the feeling of the “let’s try and figure this out” stage so far.
For the past several days I have been chipping away at creating a crop plan for the season, and I have never been so into creating spreadsheets. Ever. I’m certain that if I had been trying to do this same thing at the same time last year that it would have been pretty terrible. All of those rows and columns and numbers swirling around… it wouldn’t have meant anything. And it didn’t: I’ve looked at crop plans before, perused spreadsheet templates suggested in books or on blogs, and always came away with the same thought, “I have no clue what any of that meant.” It could have been a foreign language for all of the sense that I could make of it.
And now I’m starting to see that it was really a foreign language–I couldn’t see what it would look like in my head like I can this year. I look at the number of bunches of beets we’ll need in the week of June 30th, and can transplant myself to that place and time and actually see what the numbers mean. It’s pretty cool. The boxes I tick off for our CSA shares in the spreadsheet are translated to images of boxes packed with colorful, seasonal veggies. I worry that I’m maybe pushing the beets to hard or overestimating our ability to get carrots to germinate. I wonder if everyone craves greens as much as I do come spring, or if they’ll wonder why half of their share is the color of Kermit. I put together numbers for weekly market harvests and visualize the bountiful stacks they’ll make on our tables. Soon I’ll be far enough along to start writing in tasks on calendars and filling out field maps, and then it’s going to be really real. And still some time to go before things really get underway. Oh, blue sky January, you’re getting me a little ahead of myself here!
I hope the blue is inspiring you too.