The end of March is feeling bleak and colorless on the farm. Though there have been a handful of days warm enough to smell a hint of mud and trees, the ground is still frozen solid. Many building projects and field preparation tasks around the farm are being put off another week or two until it warms up just another few degrees. When we go outside to wander around the fields and listen to the wind, though, we can feel an energy in the soil and in the trees - everything is poised and ready.
Our seedlings are growing diligently in the greenhouse, blissfully unaware of the snowy wet forecast this week and the frigid wind rattling the windows. We understand each little baby plant to be a promise – a promise that it won’t be long before the whole landscape explodes in color. A promise of permanently dirty hands and feet, of slow moving thunderstorms, and of mountains of spicy salad greens on our plates.
At this time of year we're reminded of a beautiful poem by Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese poet:
If winter should say, ‘spring is in my heart,’ who would believe winter?
Every seed is a longing.
There are some fun projects keeping us busy in these last few brown weeks of March, and small signs of life appearing around the farm. Though we immediately recovered them to protect against impending snowfall, we may have spotted a few garlic sprouts in the leaf mulch, and Aaron has been busy with sap collection and boiling.
The wide variety of color and consistency we're getting in our syrup is as mysterious as it is delightful; I really don't think I've ever tasted anything as complex and delicious as our fresh syrup, just a few hours out of the tree and still warm from the boiling. Plus, our house smells so cozy, humid and warm with sap.