In November has been my mantra of late.
People ask me if I want to get together, do a project, get dinner in the city. “In November,” I tell them.
The kitchen floor badly needs a mop, and I haven’t even brought the box of books I picked up from the Concord Library book sale into the house yet. The fiction that I am supposed to be writing sits sadly deserted in my studio. I’d like to put a little herb garden next to the house, and learn to sew, too. In November, I tell myself.
It’s not a bad way to live (other than the kitchen floor actually needing a mop before November.) It’s one of the things I love about farming. Ten plus hour days all summer long, sweat and work and sweet exhaustion, and then, finally, at the end of the season, a deep breath – and time for other things. It’s a rhythm that I thrive inside, this deeply seasonal way of living. I love the season, where hard work brings sweet rewards, but I also love the deep winter, the stillness of November days when I’ll get to sleep in till 8, cook elaborate meals, visit friends, work on my own projects.
As we were weeding carrots last week, a volunteer asked me, “so how long do you see yourself doing this?” He wasn’t referring to the bed of carrots we were weeding (although I could probably do that endlessly, too.) He meant – how much of your life are you going to spend farming?
“Until I can’t do it anymore,” I told him, which is the truth. Sometimes it still surprises and delights me, as I go about the ordinary routine of my daily work – weeding, bed making, planting, harvesting – that this is what I get do forever, season after season, until my body finally says, enough. Farming as a career was not something I decided on. It just happened, and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
The field is exploding with summer color. Last night for dinner I had bright yellow summer squash, curly green garlic scapes, perfect snow peas and lots of fresh basil, tossed with plenty of feta and angel hair pasta. Summer is truly here. Our early tomatoes are waist high, the beans are climbing toward the top of their trellis, and we’re deep in the work of turning over old beds in which we’ll plant new successions of carrots, beets, greens, radishes, scallions, bok choy.
I’ve started a list of winter projects. I’d like to build a simple low tunnel-style hoop house to overwinter kale and other greens. I’ve been thinking about making a whole bunch of small, reusable cloth bags for greens (learning to sew being the prerequisite.) Our CSA zine is inspiring me to make a cookbook-style zine. And my bread baking has virtually disappeared of late.
For now, I’m weeding, weeding, weeding, gobbling up vegetables as fast as I can grow them, reveling in our bountiful CSA distributions, harvesting in the early morning and planting in the sweet afternoon, staking and tying toamtoes, spreading golden straw mulch everywhere I can, oh yeah, and weeding.
As for the rest of it…in November.