A post from Small Potatoes

The spring air is thick with anxiety.  We are suspicious and uncomfortable b/c of the unseasonable weather.   The robins are back, we’ve seen bumble bees, wasps, cabbage looper moths, June bugs; the daffodils and tulips have come and gone.  Things are moving too fast and we feel behind.  We’ve not done taxes or usual early spring projects, like repairs, vehicle maintenance, etc., because we are alreay in the fields weeding, watering, and planting.  I harvested 2 pounds of asparagus yesterday and several green onions…unheard of in March.   I feel like labor came early, the baby is about to arrive, yet we’re not ready.  The mid-wife isn’t here and we haven’t a crib, a car seat, or any diapers.

Rick was very trepidatious 2 weeks back; I had to talk him into, no exhort him, into planting spinach and lettuce.  Now that it’s been 80 degrees or close for 2 weeks he has come to terms with the early spring and planted peas and more lettuce last night.  He worked until dark, something we usually don’t start doing until at least mid-May.

He worked until dark, something we usually don’t start doing until at least mid-May.

Our new employee starts today, a full month early.  To assess his skills we are going to clean the chicken coop, the most unsavory tast at the farm in my opinion.  This will test his committment and ablility to work as part of a team.  He will work under my direction as we begin cleaning the packing shed, thus testing is abililty to follow insructions, multi-task, and attention to detail.  We will have him dig a 6 foot deep hole to check his endurance and strength.  We’ll train him on the use of the Japanese hoe and set him loose in the rhubarb.  This task will show us if he is a fast learner and can master the most used tool at the farm.  Finally, I’m making venison loin over kale for lunch to test his openness to a variety of foods.

Oh how I miss Brian.   After working here for 3 years he knew what to do and how to do it.  He needed little instruction and no supervision. Now we must retrain somone on everything: weeding, washing, harvesting, packaging…the list seems endless.  Moroever, we must create a new relationship.   With Brian and we had our inside jokes, we knew his idiosyncracies and he ours, he knew the protocals (shoes off at the door, tools back to the barn, check the chicken water on hot days, etc.).  Brian being here made a very complex and arduous job bearble and even enjoyable on a daily basis.  The thought of starting at zero with a new employee makes me weary.   But so it is.  As Buddha said: “Everything you cherish you shall lose.”

There is a woodpecker outside my window, a pheasant is calling along the fence line, and I can see a row of lettuce emerging.  Life goes on, and I most go clean the chicken coop.

Seeking in my hut
For unlocked midnight treasures
A cricket burglar