You wouldn’t know it from the howling wind outside my office window, but as I type this spring is on its way into Michigan. The grass is greening, the winter wheat is growing, there’s a small lake at the bottom of the hill where a lane normally stands. For the past few weeks I’ve been telling The Man about the ever-expanding list of things we needed to get done “before the rains” came, and this week the rains showed up with only about 1/10th of that list having been completed. Now we’ll probably wait no less than a month for things to dry out again before we can proceed. It’s always the way.
Not the least of that work has been dismantling winter pens that went up over the course of the first two years we were at this building-a-small-farm-from-scratch stuff. We’ve learned a lot since those earliest days — enough that I’ve seriously considered writing a book just on the things we’ve done wrong — and as we adapt and change those particular pens are no longer needed. It’s gratifying to see things changing for the better, but occasionally frustrating to watch two years worth of work come down in what amounts to closer to two hours.
None of the spring work is particularly pretty. Even when it’s relatively “dry” there still tends to be a lot of mud, a lot of piles of posts and boards, a lot of toting tools in and out. Melted snow and dormant matted grass has a way of exposing all of the place’s short comings. The areas of poor drainage, that strand of wire fence that never got fixed after the one-man-steer-moving-rodeo of late fall 2012, the weeds that took over the garden after we all but gave up on the worst gardening season we’ve seen yet.
There’s an urgency that sets in this time of year. One that dissipates just briefly in early summer, and then hurls itself full force back into me as things begin to ripen. It’s something that a wise woman would probably avoid, but that I find myself embracing, even eagerly welcoming. Let’s get this summer show on the road!