Spring. A word that inspires hope and excitement in almost any farmer, especially if you are feeling rested from winter. A word that, for the annual veggie farmer entails starting those earliest of seeds, and getting ready for another rewarding, albeit hectic, season of hard work and bountiful growth. Maybe it means organising what didn’t get organised at the tail end of last fall. Maybe it means recovering greenhouses with plastic that were uncovered for winter. Maybe it means just anxiously waiting because spring isn’t actually quite here yet.
Because, I’ll be honest – spring has not yet arrived in Pemberton. While I have received reports from my family on Vancouver Island of snowdrops in full bloom, and while I am used to seasons of farming on the island when I would be starting the first seeds right now, the truth of the matter is, Pemberton still has about a foot of snow on the ground. And the chance of frost is much later here, meaning, that most of those tender little seedlings can’t be planted out until much later anyway, so getting them started now would serve no real purpose (unless we were going to employ the services of a heated greenhouse, which Rootdown does not – instead Rootdown aims to transplant seedlings straight out into the field).
And so, while spring is on the way, it is not actually here yet. Even though I am feeling ready and excited for it. I know I should be enjoying my down time, enjoying the restful winter season – and I am. It’s just that I am also beginning to feel that itch – that almost uncontrollable, primal urge – to dig my hands into the soil again, to be doing physical labour outside, to be contributing to the good and satisfying work of growing healthful, nourishing food for people. Hence the bittersweet feelings – it is still winter, the days are still short and dark, I am enjoying resting and relaxing, and yet, and yet – there is a stirring of life, more of a feeling than any actual earthly signs yet, and it is stirring something inside of me too.