This is a time of year when I have to admit to feeling a bit weary. I’m not particularly well adapted to high heat and humidity (I’d take a clear January day of 5 below over a “July scorcher” any day!). And the long hours of spring and early summer are starting to take their toll. Add to that a few (fun!) late nights (Winona’s Great River Shakespeare and Minnesota Beethoven Festivals are both in full swing!) and you get… one tired farmer.
Fortunately there seems to be relief in sight, and not just for me, but for others at the farm as well. For one thing the heat has broken, and we’ll all be sleeping a lot better with night temps in the 50s. More important, a number of us will be taking long weekends to re-charge the batteries a bit, beginning with me at the end of this week; Emmet, Jasper (3rd son, age 9) and I will be backpacking for 3 nights in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan’s UP (!!).
Much of the work on a vegetable farm like Featherstone is seasonal, concentrated in the months of April through November. So there’s a lot of down time for the big majority of the farm’s employees. There are a number of us who are now working full time (or more than full time!) year round, however, and for us, a break of even 4 days in the summer can be a huge help. Evan and Shona have planned in trips north in August; Greta will hopefully be able to get some time as well.
Having a “summer job” like crop farming can be a blessing and a curse. There are times when being outside, working with the soil and the weather and the vegetables can be the most transcendent, soulful work imaginable. Other times, it can get under the skin; too much of even a good thing is still too much. I’ve come to this point now, at mid season. And I’m incredibly grateful to everyone at the farm that will keep the field work moving forward while I’m hiking in the huge Hemlocks later this week, recharging the batteries and preparing for the big push of harvest through the fall.
Enjoy the first fruits of summer- eggplants and basil and peppers.
Sweet corn and tomatoes are just around the corner!!