Fall Magic 11/19/21

Posted by Mandy + Steve O'Shea on

It’s gorgeous out here!  The woods are in full Fall magic and the farm itself is dotted with Japanese maples, sweet gums, and a few other species that spare no expense when it comes to delighting our eyeballs with brilliant colors.  Fun fact: these vibrant fall colors don’t develop in Fall, but are actually in those very leaves all year long. Chlorophyll (the glorious chemical that works with CO2,water,and sunlight to generate oxygen and complex carbon based organisms— or in other words, both the air that we breathe and the base of all food chains and thusly: the main source of life on earth!!!) gets too expensive to make when there’s less sunlight, so many plants reabsorb this green pigment to reveal the brilliant reds, yellows and oranges that were always there, yet were eclipsed by the brilliant green of chlorophyll.  Nature is crazy magical!  Soak it in!
   Farm-wise, we have been super busy prepping and planting all of our tunnels in hopes of having a beautiful bounty of bodacious blooms in Spring.  We’ve already begun the sleepless nights associated with frozen temps and failed heaters, resulting in bedside alarms, and sleepy eyes atop shaky ladders, assisted by headlamps, screwdrivers and replacement parts.  Fortunately the repairs worked in time and no loss greater than circadian rhythms resulted.  This underlying anxiety of losing our crops due to frost and equipment failure unfortunately accompanies us from November until mid April each year.  We've added a number of fail-safes and on average, we do get more sleep than we used to, so the trend is in the right direction.  Poor Mandy used to walk the farm 2-3 times each cold night.  She did this for years.  Now that we have heaters, thermostats, and alarm systems, fortunately she gets more sleep in the winter.  She softly nudges me if there's an alarm and I grumble and grab warm clothes and a headlamp and hope for an easy one.
  Probably 60% of our tens of thousands of plants are now nestled in their new beds in the tunnels.  The rest are being nurtured in our new propagation tunnel. The guineas, desperate for a luxurious dust bath in our pristine tunnels, keep trying to find a breach in the perimeter so they can destroy our beds and kick out our plants.  We've battened down the hatches in an attempt to thwart their efforts. 
   Naw and Marry methodically work and giggle their way through the planting.  Rachel and Mandy are keeping the plant sale going and the farm store supplied with all its cuteness.  Mandy and I are planning, prepping, sorting, fixing, building etc...  Our seasonal rhythms, more familiar each year.  Our routines at once so normal and so strange.  I wasn't born to this.  Never considered this.  So it feels foreign at times to see myself as a farmer.  But now I've been doing it so long, I don't know what other life would even make sense for me.  Like a guinea in a forbidden bed, I've settled in.  I'm grateful to have this opportunity to temporarily steward this land in as respectful and considerate a manner as possible.  Grateful to have an amazing wife to do it with.  Grateful for our crew that feels like family.  Grateful at how beautiful this place can be.  Grateful at how wonderful our community and customers are.  So, thank you for helping us to create this farm and to make our efforts to put ethics into practice a reality.  We couldn't do any of this without your support.  We hope you have a wonderful holiday week, filled with as many moments of intentionally cultivated gratitude as possible.  Gratitude is a muscle that expands with a bit of exercise, so take this opportunity to make it stronger.  Everything is better when you cultivate gratitude.