Thursday, February 7, 2013

Another One by Liese: Nutty Weather

The nutty weather this past two weeks has me reflecting on how precarious our relationship to nature is. In some ways the history of agriculture is the history of manipulating, working around, and bending nature to human needs. We depend so totally on the rhythms and cycles of our environment, and yet often we feel at odds with it, struggling to produce lettuce in January or salmon with eel DNA simply because we’ve judged what nature gives us unsatisfactory to our plans.

I took the first two pictures last January 25th and 26th. We literally crouched inside the low tunnels, under the plastic, to protect ourselves and the plants from wind and sleet. The next morning we still went to market despite the icy roads, and it turned out that the vendors who came were also Yankee ex-patriots. We christened it “White Saturday.”

By the end of that day, the sun came out and melted the ice. On Tuesday January 29th, just three days later, the temperature was in the 70s and I worked on my mid-calf boot tan as I cultivated strawberries. A cold front followed and brought steady winds around 20mph and gusts of over 40mph. At Wednesday around 4pm, both of our high tunnels had been blown over.

In many ways, I think this variability is more challenging than a consistent extreme. It certainly keeps us busy—on top of the usual farm chores like harvest, we had to figure out a way to protect the plants exposed by the torn-out wind tunnels because it froze, again, that Friday night.

Despite another cold market morning, we again saw many familiar faces. There’s our consistent bright spot—good food, great friends.