Spring is bursting with activity here on the farm! Now that the warm, dry weather has begun, we’ve been scurrying around making up for all the lost time from earlier spring. On this week’s list: more ground prep of various kinds and planting!
As planned, we planted all of our potatoes on Saturday — 24 200′-long rows of potatoes! It ended up just being our family out here, but it was a glorious day and we were happy to be out in it. The children helped plant a part of a row each.
But 200′ is a long row for a kid, and after some diligent work they were both ready to play instead. They took turns hiding sticks for the other one to find in the field, then the retreated to the expansive shade at the edge of our willow hedge. (I still marvel at the shade produced by trees we planted so many years ago! It makes me feel old and grateful for this work!)
Casey and I kept working at a steady but leisurely pace. I was awash with memories of our earlier farm years when it was just the two of us doing all the work every day — before children or employees came along. We had fun back then and we had fun on Saturday too.
Casey has kept planting since then. On today’s list to plant was: sweet corn, sunflowers, bok choy, chard, dino kale, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage. The kids wandered out to help him (and to play in the mud made by our sprinklers). I stayed inside to continue working on my big spring project this week: spring cleaning!
We’ve lived in our house now for a decade, which is certainly the longest I’ve ever lived in one place (Casey’s parents are still living in the same house they lived in when he was born however!). We observed our ten year-anniversary of moving into our house on Earth Day this year, and the occasion has brought gratitude to the forefront of my mind. After all these years, we do so love our funky little house that we built ourselves (with the help of friends and family).
There are certainly choices we might make differently were we starting from scratch today, but to be honest I’m so grateful that we’re not starting from scratch with building a house! It was a big, exhausting, stressful project, to say the least. Because we were new to house building and had a very limited budget, we moved fast and often made decisions based on what was easiest to do and cost the least (while still maintaining our goals of a sturdy house made out of real materials). The result is a small house with a lot of soft wood in its interior, and it feels a lot like a cozy cabin in the woods. Our cozy farm cabin!
I love it even more when I make the time to keep it sparkling clean, and it was certainly time for a deep clean. We spend a lot of time in our house, cooking from scratch and coming and going from our dirty work and play. Today, for instance, I scrubbed our entire kitchen ceiling!
I suppose these things do need to happen over a lifetime of living in one house, but I still find myself surprised by what it really means to dwell somewhere for the long-term. Surprises like finding that the willow hedge we planted from cuttings now has deep shade for sitting in. Or, in this case, finding that our ceiling just really does need to be cleaned!
I have written so much about time in these newsletters, because cycles of time are such a vivid part of our life here. Time exists here like a nesting doll, cycles nestling inside cycles. Our daily rhythm of breaking our fast together, then working, then coming back together for a quiet evening. Our weekly rhythm of harvest and field work, followed by rest on the weekends. Our yearly rhythms of planting, harvest, sowing cover crops, and finding rest in late fall and winter.
And as an undercurrent of it all is this continuous sense of moving forward too — not forward with any destination in mind. In fact, we’re about as ambitionless as perhaps we’ve ever been, as we have achieved many of our goals and are savoring this moment of life when our children are young and at home with us. But, nonetheless, time moves, and we see this marked in our very familiar landscape, again in those nesting cycles: the sun’s rising and setting; the moon’s waxing and waning; the day’s lengthening and shortening again. And, always our landscape changing to indicate where we are in those cycles too. Just in the last week the farmscape has shifted dramatically as our remaining over-wintered crops have all gone to flower and fields have turned from green cover crops to rich brown turned soil. New birds have arrived in our yard, bringing with them their spring songs — Evening Grosbeaks, Goldfinches, and Western Tanagers.
When we decided to live our life this way — rooted in a place — I looked forward to the sensory experience of the world constantly shifting around me. I wanted the familiarity that would allow me to see those minute, day-to-day changes in a landscape. If I were constantly moving, would I notice whether birds had arrived? How would I even know the order of what blooms when and notice when something is later than usual? (Such as this year’s Hawthorns, which by the way are in full bloom everywhere right now and gorgeous!)
For me, it has been such a gift to get to live this kind of life, the one Casey and I set our hearts on so many years ago. So much about it is simple and not very flashy or exciting. Often our life involves work. In many ways, it is a marriage and brings to our life all the same highs and lows one might expect from a committed lifelong relationship. But, like the best marriages, we are infinitely blessed by our intimacy with this place. And, spring is, of course, one of the easiest times to feel those blessings, as we rejoice in the golden sunlight and all the promises of the season to come.
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
~ ~ ~
Meet this week’s vegetables: We have several new items this week! As always, the first of a new harvest is small, and so we have to put limits on several items this week (one item of each of these new things for each share). But there are plenty of the staples to fill out your share, and more of the good spring things coming in future weeks!
- Baby head lettuce — LETTUCE! Limited for this week! You’ll get to watch over the next few weeks as these lettuces grow and get bigger!
- Baby carrots — DEFINITELY LIMITED this week! These are “Mokum” carrots, a variety that produces quickly and is tender and flavorful. It’s also the namesake of our cat, Mokum, whom we named after the carrots almost ten years ago after we brought him (and his brother Nelson, also a carrot variety name) home from the farmers’ market.
- Torpedo onions — Also limited this week. Torpedo onions are a special type of red sweet onion that has a long “torpedo” shape. They have exceptional flavor that is strong without being spicy. They are delicious eaten raw (slice them on a sandwich!) or cooked. Because these are fresh, you can use all parts of the onion — the bulb and the green tops both.
- Green garlic