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Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Spring Snow

Whether you call it Candlemas, Imbolc, Ground Hog Day, Brigit's day or as I do Spring Finding, the time around the first of February has been marked in many ways over the years. In the old days they used to say "Half your wood, half your hay" should still be left to make it to spring.

I know I will be running short of onions, and while I don't burn wood or feed hay, as yet, I do mark the cross quarter. It is, in my mind, time to being thinking and planning the garden... to do germination tests and have the first seed order in hand, to begin planting onion, leek and celery seeds. Those crops tolerate extra time under the lights without getting leggy; the celery just gets a better start and the onions and leeks can have their "hair cut" regularly without harm while they grow. I'll be making seed blocks and seeding them in the next few days.

Today, though, we had a "spring snow." No, I don't think there will necessarily be an early spring and here in Maine it is decidedly NOT just around the corner. We often get much of our snow in February and a good bit in March. What I am calling a spring snow is the several inches that fell in temperatures that hovered around the freezing point. After all of our BRRR weather, ice storms and seriously cold wind chills, it was a wonderful treat to be able to enjoy the gently falling snow on my drive home, last night, from a long day of interacting with people in town. And even nice to take off for my part time job this morning, at 5 AM, wearing only a light winter jacket and cotton dress pants. No long johns needed to apply. When I left work, I didn't even bother with the jacket!

Yes, it is melting and yes, the temperatures are dropping as I write... but whatever the prediction of the groundhog, Mother Nature has told me, spring will come.

I am, however, still glad for the relative solitude and quiet of winter.

After spending most of yesterday and the evening in town, giving a presentation on timing of garden planting and seed starting, visiting with friends and finally attending a wonderful "locovore" supper featuring Maine grown produce (much from the hostesses root cellar) and local wines, I am glad to have a protracted period back here on the farm. As much as I enjoy my time in town, I NEED the solitude. It feels a bit like I have met my social needs for the entire month in this one day!  LOL

I am in the beginning stages of planning my farm marketing approach for this year, did a bit of networking yesterday and am cautiously optimistic that I may be on to something. I have hemmed and hawed about continuing to supply produce to a buyers club in a nearby community. The group WAS larger (it is in a college town and tends to grow and shrink over the school year, as well as from year to year in general) in the past and while my sales were mostly adequate, there were weeks when I wondered "why bother." I don't really have the time to spend "babysitting a parking lot" as a friend calls the farmers market circuit nor can I afford -- were I interested in it -- to pay help, if I could find it.

Also, with my "Year of Transition" focus and looking ahead, I know that in the future having a weekly trip to town is not only quite likely to happen, it is quite likely to be the most often I head as far as Bangor. Now, there are good reasons I need to plan a "city trip" regularly... picking up medications and other necessities that are less expensive there or not easily available in our small town being main ones. I am already hauling produce to town every two weeks... and I have heard from folks who visited me at farmers markets, that it is not always easy for them to get there. Some have transportation issues, some have mobility issues, some work and don't have time off during the most convenient market and we all know in this era of two income families with active kids... time is always an issue. So I am forging ahead to offer free delivery for produce ordered online or by email. I will offer pay online or pay on delivery options and am considering offering an inexpensive cooler with a deposit for those who cannot be present to accept their order.

All of the kinks are not yet worked out, and I have not even begun setting it up on, though that is is the works.
3' outdoor Welcome hex, shipped to TX

Meanwhile, I continue to paint hexen, honor Frigga and look forward to my next sojourn amongst the masses on Feb 15 at the Spin-in in Newport, ME