We've done well planting things in plenty of time, but the weather has been typically unpredictable, with heavy frost earlier this week after days two weeks ago that reached the mid-80's. Hopefully, warmer (seasonal) temperatures next week will help the lettuce and radishes, and we should have green onions. The rhubarb is growing so fast I made my rhubarb barbecue sauce today, and will be making rhubarb marmalade soon as well. Perennial herbs like mint, lemon balm, and chives are dependable for cut herbs. I'm thinning herb plants and potting them up for sale, and I should have a few flowers and extra assorted seedling plants after I plant what I need here in the coming weeks. Chicken and pork will be ready, with beef & lamb following the next week. I'll be making arrangements for coffee, tea, and cheese, and will be getting soap along with my final batch of heritage breed duck eggs soon. I have an inventory of jars and vinegar, and spent much of the winter making lip balms and lotions, aprons and tote bags. Blacksmithing and jewelry and peacock feather hair clips. Live chicks and hungry birds waiting for visitors to see them with small cups of food in hand. Could I have gotten to x,y, or z? Probably, but even with two separate trips to North Carolina this spring, and one where Dan was away as well, we have more than ever before. It will be enough.
So rather than panic, I just try to cross as many things as I can off my to-do list each day. Greenhouse work, garden work. I'm fortunate to have a wonderful brother-in-law who not only kept the critters fed for us, but worked on things like yard work and gardening in our absence. I'm trying to fix up a few extra pens, between young rabbits which are almost ready for sale and the explosion of baby poultry that is about to start coming out of the incubator, I need all the small animal space I can muster at the moment. (Long-term goal- more pens, both small raised pens and larger portable ones with access to grass. You have to invest in infrastructure when you're building an empire.) The important thing is, I feel like things are getting done. As a farmer, it's always tempting to try and push the season as far as you can, try to get things in early. But Pennsylvania weather pretty much always includes late frost- sometimes it's smarter to wait and not have to repeat the work. Or sometimes, plants that were planted later do better because they didn't fight the cold. It's good to remind myself of that. And so I'm trying more than ever to not only work hard, but to take a moment and enjoy what I'm doing. To stop in the middle of chores to watch the first orioles of the year in the back yard, or notice the flocks of goldfinches on the hop vine trellises. To take a moment and focus not on the weeding that needs done, but to step back and admire the season-long supply of blooms- both the wild ones and the perennials, herbs, and bulbs I've tucked into myriad corners of the farm. The wild ones inspire an awe of nature, but the others are all the more amazing because I picked them, in most cases edible or medicinal or some kind of amazing heirloom. They make the farm more beautiful and more useful, and I can see how I've left a mark, painting the landscape with flowers.