It is late winter, here at the Gentle Karma Farm. Mother Nature reminded us of that by her gift of five inches of snow in three hours a couple of days ago. A couple of days from now the temperature is supposed to be in the sixties. So the battle is well underway. Winter and Spring are now dueling for dominance in spite of the obvious outcome. The peepers, tiny frogs that call out at first chance once the temperatures reach into the sixties, have been out twice so far; and twice they've been driven back under cover by the returning cold. It is inevitable that within a couple of days, I will again be hearing their celebratory calls from the slough on the other side of the ridge from my cabin. According to the local wisdom, once the frogs "peep" for the third time, Spring is officially here regardless of what the calendar indicates. In my forays into the woods, surveying cabin sites, I have noticed the early signs of a Spring yet to be. This has been the golden time, the time when the cold has made it possible to enjoy the woods without sharing it with the bugs and spiders. During my walks I have noticed the buds on the trees yearning to burst forth with life force and into full bloom. As temperature permits, the first insects, flies and moths, have begun to stir. On south facing slopes where the fescue is protected from the north wind, tinges of green are evident.
As the snow rapidly melts in the field outside my window, I think about all the plans I want to realize on the farm this year. Building infrastructure is at the top of the list, especially where growing and preserving food is concerned. Moseley's old silo will be the site of my greenhouse and root cellar. I have already begun dragging logs up the hill with the mighty Red Ranger. These logs will hold back the black soil from my lower fields I plan to bring up here to create the terraced growing beds that will be my garden. Once the beds are in place, I will need to fence them to keep out the rabbits, opossums, raccoons, and deer. Planting castor beans around the outer perimeter will repel gophers and moles who will not enjoy eating the poisonous roots. Marigolds and lemon grass around the inner perimeter will deter many insects and other varmints. And then I can plant the garden!
Beehives are part of the plan for this year. Sites for the hives need to be prepared. The whole top field, where I want to place the the bee lot, needs to be brush hogged, tilled and planted with sweet clover, wild flowers, and pussy willow.
I want to finish the cabin, interior and exterior, and add the bathroom, walk-in closet, and atrium. Building and installing the permanent rain water collection system in lieu of drilling a well is also a must. As I sit here contemplating what I now realize is a huge undertaking, I wish maybe that the snow would melt a little slower. Perhaps the peepers could take a vacation and maybe the insects will decide to sleep in. Wow, this is going to take another cup of tea!