Ski tracks out the back trails. Boot tracks through the backyard. It's the season of tracking and we're hard at work: counting vegetables grown and vegetables distributed, members and renewal rates, equipment and supplies. How did this year go? It feels like it was a bountiful fall for leeks, for carrots. We know that in our memories of the work days and in our guts as we look in the root cellar. But when we start counting, our memories get confirmed and also more refined by data. How did it compare to last year? To the last ten? We enter the totals, review the surveys and clack on our keyboards, snuggled up inside in our sweaters.
Outside, snow has settled on the fields. Ice coats the accessible garden, forms overnight on our windshields, and develops in moments on our eyelashes outside. Just before the single digits arrived we sent the cabbage and onions down to the cellar. Our low-tech (but usually effective) system of draping and un-draping blankets and tarps wouldn't keep them from freezing in the harvest shed anymore. Just in time. Some things didn't go so smoothly: a pipe broke in the bathroom. Water on the floor was ice a few minutes later! But Dan was on it, shutting off the rushing water and planning the fix. Less of a crisis, more of a "doh!" moment: a small cow kept heading out on a hunt for grass, a mysterious escape, as the pasture fence was "hot" and intact (... only after the third time I found the door they'd pushed open in back of the barn). Certainly enough going on to keep things exciting.
And down in the cellar there's a feeling of fullness - crops all piled in to make space for those "upstairs" vegetables. The new string lights add to the festive-factor. Come on down, breathe in the sharp, cold air! Take your vegetables home in brimming bags. Put some soup on the stove, stretch your cold muscles in a cozy spot. Breathe out - all warm and safe.
We hope you enjoy the winter bounty,
(for Dan, Karen, Abbe, Sunny, Rebecca (and Ellen in Denver!))