Just Chuckin’ Around…

This morning we looked out the window and saw snow flurries. Quite a departure from last week, huh? I know, I know, April weather is unpredictable across the board, and in Chicago it can mean tornadoes, hail, snow, or 75 degree weather. Ah well. That’s why we don’t plant the plants outside ’till May, right?

Last week, we had a good time discovering some of the perennials at the new place. Here are some of the unexpected treasures we found around the yard:

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Pussy willows – a big hit with the kid.

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There are a few bulbs that are still blooming after who knows how many years!

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Succulent ground cover – mmmmmm……

The greatest treasure of all, though, is the fat woodchuck who has been burrowing in the basement since it came out of hibernation last week. Apparently, they climb trees in order to “survey their surroundings”. This one looks pretty satisfied, I must say. Hope it likes to travel, because this week it’ll be relocating to the woods behind the pond.

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Woodchucks are also called “whistle pigs” due to the whistling sound they make when alarmed. And, I guess, their plumpness?

Inventory

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The greenhouse in all its snowy glory.

March is the time when all good CSA farmers are called to post the obligatory early seeding photos. “Look!”, we say, “We are already busy at work to ensure an abundance of good food this year. See the flats of soil, full of seeds waiting to germinate and show their little cotyledons to the world. See how diligently we water them. Every day! Or as needed. See the snow on the ground. We are not afraid! Spring is around the corner, it is here, and here is proof.”

Well, we’re not ones to disappoint. Now, these pictures may look a lot like others from years past. This year, however, they are special. What makes them different from pictures of the greenhouse from all other years? Did we take the pictures while reclining? Are they unleavened? Dipped in salt water? Sorry, couldn’t resist a little Passover humor there.

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Seeding onions is a tedious and never-ending job.

These pictures are different because they show our greenhouse on the new farm. A greenhouse that Nick built over the past week, using, by and large, a collection of materials that were just laying around. Materials that might have been seen by some of us as having little value – materials that some of us may have even encouraged others of us to discard at some point in the last five years. Materials that a wise man once described, not as junk, but rather, “inventory”.

Obviously, I’m proud of Nick and his ability to build useful things, sometimes seemingly out of thin air. But what really gets me is his ability to look at a pile of lumber, an old barn, a fallow field, and see what they will look like when the tables are built, the pigs come home, and the crops are growing. This is what keeps our business growing and evolving, and it’s another great reason to keep him around.

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My seeding nook on the front porch!

soil! 002I spy with my little eye something that starts with an “s”! Freshly delivered and ready to rock some seeds in the greenhouse. Thanks to the masterful coordination of Trogg’s Hollow (our neighbors down the road at the new Harvard farm) we were able to go in on a bulk shipment. Chris even helped Nick go get the totes, which were delivered to Alden Organic Farms, another nice neighbor. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty.