Rainy Day Village Season: Us, Our People, Our neighbors

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Overnight, as predicted, a storm front moved in. Over the next twenty four hours, we expect up to half an inch of rain, or about 5 percent of our yearly precipitation. As I write behind the soundtrack of the roof on the barn, I’m reminded of days spent under tin roofs in Borneo, and in the thunder of rain on shopping malls in Asia where I used to take refuge. It’s our own version, just for today, of the rainy season that descends upon Southeast Asia for months. I’d often think of the rainy season as marking change; helping regulate climate, and preceding feasts of fruiting seasons during the period where dolphins mate, and forest planting and harvesting cycles shift.


Our cycles did indeed shift over the past couple of weeks. We have finished all of our main planting, with just the weekly plantings to do, some flowers, seeding for fall, and some final flower plantings.  Our summer crew started. And next week, summer memberships will start and if we aren’t yet fully ready, we will pretend we are ready.


I greet the summer season with hope, and with fear.  Mary and I look forward to our cash balance shifting, from mostly all expenses, to more income.  I track our egg production and the expenses of our rapidly growing young chicken flock like a general at war. We think hard about how we can make more time to breath on the farm, to create, grow, and nurture but we still fall asleep around midnight or 1am with piles of lists not finished and too much to do.  Emails and voicemails start to pile up, and we work through them, late and early.  We triage, we fix, and somehow this week, in about three days, I managed, with just a little help with Mary, some phone calls to my buddy Scott, and after some welding fabrication from Glenn, I managed to put up the bones of the new wheeled three-season chicken coop. Trusses and a roof will go on once this rain stops.  We worry about the tension of managing everything, keeping our other accounts (our wholesale income is shifting, unexpectedly), but mostly, we try to rally our spirits, breath deep.


I think of our farm, these days, as a tiny village. When I buy screws at Don’s, now it’s boxes (for the buildings). When we buy wood, it’s bunks. And when we greet families that pile into the farm, on Tuesdays or any day, it’s with tired, open arms. When a friend shows up unexpectedly to visit, we ply her into a potato planting that last for hours and then cook her dinner at midnight. And when one of our more distant neighbors starts burning waste, we reach out, diplomatically, like a village concerned for it’s people, food, and health would reach out. We broke up one dog fight too this week (sorry, Amanda, Malaya is very protective of her kittens), but people in villages do this too. In an unrelated incident, Deputy Brandon stopped by to admire the new construction project and get a speech from me about our role in this village. Trudy, who after seeing what the fence project did to my hat, brought us real SweetRoot Farm hats for the crew!  Amy, when she was bringing treats to our chickens left us beers in the farm store fridge! And, I almost forgot: hours before we borrowed neighbor Dorea's headlamp last week, on Friday (why we decided to plant on a friday, I don't know) Toby found us temporary collapsed in the weeds when she brought us muffins. I still can’t believe that all of us, all of you, make up this thing called SweetRoot.