Q.) When is it okay for a farmer to be behind?
A.) When there’s nothing he could have done about it.
Here’s an inside look into Uncle Vern’s life. Right now, I’m really feeling behind. For clarification, anyone around here will tell you that unless everything that could be done is, I always feel behind. But as I write this on Tuesday the 7th of February, the ground is soggy, grass is 18 inches high down the orchard middles, buds are swelling, I saw pink 3 days ago in some apricots and the forecast is for heavy rain tonight and another good amount Thursday night and Friday.
We still have 35 acres of orchard to plant. Normally that’s done in early January. You’ll remember from last week’s planting guide how a fist full of soil needs to crumble in your hand or the shovel will pack the soil around the hole and the tree will have a hard time busting out. Soggy soil doesn’t crumble so we’re probably a good week away from planting again.
What I am really amazed at is how well our existing orchards are absorbing all this rain. They’re soaking up a one inch storm in a day like nothing. I think the native grass cover helps a lot with this. The fancy word for this is “tilth.” When soil is in good tilth, it’s alive, it’s wondrous, it’s a productive, joyous celebration of everything good.
We farmers can’t make this happen, but we most certainly encourage or discourage the balance; and yes, we also get to join the celebration, much as I suppose a symphony conductor must exult when every member of his orchestra is well rehearsed, sitting forward in their seats, anticipating the next phrase, the music emotionally soaring…
Yep, farming is all that and more. Well produced music and peaches are both keys that inexplicably open inner vaults of happy well-being. Great farmers and musicians create nourishment where none was that satisfies like none can. You leave wholly energized, fed with the sweet wonder that simple goodness is more than enough.
Wonder is the greatest anti-aging secret. Old people no longer find wonder in a garden, a creek, or a forest. Old people aren’t much fun.
Some old people I know are 25 and boring as drying paint. They’ve seen it all, have all the answers before they hear the questions. I also know some young people who at 95 are so wonder full you just want to walk in the woods or the orchard with them to see all the amazing things the new day presented.
Try it out. If you’re feeling age, go out and find something unbelievable. If you forgot how, go for a walk with a 2-year-old and experience the amazing world under a rotten log. If you need joy, feed a ripe tomato to a pig; guaranteed mirth. Tell a joke to a duck, he’ll laugh so hard you’ll think you’re Jack Benny.
Simple goodness is more than enough. Wonder repels mental aging.