What a Year It's Been!

by Eleanor Kane on April 30th, 2014

When I think back to last spring, we had our fingers crossed that Warren Farm would be the place for us.  We were still months away from closing on it and working and living on leased land in Dudley, MA.  Farming here in Barrington was a dream, one that we talked about incessantly but one that was always couched in terms of ‘if it works out’ or ‘it could be like this.’
Now, sitting and looking out at the buds on the peach trees and the dogs playing by the ponds, it did work out, and it is like this.  April 30th seems like a strange time of year for farmers to take a deep breath and start to reflect, but after purchasing Warren Farm in August, spending the fall moving our animals (not to mention our own belongings!), December selling Christmas Trees, and January through now getting the barn and equipment set up for the season, it has finally started to feel like we can relax a bit.
Which is ironic, because spring in New England waits for no farmer.  Theo has been out plowing until dark for the last few nights and I’ve been getting the store ready for customers, getting us signed up for markets, and transplanting as soon as he’s done with a row.  We had a window of sunny, dry days followed by some gentle rain last week in which we planted an entire field of onions.  That kind of weather is the type that we are so, so thankful for because that hardly ever works out.  Tonight we’re looking at an inch of rain, so once again we’re playing chicken with the weather forecast… to determine when to put the chickens out on pasture.  
But rain and wind and sun (when we see it!) is just part of the excitement and while this past winter was cold and tough in so many ways, a late spring has given is a chance to get some projects done and let us work at a less harried pace.  Our piglets have been romping through the woodlot and our boar, despite an Easter morning escape, has been enjoying the huge new paddock that Ellen set up for him.  Speaking of work Ellen’s done, we have five brand new chicken tractors waiting for their avian occupants, and row after row of raspberries perfectly pruned and just waiting for the weather to warm up.
Relaxing for us really means a break from simply transition to a new farm and instead a chance to actually farm.  We are chomping at the bit to get out there and put more plants in the ground, so between putting the polishing touches on the store (come check out the new paint job it got last month!), playing with the lambs (someone has to- they are too cute to not be played with), and checking on the grass in the new pasture (it looks less like a post-apocalyptical wasteland and more like something that will someday be an idyllic field), we’re eagerly looking forward to transplanting some lettuce and kale.
There’s nothing like looking at a row of freshly transplanted plants, newly cultivated dirt, and imagining what they’ll look like in a few weeks or months.  It’s a harbinger of a season about to start, and us standing on the cusp of our first summer on the new farm.  The house might not be completely unpacked (whoops!) and we might still be scrambling here and there with such a big transition over the last few months, but settling down into farm work on new land, new fields, and with a new community that we’re excited to get to know, is what we were hoping for a year ago, and we are nothing but thankful for the opportunity.

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Lee - April 30th, 2014 at 9:03 AM
Beautifully written, Nora! I'm so happy for you and Theo and eastern New Hampshire that you have found your land! Have a great season and give a lamb a hug for me.

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