Sunday, March 16, 2014

Winter’s Final Days at Restoration Farm

The rutted dirt road that leads down to the fields is still clogged with snow.   My right foot slides through some crusty ice into a chasm of cold, muddy water.   The waterproof shoes were a smart choice.  Winter seems reluctant to depart from Restoration Farm.
I reach the clearing that opens into the fields, and the scene changes.  
Hawks dance in the sky, a shockingly red cardinal shoots across the field, and a flock of robins – the very first robins I’ve seen in months – delight in their role as harbingers of spring.
Restoration Farm is brimming with wildlife. Donna Sinetar's chickens are having a lively conversation.
Far from the chickens, I spot a large red fox in the field adjacent to Apple Trace. He is too swift and wily for my camera to capture, but I see his large, plush tail bounding away towards the Manetto Hill Church on the other side of the field.

There is human activity as well. George and Zsofi are mulching, preparing the field for the inevitable transfer of young vegetable plants from the greenhouse.
Head grower Dan Holmes has revved up the tractor.
At Apple Trace, the row of eight heritage apple trees dedicated to my late father, it is pruning time.  
Late winter is considered the perfect time for pruning, to promote a strong limb structure.  The limbs are covered with buds.  
The trees are now two years old, and given the severity of the winter, they look quite healthy.   I prune carefully to shape each tree, and encourage that latent energy to flow into the outer limbs.  I carry away a bundle of twigs that are a tangible reminder of this living memorial.
Some man-made structures have sprung up as well. Perhaps less evocative, but no less important, a new storage and distribution center has been erected over the winter.  Dubbed “The Tin House” it will be a focal point of weekly vegetable distributions and the new Restoration Farm education and arts program. 
I leave you with a old and venerable proverb that seems to sum up winter’s waning days at Restoration Farm.  

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” 
©2014 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I am quite impressed with how Restoration Farms made it through the winter and now getting ready for growing season. And you saw robins - spring is definitely in the air :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

We're about to prune our pear trees, too. Pruning is such a rite of spring, and even though we'll be standing in snow to do it this year, it feels that we can actually make spring arrive sooner with our pruning shears in hand!

~~louise~~ said...

Top of the Afternoon to You, T.W!
I was just talking to my friend Katie yesterday. I don't know if I told you she went and moved to Missouri. Anyway I was telling her how much I am missing working in the greenhouse this year. She reminded me to begin pruning also. I actually thought it was still too cold.

Restoration farm is showing all the signs of the natural process of the changing of the seasons. Mother Nature will do as she pleases but we need to forge ahead!

I LOVE that picture of the "living" tribute, T.W. Thank you so much for sharing...

P.S. Did you get those food drying recipes I emailed you a couple of weeks ago? My email has been acting odd:)

Kat said...

Absolutely love this post. You write so well.

Anonymous said...

I so much enjoyed this cool lovely post, spring is nearly coming around the corner!

I love working in my own garden too,.'.it is much fun too. 😀

Velva said...

Restoartion Farm will soon come alive! Love, love it. I am looking forward to the spring posts.


Catherine said...

Dear T.W., The anticipation of spring is inspiring.
Blessings, Catherine

Barbara said...

Keep that fox well away from the henhouse! :)
Wonderful to see Restoration Farm coming to life.
Who did that marvelous watercolor?
I hope spring has arrived for all of you in the north country. My Michigan family has suffered pretty badly this year...and this is also the first year I've ever heard weather complaints from my NYC daughter. VERY bad for business as well as a multitude of other things!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

The farm is coming alive. There is still too much snow on the ground for me to start pruning our apple trees.