With this many clouds you really have no choice but to search for the silver linings. As the steel grey of March weighs down on Vermont we find ourselves looking not just forward to lush fields of green but also reflecting warmly back on the woodstove nights of a very white winter.
We’ve been starting onions, lettuces, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes in the greenhouse for a few weeks now. As such, it’s very easy to simply let our minds run ahead to the spring and summer. First fiddleheads and ramps, then asparagus and spring lettuces, then rhubarb and beet greens, then... well, you can see how quickly you get ahead of yourself. But for now we’re going to take a moment to enjoy the month we’re in.
Though winters on the farm aren’t nearly as hectic as summers, they are no less important. Winters offer the chance to check things off the huge “when we get some free time” list that piles up in the back of our minds during the summer. Fixing the tractor, cleaning and fine-tuning implements, ordering supplies, renovating the greenhouses, finally getting around to joining the 21st century with a website… all just the tip of the winter to-do list iceberg. All in all, it’s been a very productive winter and, at the risk of jinxing ourselves, we feel very well prepared for the coming growing season.
But maybe more importantly than all of that is the space the winter gives us to cultivate those things not on display at the farmers market but just as essential to the heart and soul of Hurricane Flats. Warm winter meals around the stove, sledding on the back hill with the girls, holidays with the extended family, skating on the rink on village green and, of course, winter volleyball with our great friends; just a few of the things that make long summer days in the hot sun that much more bearable. As we look back on it we cannot help but be thankful to have had the quiet of this very snowy winter to cuddle up with those things that matter so much to us. Before the snow melts and the grass begins to grow we feel it necessary to take pause and appreciate that.
Now, if someone’s selling you months, I wouldn’t recommend buying March in Vermont. But that’s just it; we don’t have the luxury of buying and selling our time. Our lot is just to make of our time what we can. That’s the true lesson of March.
Nonetheless, as we trudged our way out to the snow-blanket greenhouses this morning we couldn’t help but notice the clouds just starting to break behind the hills. I dare say that rays of sunshine peaking from behind the clouds in June won’t taste as sweet.