I’ve noticed robins in greater numbers of late on the farm. I knew they migrated, but have wondered why they’re seemingly always around. It’s been said they follow the 36 degree line as it progresses North, yet many remained here last winter when it was so much colder.
Upon researching, I discovered that it’s more accurate to say they migrate only when food is scarce…fruit being their primary choice, adding to the menu earthworms and insects in winter. In a kind of orchestrated risk diminishment, robins spread out in winter in search of fruit. The hardiest brave the cold North while others search for easier pickings.
The short dry spell leading up to the weekend’s snow allowed us to turn ground. Robins and other birds just about follow the tractor, knowing a meaty bonanza lies just beneath the surface. The worms must have had their fill as well, at least in our fields, as they seem to wriggle out of each shovelful. The soil test results we received back this week attest to the added vitality of our soils, just as well as the worms.
Based on our results, our need to use costly bagged amendments will be largely eliminated; it seems our close attention to soil health is paying off. The test results have left us singing in anticipation of Spring…which brings me to the most fascinating aspect of robin migration: most robins hold in their song until they’ve reached home, where they will breed. It’s as if they’re storing creative energy, allowing it to surge forth when Nature deems it fit to reproduce…the arrival of Spring.
Our song begins in the Greenhouse, each sprouting green potential hitting a different note. It’s always a magical thing to watch it unfold. Yes, we couldn’t resist an extra-early sowing of tomatoes…some of these will go in our new hoop-house in hopes of early tomatoes. Lettuces, herbs, broccoli, cabbage, endive, radicchio, onions, chard and beets are up, and this week brings sowings of peppers, fennel, kohlrabi, raab and basil.
Looming rain brings with it a sense of urgency and things tend to get done. Saturday was just that way, and with the help of a prospective intern, Michael, and my Dad we pushed our onion transplanting upwards of 10000. In addition to our staple Yellow Candy Sweets we are trying Red Candy, Zeppelin and a supersweet white called Sierra Blanca. Later this week I’ll start in on the dried sets, which I’ll plant close together for Spring Onions.
One of the great joys of building Harmony Ridge these past few years has been all the great people we’ve met, including those who’ve lent a hand. First to come to mind is our neighbor Bobby. He’s given freely of sage advice on soil and climate and is always around when you need him. Just the other day he brought his forklift by to help us unload our new Springtooth cultivator and seeder for the tractor. It’s amazing how local folks seem to show up right when you need them on a young farm. One of Bobby’s former hands, Kelly, works on small machines and has been indispensible of late, as we are mechanically-challenged.
It has been great getting to know other farmers in the area as well. This year we will work more closely with some of the best around…making their products available to CSA members through our new add-on process. The website under construction will allow members to simply check off items they wish to add to their weekly boxes in one easy step. We are excited to enrichen the CSA experience while helping other farmers sell their goods…meats, cheeses, fruits, honey, jams, dry goods, etc. available on a seasonal basis.
As I have some catch-up to do in the Greenhouse today, I’ll leave you with a few more announcements…
- membership is still open for our Spring/Summer CSA program. Our first deadline is this Friday 24th. If you wish to join I urge you to submit your registration soon as we can only serve so many. If you are indeed joining us, please drop me a quick e-mail stating your intention so we can better gauge our marketing and production needs.
- There will be a new delivery location in downtown Kernersville. It will occur midday on Thursdays, details TBA.
- On our new website we will have a section with testimonials and references. Please let me know if you would like to serve as a reference for our CSA program. I would simply list your name and number. I am also welcoming the submission of any 1-3 sentence farm testimonials.
Once again, thank you all for your support. Until next time…