I've been busy today trying to talk myself into the ridiculous idea that the world won't end if the next round of turnips goes in the ground a week or two later than planned.
It's yet another monsoon-y day here, which means an unwanted halt to most farm work, and another day spent chomping at the bit, fretting over standing water pooling up in the fields, interrupted planting schedules, damped-off seedlings, and generally scowling at the idea of having to put the rubber boots back on my feet every time I need to go outside.
I can create a perfectly-timed succession of a bounty of widely varied delicious produce to awe and inspire your cooking efforts...on paper. After nearly ten years of farming, I still find myself eternally hoping for everything to turn out as neatly as it does in my crop planning spreadsheets - every seed sown on time, perfectly cooperative weather, dry enough to do what we need to accomplish without racing the next storm in. No messes, no surprises. It will rain exactly one inch every week, at night or on Sundays, the weeds will never get ahead of us, the sun will shine the precise number of hours we need it to in order to get the perfect crop.
That obviously never happens.
All life is messy and surprising; farming even more so. One of the hardest lessons I'm still trying to learn as a farmer is that it's never all going to work out as planned. And that's OK. This winter's carrot seedlings are going to need to be liberated from a mess of grass weeds because we had to rush them in with less-than-ideal soil preparation. OK. The fields were too muddy to get in neatly plotted successions of radishes or broccoli or whatever every week for the past month, so the harvests will be hit-or-miss instead of a continuous succession. Alright. I've planted chard three times in the past month, and each time the seed sprouts, here comes a heavy rain or three and all the seedlings melt back into the ground overnight. OK, fine...I suppose most of you prefer spinach anyway, which is growing along pretty dandy for now.
I can drive myself an inch from insanity trying to stick as close to possible to that glorified perfect paper schedule, while nature throws wrenches, screwdrivers, sometimes sledgehammers into my plans. (Note to potential future farmers: if you are a 'type A' personality bordering on what's politely termed a 'control freak,' think long and hard before getting into this game). Or I can try to acknowledge the fact that we do almost always produce a pretty good variety of things to eat...try to accept that it's never going to work out perfectly to plan...try to learn new methods of growing with every sledgehammer that gets tossed from the sky. That's a taller order than I feel up to some days, but I'll keep plugging away at it, if you'll all keep up at the eating end of things!