Trilliums, Timothy and the Turning of the Seasons
If one were to choose a cocktail to describe the weather for the past week, it might be a Dark ‘n’ Stormy. It must be said, though, that the glorious stretch of 70-degree weather a week ago felt like popping the cork on that special bottle of Champagne we’d been saving for the season’s kickoff. Since then, everything has exploded: the woods and hedgerows are a paradise of verdant green and blossoms are everywhere.
April showers do indeed bring May flowers: from the tiniest trilliums hidden among the ferns, to the riot of opportunistic dandelions cropping up everywhere, to the majestic wild dogwoods brightening the forest understory, spring has truly sprung. Along with the blossoms come the pollinators: mason bees, bumblers and wasps are making their season debut after a long winter’s rest, and with the surge in insect populations come our barn swallows. Although we must discourage them from nesting in our production areas, they too play an important part in the biodiversity of our farm.
Another measure of the turn of the seasons, often mentioned here, is our neighboring dairyman’s hay crop. Newly mown timothy-grass lies waiting to be raked and baled along the undulating contours of the field: the first cut, a bit scrubby from overwintering, is taken early in order to take advantage of the accelerated growth to come in the next month. How many cuts will he make this year? The tall Lombardy poplars line the fields like sentinels, their new leaves trembling almost silver in the spring sunshine.
The farm is coming to life: the seed line in the barn hums and chugs steadily as greenhouses are regularly emptied and filled with new starts. Tulips are ablaze in Wendy’s garden while perennial peonies begin to emerge and unfurl their delicate foliage. Sunflower transplants hint at summer days to come. Where fields are sufficiently dry, cover crop has been turned under, enlivening the soil for subsequent planting: so far, we’ve planted nearly twenty-five acres of good food – the season is well underway. New faces and old hands will soon return to swell the ranks of the field crews. It has been a long spring, but isn’t it always? By the end of May, we’ll be sailing.