Winter on Rose Acres Farm

The growing season has ended and emotions move in and out from relieved and grateful to a grieving period mixed with sadness that the days are shorter and colder, the ground is sometimes frozen solid, and days-long rainstorms keep us cooped in our tiny, 700 sqft home far longer than we want to be. Then, our bodies acclimate to the cold (and the 20 min dressing session pre outdoor adventure) and we get excited about working in cooler climates, replacing (for the most part) the sweat caked and stinky people we are during the summer.

We venture outside to find the hidden treasures on the farm. I squeal when I push past a tangled mess of weeds and pull a carrot from the ground. The top has died away and the body has cracked, but it is by far the sweetest carrot I have ever eaten. I forage through the rest of the field and find beets, onions, leeks, and kale. Soup is officially in the making! Vegetable stock, done! Lentil soup, done! Let's multiply that recipe by two and freeze for later! Done.

Then we venture into the greenhouse. It hasn't been watered for the month we were in Mexico, but I've been harvesting 20# of heirloom tomatoes for the last 4-5 weeks. Last week, I finally cut down my basil plants which were going to seed. I had initially saved them because the bees were so ecstatic about the tiny white flowers that each plant produced. Tomato and basil soup for days! Oh the joy of eating fresh produce from outdoors year round.

Dan is catching up with infrastructure projects, working on the solar array and looking forward to setting up the new greenhouse (ok, so maybe 'looking forward' aren't the right words). The tractor is tallying up some hours and weeds that would have been better to pull before they dried are being put on the 'better-late-than-never' list. There is always a new project that is prioritized during winter when we have 'down time' or more accurately 'time to work on things other than farming.' My projects this winter are cleaning out the office (ahhh!) and revamping the website. I am also reading Soil Sisters, a book about farming from a woman's perspective and writing this blog.

Winter is for planning also. We make a comprehensive planting plan for the next year. It involves planning out our cover crops, crop rotation between the different plots and in the same plot, and when and different vegetables will be planted and where. It's really overwhelming, but creative and fun for me also. Of course, things don't always happen as they're supposed to, but we've learned to roll with the punches that nature has dealt. We're gamblers after all.

I've enjoyed this past season, which has been my first one full-time on the farm. It's also my first one full-time as a mom. It is so beautiful to live in tune with natures rhythms. To be a farmer is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I am happy and my family is happy and we are living a life that we truly love and appreciate every day.

Peace and love from our family to yours this winter.

Leona Grunow

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