Friday, June 28, 2013
While we anticipate drier weather after winter rains, summer is my least favorite month.
"What?! You are kidding me, right?" you gasp.
It's true, even in Minnesota or out East, summer was my least favorite time. There are glories to it- warm nights outside with Martyn and the garden, trail rides galore, dry feet of the herd, less paddock maintenance to name a few things.
I think part of it is I am intuned with my surroundings and have always been a highly charged creature who had to learn not to totally mesh into another person or being. Just as the spring brings excitement, growth and blossoms, the summer sees those blossoms yearning for shade, and then even the shade can't keep them from withering and dying. A little bit of me, and you, dies each summer. Skin burns and drops off while we sleep, your hair fades, your pants rip from broken wire fencing - it's all a little bit of death.
But then autumn will come along and I am always, always recharged. I suppose if you stuck with my analogy above, I'm a leaf crumbling into dirt. But I feel more like the plant that made it through a hot summer, my upper part is crispified, but my root stock gets to rest in the cool Earth again.
We are changing the lavender field a bit this year. I only want to grow Grosso and I am tired of the backbreaking weeding, which I can't do anymore in the sun due to my skin. And, I don't want to do it. I've done it nine years now and I never really can keep up with the field, even when we bring in a crew one time a year to help harvest. The thistle is a constant issue, and the sheep will now nibble on certain varieties as they love bindweed. We chose not to put down weed barrier - and I'm so glad - but of course it means weeds in the roots are a constant issue even in the old plants. We knew as farmers someday we'd change that crop, and nobody can tell me weed barrier in a 5 acre field of prime grassland is a good idea - although many local lavender growers in these part do it, and I think rolled their eyes at us hand weeding. You can't till up weed barrier!
It's a good-bye of sorts. We worked ourselves to exhaustion in that field when we first arrived, and for many years ahead. But the lower field varieties have had nine years of life - that is a long life for that plant. We'll still have 1000+ plants of Grosso, so don't cry too much if you are lavender lovers.
I once read an article about farming and I always hang onto this quote: Farmers change crops when they aren't productive. And that's what that lower field has become to me. I need my energy for my animals and art and flock.
And now I prepare my mind for the next days of 95 plus degrees. Shriveling up.