Ah, season extension. High tunnels. Hoophouses. Cold frames. These are all big buzz words in the farming community. I appreciate season extension, I do. Without it I wouldn’t be hosting local food dinners in January. But why don’t we bother with it on our little homestead? Because I need a fucking break.
As you may have observed, I’ve taken a break from blogging. This is against all the advice and admonitions of bloggers in general. Don’t stop posting, because you’ll lose all your readers! They’ll only come back if you have new content! I’ve said it myself. But I was so burned out. I had no words left to say. And I needed those two months to do nothing (ok, relatively nothing) but watch tv (Downton Abbey), read fantasy novels (Game of Thrones), and sew myself a pretty dress. I’ve eaten a lot of soup. I’ve eaten on a regular basis (that’s unusual for me). I got some sleep. And I DID NOT think about the garden. We ordered seeds and all, but otherwise I ignored the mulched and cover cropped beds. We eat the food I canned and froze. It’s fantastic to come home and pull out some chicken, peppers, and squash from the freezer and pop open a jar of our own salsa. It’s easy. It makes all those months of staying up all night endlessly chopping worth it.
I need to hibernate. I need to spend a month or two losing myself in other worlds. I need to sit quietly in the dark, nestled in blankets, and drinking a lot of cocoa. I still have work to do. There are chickens to care for. I still have a job and serve on several boards and volunteer for too much shit. But I simply can’t imagine spending this time trying to keep spinach alive. I wonder sometimes if I wouldn’t mind so much if I wasn’t working a full time desk job. But I think I’d still want the break, even if I was farming commercially. Yeah, you need a year round income, but how much income are my farmer friends making with their little high tunnel spinach crops? Some, I guess, or they wouldn’t bother. But I need my break. Sure, now that it’s February I’m getting excited about starting my seeds. Yes, this past week we finally started planning out our planting schedules, and how many row feet of each crop we need, but I think I’m only this excited because I haven’t been thinking about it at all. The rest of the world goes to sleep at this time. All the trees around us are sleeping (or trying to- the 60 degree weather isn’t helping). Why in heavens name am I going to drive myself mad weeding in a high tunnel?
One of my biggest complaints about the whole local thing is the denial about the seasons. People always say things like, oh I like eating local, but only in the summer. That attitude is what leads to the swarms of high tunnels that are popping up everywhere I look. Farmers used to take a break in the winter, people. That’s what makes up for the ridiculous 90 hour weeks in the summer. And now you expect there to be spinach in February? Right, that’s because you still shop at the grocery store. Yuck.
So, readers, I’m thankful for my two months off. Hopefully you’re still there. I’m feeling refreshed, and I’m super excited about onions. Thank the skies for winter.