Springtime on a Farm

Today, April 5, I realize it has been seven months since I arrived in Peachland, BC and took up residence on our beautiful farm.  Mark and I are experiencing the joy that comes with the beginning of spring after what felt was a long and was in reality a dark winter  (dark because we reside above the 49th Parallel and because we have a huge lake at our feet, which produces the “lake effect cloud” above our heads all winter).  So much is happening every day every week around the grounds, on the ground that surrounds our new home.  At the suggestion of an organic farmer we met at a dinner party last night to keep a farm journal, I took the 2008 “week at a glance” Herbal Journal Calendar my sister gave me at Christmas to begin to note what we have been doing this winter and what is happening.  So in between the sunny April showers that have sprinkled across the valley off and on all afternoon, and which, at this very moment, has produced a rainbow that is rising out of the lake beyond our pines, I have begun to note my observations of what is budding. These range from the little starburst flowers of pale lavender that have nudged up and through the years of pine needles and leaves that have provided a carpet of mulch hiding them from sight until now.

It is amazing how much is happening outside our windows from the small birds that have returned that we are slowing over time going to identify from the Oregon Junkos to the Towhees and the house finches. They don’t have purple finches in BC. The magpies and the pair of Bald Eagles have been keeping us company since January. The chipmunk has become bold and scampers across the porch in search of seeds and other sundry items

As I walk the grounds and stroll in between the trees in the orchard, I can see the impact of the elements that comprise this particular ecosystem. You can see where the water has flowed generously and the effects of lack of water both overhead which cools the branches in the heat of the summer and the water that ran freely from broken sprinkler heads to nourish the trees from below. I can see the path ways of the bears when I ponder why one whole avenue of plum trees are leaning to one side and the branches on this side have been pruned away. The telltale marks of their claws scratching across the bark to create permanent scars are clearly evident. Then of course there are the trees that have been attacked by the smallest mammals on the land our voles or moles that gnaw the bar in the winter under the protection of snow. I expect that as the seasons progress and we spend a year in this orchards, we will see the effects of other pests even smaller larvae, insects their larvae and the fungi. Not the mushrooms that have grown in the waterways of the broken sprinklers heads either.

So much to do that I must run.

Alison