I don’t think anyone round here would argue that it’s been a sloooooooow start to spring and summer. It feels like we get little glimpses of warmer weather and then it’s snatched away again in favour of cold days and LOTS of rain.
Despite the slow unfurling of the green season, we’ve kept ourselves busy. Seeds have been planted, buns are waiting to decant from their ovens (I’m talking cow babies!) and the first batch of chicks have turned into ample chickens that are only a couple of weeks away from being fully edible. Although we have presold some, there are still plenty that will be ready to wing their way (gettit? do ya?) to new tables and ovens all over Ottawa. If you’d like some juicy, farm-fresh goodness on your table/bbq please do get in touch.
Although the warm season has been slow to materialise, one of the gratifying things we have noticed on the farm is the abundance of wildlife we are seeing. We’ve noticed a real upswing in the variety of wild birds that we see darting from tree to tree; I can’t pretend to name them but they definitely weren’t here before! Standing outside we can hear such a variety of bird song, it makes me feel happy to think that we’ve created a place where wildlife can thrive.
For the first time, we actually saw squirrels in the trees here! We bought this land in 2010 and I can honestly say I’ve never once seen a squirrel. We also have a family of barn swallows that seem very at home in the cow barn. I’m hoping that they thrive there, seeing them dart around the farm is really delightful. I think that by using Permaculture methods, by planting things that work with the land and provide food for wildlife, as well as us, we are creating a place of abundance for us all.
Standard farming practices are about maximizing yields, end product. Of course, that is important but the health of the land is actually our prime concern. We are constantly thinking about how we can use animals and our planting to benefit the land. By moving animals to different parts of the farm, by grazing in particular ways, we are bringing back to life to land that had been derelict for a number of years. We are encouraging diversity and natural Ecosystems to increase while producing food for ourselves and our community.
Whenever I worry about the state of the world (and I do), whenever I panic about my role in making things better, I come back to this work. By creating a place where nature is welcome and can thrive, by exploring methods that are both old and new at the same time, we can be a part of the solution. We are safeguarding this little spot and helping it to be as abundant and diverse as possible. Our aim is to enrich life, from the soil to the family table.
I know I’m not solving major world problems, but I do feel that my life, my work has meaning. When I turn over a spade full of earth, bolstered by the compost we create on the farm and I see wriggling worms in every square inch, I feel a sense of accomplishment. A few years ago, those worms were few and far between, now they are everywhere.
I don’t have the answers to a lot of the world’s woes, I wish sincerely that I did. I think that all we can do is pick something, choose a cause, a lifestyle, a way of being that improves things for you and others. Pick a bit of land, metaphorical or real, and make it better. It may not seem like much, but as the proverb says, enough raindrops can become a flood. But a good flood. With Unicorns. And cake.
For us to keep doing this work we need you, our friends, to make us part of your solution. Every time you choose free-range, ethically raised food, you are helping the farm we work to become more abundant; for that, we are very grateful. So if you have a hankering for something tasty and free from ethical dilemmas, please get in touch with us here. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about the choices that you are making that help you feel that you are making the world just a little better, Happy Spring friends!