Farm Babies and Snow

This time of year all the babies around the farm are doing what they do best: screaming for attention. And of course this leads pretty quickly, just like with our own babies, to losing sleep worrying about them, when they’re sick, or out on their own a bit… you see where I’m going: May 15, snow and sleet, temps below freezing… and strawberry flowers open, all the spring broccoli in the ground…

Most old-timers around here don’t plant anything until Memorial Day — a nice safe bet, with restful sleep all through May. Most CSA farmers I know in upstate NY time their earliest plantings like they were off on a weekend at Turning Stone. Hoop houses, row covers, and maybe some luck can turn the odds in our favor… we’ll see how it all turns out.

The migrant birds do it, too. Returning from warm winter grounds, they arrive as early as they can push it, and lay down their bets, all in hopes of giving those babies of theirs the best start they can get. There’s a killdeer with 4 eggs who has taken over one of my garden beds. I can share. I won’t till it under. But I think of her out there all night keeping her eggs warm with this blast of cold northern air all around her.

The strawberries and early brassicas are as tucked in under covers as I can get them, thanks to some help from Ava (8) and Sierra (5), my babies who are now old enough to be a big help. The onions, peas, and spinach are out there in the open with the killdeer, taking the brunt of this cold air blast, but they should be able to take it, either way.

So, May 15, surveying it all through snow and sleet and 30-some degrees. Not totally out of the ordinary… with baby plants, baby birds, and baby kids, I’m always amazed how you worry, do everything you can do, and wake up the next day (after at least a few hours of sleep) and find that everything pulled through just fine.


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