The maple sugaring season is over. For the first time since we started sugaring, we actually missed the season. Not entirely. We were able to harvest enough sap for a couple of pints of syrup, but we're too keenly aware that if we depended on maple syrup as our only sweetener for the whole year, it would have been a long, bitter wait for next years' sugaring season.
Someone told me that the season was in January this year, and we did have a really warm spell, but then, it started to snow, again, and it snowed, a lot.
And then, it warmed up and the snow melted, and the season was over. We ended up procuring (through barter) a couple of quarts from a farmer friend. Hooray for farmer friends! As it turns out, I do have something I can trade with a farmer.
So, the snow is mostly melted, except in those few places where it was piled up by the plows in shady spots that the sun can't reach. The other day, temps were in the 70s, and we took our dogs for a long walk. We found some snow.
I was reading this article this morning. I pulled this quote from it: Virtually every growing environmental and health problem can be traced back to modern food production.
According to the article, in my children's lifetime, we will no longer be able to farm the land. The topsoil will be sterile or gone.
I have a quarter of an acre, and I know that I don't produce 100% of the food my family eats - not even close.
But I also don't work full-time (or even part-time) at it. If my broccoli is overrun by weeds; if I miss the sugaring season, because we're hip-deep in dance competition season; if I drop an egg on my way in from the coop; if a squirrel eats most of my apples; if the birds get most of the hazel nuts; if ... if ... if ... it doesn't matter, because I can go to the grocery store and buy food.
And I know all of this.
But I also know that nothing is a given, and I still work at planting a garden and raising chickens and tapping our maple trees so that we have syrup, because I need these skills - just in case.
And if just in case doesn't happen, so what?
I planted a whole seed packet of peas and carrots yesterday - in containers, because I'm saving the garden beds for cabbage and broccoli, and the straw bales for potatoes and tomatoes. The garlic is calf high already and the fruit trees and nut bushes have buds.
My annual vegetable garden this year is only going to have a very few varieties - things we eat a lot of, that are easy to cook in single pots on the woodstove, and which I can preserve in some way - peas, carrots, cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes.
The summer is already looking like it will be very busy with lots of traveling for Deus Ex Machina and our girls. I, on the other hand, plan to spend a lot of time outside, in the garden, growing food.