In honor of Paul Otten.
December 21st marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, the first day of winter and that our days are now getting more sun light.
Last summer was full of hot, grueling work. Winter is time to grow your skin back, to heal, to get your back lengthened out again, rejuvenate your organs and joints with bone broth soup, root veggies and squash. We take this time to recognize with pride the toll our bodies take during the farming season, by prioritizing comfort and healing in this season. We are thankful to have a sauna here on the farm (a great addition for winter sanity). There is a Danish tradition of hygge to get through long dark winters with gratitude and relaxation. It involves nourishing warmth, light, candles, fire, sauna, gathering with good food and drink, cross country skiing, telling stories - quality coziness.
The dog days of summer are upon us, bringing with them thick humid days, cool nights, new friends and the sweet scent of the growing, buzzing world around us floats on the air. In the last four months, especially, Lily Springs Farm has been filled with activity in the fields, on and in the water, in the woods and among countless new visitors. From the fourth-annual Wild Springs Festival to youth environmental leadership retreats, group tree-planting parties to wedding receptions of all types, we have been fortunate to see this beautiful space filled with people who love being here.
Here, after a busy spring and summer, we reflect on all of the trees and shrubs, fences and hoses, tractor trips and wheelbarrow flips that have gotten us this far; on all the jokes and lessons revealed every time we step out onto the land to work with our collaborators; on how it feels to share this space with the plants, animals, minerals, bugs, humans and other biota.
We currently have eight beautiful cows grazing the South Field at LSF, helping us to prepare the previously-unused land for planting later this fall. Cattle are a essential land-management tools that help to aerate, hydrate, and fertilize soil simply by living, eating, digesting, and moving about freely.
We're building a new fence in our South field to protect our hazelnut trees from deer. Before we plant the trees this fall, we'll have cattle graze the five-acre enclosure to prepare the soil and trim the ground cover. This fence will hopefully last as long as our hazelnut trees are in production, and probably longer.
When I first arrived at Lily Springs Farm to live, I had no idea how quickly the land would transform from the drudges of winter and the soaking spring to the lush and teeming abundance that now surrounds me. I am immersed in the life that ceaselessly returns, that brings with it a perennial flush of freshness. Here are a few updates about what we've been up to lately on the farm, from goats and guardian dogs to asparagus and hazelnuts. Enjoy!