Navigating Cycles of Hurt and Healing on the Farm

If Fall and Winter months are for growing our skins back and straightening out our spines after the intensity of the growing season, then spring is for planning and training. 

Experience (sometimes painful experience!) teaches us to plan around minimizing injuries everywhere in the farm system: water; soil; trees; livestock; humans. This precautionary principle informs all of our Spring work.  

Our trees have been a big focus over the winter. Pruning can wound trees, so we schedule it during their dormant season, even if that means we're hauling tools with snow shoes and a sled. We practice our cuts with freshly sharpened sheers. A clean cut, timed properly, aids in the tree's healing and growth.  

 
Deep gratitude for the full-to-bursting woodshed.

Deep gratitude for the full-to-bursting woodshed.

 

During last fall and starting again this spring, we have continued planting oak and willow trees around the lake edge to increase root penetration, reduce erosion, improve water filtration (and infiltration), thereby increasing biodiversity and assuring future firewood.  

Elle plants willow whips by kayak.

Elle plants willow whips by kayak.

Kenny splits wood in a silent winter forest.

Kenny splits wood in a silent winter forest.

Having learned from (painful) experience, we will be applying sand mixed with paint to the trunks of our favorite lakeside oak trees to deter beaver residents of Mud Lake.  

Bird and bat houses installed in new zones will disrupt annual mosquito and deer fly hotspots, limiting the need for chemical repellants during our work days and tours. Simultaneously, we are providing much needed habitat to resident and migrant bird species.  

Kenny carves raptor perches from a fallen oak.

Kenny carves raptor perches from a fallen oak.

The bird houses await this year’s residents.

The bird houses await this year’s residents.

We're even preparing raptor perches to invite some venerated guardians to patrol this year's DATCP CBD Hemp pilot.  

In spring, our goats suffer the indignity of being held tight, hooves clipped, and coats brushed out so they can return to their summer grazing work in the pine plantation looking like professionals. Actually, they love it (except for Jeremy and Fancy Boy).

 
Moe has his beard care routine dialed in.

Moe has his beard care routine dialed in.

 

The staff and I also recognize that we put our bodies through a lot doing this work when things get busy. To a large extent, the degree that we will suffer from what lies ahead can be mitigated by the choices we make all year.  

We choose to invest time to prepare our bodies and sharpen our tools. Dull tools are dangerous. Blunt edges catch and tear. Stiff joints and sore backs don't help. So we share nourishing food with each other. We share exercises and fitness ideas, in part because being attuned to our bodies and having familiarity with exhaustion helps us avoid the dangers of fatigue. We share research tasks through discussion, presentations, and internet videos. And probably too much coffee.

In summation, we use great care with ourselves and with all the burgeoning life at Lily Springs Farm. We aim to do less harm. We build resilience.

- Drew Slevin, Farm Manager