The new year
Wednesday, December 28, 2016 1:42 PM
The seed catalogs have already begun to arrive in the mail, even though the new year has not yet dawned and spring is still months away, but as I leaf through the brightly colored pages, I am once again filled with a wonderful feeling of excited anticipation.
I really believe that this is the year that the creek valley soil will work up just right, neither too wet nor too dry, and that as soon as our sowing is done, the rain will fall gently, and every single seed will sprout.
I feel quite certain that this is the year that light rains will fall all throughout the summer, watering our crops ever so perfectly, all the way up until the fall’s harvest.
I also believe that this will be the year when the mother fox will move her den farther down the creek, and she will no longer visit the upper field to stalk our chickens. This year when we return home from running our errands uptown, we will not find piles of brightly colored feathers scattered across the new spring grass. And this year there will be enough truly cold, below freezing days, that will cause the sap to stay deep down in the maple trees’ roots where it will gather its wonderful sweetness. And then, when the days begin to warm, the nights will still remain cold, and the maple sap will start to perfectly flow up through the sap wood each day and drop back down into the roots each night. This rise and fall will enable us to gather gallons and gallons of pure sweet maple sap that we will boil down into the valley’s perfect maple syrup.
And with this year’s warm spring days, the bees will emerge from their winter clusters to find new spring blossoms everywhere.
I will not have to worry if the valley is providing them with enough pollen and nectar to gather and bring back to their hives.
I will be able to sit by the hive entrances and watch as the foragers return, laden with multi-colored balls of pollen packed into their leg sacks, and I will know that the queen is busily laying new brood deep inside the hive.
I can already taste the new spring asparagus, the first ripe tomato, the richness of the summer’s first blackberry. I imagine the beans and sunflowers drying perfectly in their fields, ready to harvest.
I can see the alfalfa and clover field, growing so lush and green, that we will easily get three cuts throughout the summer, and I can smell the sweet hay as it dries in the sun and feel it rustling through my fingers, ready to bale under a clear blue sky.
And finally, this will be the year that we move across the gravel driveway and into our new log home. We will leave our 388 square foot cabin. We will be able to set up a tall Christmas tree in the corner of our new living room.
Our family and friends will be able to gather around our dining room table, and overnight guests will not have to sleep in tents, unless they wish to. They will be able to fall comfortably asleep in the cabin, as we have done for the past ten years.
Yes, the seed catalogues have begun to arrive in the mail, signaling the new year, but as I sit here, looking forward to all that the new year has to offer, I do wonder if I will ever walk back across the driveway, climb the stairs to the cabin’s loft and take a mid-afternoon nap, falling asleep to the sound of the spring rain on the metal roof just overhead.
Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio.