Week 12, 2022|Kristin Kimball|March 26, 2022

The balance of day and night shifted this week in favor of the light. There are great things happening out there, unseen. It’s a perfect time to remember what the Buddhists say: no mud, no lotus. Without this ugliness there would be no beauty, without suffering, no joy.

The pregnant ewes came down off the hill on Wednesday, in preparation for shearing next week. Their condition is a mystery until their wool is off; then we will see how well they wintered. The rest of the sheep and the rams remain outside. Our trusty guard dog Artemis, who was supposed to stay with the outdoor flock, showed up at the barn, looking for the sheep she’d been guarding most of the winter. She’s back with her brother Apollo and I’m hopeful she’ll stay. I think the dogs bond to the new lambs better if they are present for lambing, but I have to weigh that against the added chaos of two big young dogs among two hundred lambing ewes. TBD.

All greenhouses are full now, some with overwintered greens, and others with seedlings. They’ll wait for the curve of the year’s heat to catch up with the curve of the year’s light. Thanks to Don Hollingsworth for building new wooden seeding flats for us! They were badly needed. Out in the open fields, the tiny spinach plants survived winter and are looking well. The rye cover crop is beginning to green already, and sorrel has popped its head up. With a heavy freeze coming this weekend, the forecast is just right for frost seeding some clover on Monday.

We had a good meeting this week with Janet Carmosky, who is our guru of finance. She crafts truly beautiful spreadsheets that bring our numbers to life, even for people like me. She couldn’t do it without Anh Thu and Russ, who rarely make it into the farm note because their work – keeping accounts and databases in shape, managing the payroll, taxes and bills – happens at computers rather than the barns and fields. Unfair, that! Their collective effort, distilled in Janet’s spreadsheets, shows we need to bring in some new members this spring to keep the finances healthy. We would really like to see our local membership grow. If you have newly arrived friends here, please tell them about us; we’d love to show them around the farm. We also see a hole where we should have lots of members in the Capital region, so please help us spread the word there. We currently deliver within 30 minutes of Troy, and we will add to the route anywhere between Saratoga and Albany if we get a few households in the same general area. Email essexfarm@gmail.com and thanks as always for helping us keep this green world spinning. Finally, we are looking for short and long term affordable housing for farmers this spring and summer. This has been one of the trickiest new challenges to overcome! If you have ideas or situations to offer please be in touch.

I’ve been thinking this week that we encounter the larger world most clearly through the lens we know most intimately, and for us, that is food. We are following the news via Ukrainian chef, activist and author Olia Hercules, who posts daily from the UK on instagram. Closer to home, our neighbors Todd and Eli Goff are hosting a fundraising dinner at the Grange tonight to support two Ukrainian families who are friends of the Goff’s from the time they spent in Kyiv in 2018/2019. It’s too late to order dinner but If you’d like to help with this fundraising effort, please email Eli. All proceeds will go directly from the Goffs to these families in need.

And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this equinox week of 2022. Find us at 518-963-4613, on Instagram at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball