• Jess

Farm Update: Starting Over

Updated: May 13







I had been putting it off for some time. Mostly because of the weather, but also because of the rusted poles and torn tarp and shards of glass embedded in the soil. Today, it was time to move forward and clear away what was left of the greenhouse.


It was messy work, taking my pocketknife to the damaged tarp, cutting through the rope securing the poles which had long since come down, donning work gloves to pick all the shards of glass out of the soil. It was worth it. Some of the soil is still frozen and unyielding,but enough of it has thawed that I can begin filling the cells of my seed trays and planting seeds when I return from my visit home.


The upcoming Vernal Equinox signals the coming of spring, and with it, planting season. Winter is not yet over, but it's time to start planting seeds indoors if we want a good harvest in August. The ground is still chilled, but now is the time for action, to put to use the dreams and visions we had on those long, dark winter nights.


Lately, when I draw runes, Hagalaz and Jera come up often. Hagalaz is the rune of hail and destruction, while Jera is a rune which represents the phrase "you reap what you sow". When a hailstorm comes, there is nothing to do but seek shelter and wait it out. After the storm has passed, you go outside to see what has been destroyed and what can still be salvaged.


Hail can destroy months of hard work and our ability to nourish ourselves. To have a fruitful harvest, you plan and prepare months in advance. But all the planning in the world is nothing without maintenance. You search for pests, for signs of mold, blight or rot, you pull up weeds, add compost and manure. You watch and listen, until out of nothing comes something.


Like a hailstorm, the wind came and destroyed what I had spent time building. There was no rebuilding it. The frame was rusted and bent, puncturing the skin of the greenhouse cover and the wind was so strong that it moved the cold frames like toy boats. Without protection from the cold and the wind, my surviving crops would die, so I harvested as much as I could and left the rest.


Both Hagalaz and Jera herald transformation and they each offer us insights and gifts. Now is the time for starting over, for moving the cold frames to a new spot, for repairing the frames with broken glass and for building new ones. With the old greenhouse cleared away, I'm free to decide what I want to rebuild and where and how to rebuild. Maybe my crops will be happier in the sunny spot next to the rose bushes.


After a season of resting from working with the land, it's time to come back to my permaculture map and see what has changed within me and within the landscape so that I can create a deeper relationship and a more abundant harvest. I'm curious to see what happens when I'm able to plant my crops in the early spring, rather than in early August, and I've decided that winter farming isn't a good fit for me, so I'm favouring different crops this time around.





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