May 25th, 2015 by Cedar Isle Farm
May 10, 2015
We talk of four seasons to a year, and yet I am struck by the seasons within the seasons. This is my second year in Agassiz, and I am learning newly about spring. The fall rye celebrates its spring in the fall. The garlic settles into the soil in late fall and starts to grow. And now, with the rye going to seed as the oats and the wheat can almost wave in a light breeze, part of the landscape is verdant and lush. Grain production is in full-swing, and Jim can revel in the fact that it has all happened earlier this year. The spring mix of dry and wet has been ideal.
The sections of the farm relegated to hay fields have already been subjected to the first harvest of the year, with the waist high grasses mown and then collected and moved to the silos within a 48 hour period. The fields now look like the prairies, the stubble yellowed and bleak-looking for the first few days, winter-like alongside the green of rye, oats and wheat. But the air has been thick and rich with the spring smell of freshly mown grass. Cedar Isle Farm provides fodder for the two dairy farms down the road and for a herd of goats in Abbotsford as well.
The robins enjoy an early spring: they have already had their young and the nest on the back deck is empty. The swallows have long deliberated over the perfect nesting spot, and are starting to collect bits of mud and dampness to paste together a family home. In the middle of the night, I spotted two in the carport, sitting side by side along a wire. The spattering of guano on the concrete floor made me look up. I retain an image of their conjugal bliss. Their life together is about more than propagating the species, I am sure. Their companionship, side by side, in the dead of night, is poetic.
A person might think that a grain farmer might now be sleeping in, sitting back, putting his feet up, chewing on stalks of grass. There are actually other things to do than seed and harvest on Cedar Isle Farm. New chicks grown to teenaged size needed a new roost, and the other chicken incubation room needed a thorough cleaning. The new roosts have been routered so that the chickens have some purchase on the 2x4s. And a chicken-sized door has magically appeared, with the mechanics to open and close by pull cord from the other side of the building. There will be no slinking past squawking chickens to open the door with Jim on the job.
And Jim is the proud owner of a new-to-him seeder, having borrowed seeders in previous years. A neighbour who knew Jim might like a seeder of his own purchased one at a local farm equipment auction. He stopped bidding after $2400 on the supermodel, and bought the poor cousin for a mere $100. He delivered it too. Jim is delighted. The new hydraulic system cost more than the entire unit, it must be told, but a relic is thus springing back to life. And Jim cleaned up the acre counter. I have no other name for it. It is a series of cogs that measures the amount of land covered and seed dispersed. Recall that Jim contorted his brain with mathematical sums to calculate the coverage per acre with the borrowed seeder. This seeder is at least 45 years old, of a time when simple mechanics were revered. We have included a photo. A close look allows you to read the dials.
For years I drove the highway between Hope and Metro Vancouver with eyes on the road, an ordeal to endure. Now happily rooted on Cedar Isle Farm, nestled between mountains and valley, I marvel at the dynamic landscape and lifestyle, of a rapturous beauty, the seasons fluid.