Tag Archives: fields

Rhythm of the season

Spring has finally (kind of) made an appearance in Upstate New York. The Winter was cold and bitter and even snowy…but it was also long. Why is it that we spend all year complaining about the season we’re in? Winter is too cold (or too warm); Spring is too short, too rainy, too cold or non-existent all together; Summer is too hot, too wet, too dry; Fall is too short, too warm, too stormy. I’m just as guilty as the rest, I complain right along with everyone else.

To me, Spring is always about transformation and transformation is never easy or smooth. Transformation, instead, is about stormy emotions, destruction of the old, birth of the new. Muddy paths and windy nights; turmoil and chaos – that is what Spring brings. It is an unsettling of routines, souls and perspectives. It is scary and beautiful all in the same breath. It is about surrender and acceptance.

Spring in Upstate is also the time when fields are plowed and planted. It is the time when farmers emerge from their workshops rested and repaired with a curse on their lips and a prayer in their hearts, prepared for the marathon that is about to begin.

Farmers are always in a tussle with Mother Nature. Last year it was a record warm Spring and a devastating Summer drought. This year, it is the continued cold snap and flooding. We need to get seed in the ground so that it can mature in time and be ready for harvest but we also need the ground warm and dry enough to get into the fields.

For many of us who have a supporting role on farms or in farmers’ lives, planting means saying “goodbye” for a solid six (or more) weeks. I had my goodbye chat last night, planting hasn’t started, but it will in the next few days. There may be a quick call from a tractor cab here and there, but I’m not holding out a lot of hope. After seven years in the country, I’ve gotten used to the rhythm and the calendar that farm men live by. I’m not saying that I like it, I’m just used to it now.



Filed under Day to day

Help NY stay number one in the nation

Harvest season is about over. All summer and fall farmers have been busy planting, picking, haying and chopping. No matter the form of farming – dairy, vegetable, orchard or otherwise – the past six months have been very busy. However, now that the days are shorter and the weather is cooler, life has begun to focus more on indoor rather than outdoor priorities. For New York Farm Bureau, October was County Annual Meeting season, November will be policy review, and December will bring the State Annual Meeting in Albany.

 I’d like to ask New York Farm Bureau members to take a moment to consider one last act before they park their farm equipment for the winter – donation of any product that is not marketable, but still good for use. New York Farm Bureau and food banks across the state have worked hard all year to bring in farm fresh donations. Food banks distribute fresh produce, milk, meat and eggs to hungry people in communities large and small, urban and rural.

 Your donations have a direct impact on the communities in which you live…but they also make a national impact through Harvest for All.

 Since 2003, American Farm Bureau Federation and Feeding America have partnered in the Harvest for All program. YF&R programs across the country work with Farm Bureau members and staff to raise food, funds and friends (volunteer hours) for their local food banks. NYFB members have been especially generous. Since the start of Harvest for All, you have donated over 23 million pounds to New York food banks, making New York farmers a leader on the national level. In 2011, NYFB took back the top spot in the country for pounds donated by members. Please help us stay number one.

 Please consider donating excess, surplus or unmarketable produce to your local food bank (list below) between now and the State Annual Meeting and join us as we celebrate all that NYFB members have done to help those in need across the state. On Tuesday, December 4th at 10:00 am NYFB and the Food Bank Association of New York State will be hosting a media event at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, located just down the street from State Annual Meeting.

 Your local food bank is happy to accept any size donation, from 5 bushels to 5 pallets. No matter the size or the means, your donations will greatly aid the food banks and the hungry they serve. And in Harvest for All, every pound counts!

 Please go to www.foodbankassocnys.org and click on “Find a Food Bank” to find the food bank serving your county. The food banks will coordinate delivery/pick-up and provide growers with documentation for tax purposes. When donating, please note that you are a New York Farm Bureau member and would like your donation counted toward Harvest for All.


Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York
518.786.3691 or www.regionalfoodbank.net



Food Bank of Western New York
716.852.1305 or www.foodbankwny.org



Food Bank of the Southern Tier
607.796.6061 or www.foodbankst.org


Long Island

Island Harvest
516.294.8528 or www.islandharvest.org
 Long Island Cares
631.582.3663 or www.licares.org


Newburgh Area

Food Bank of the Hudson Valley
845.534.5344 or www.foodbankofhudsonvalley.org


New York City

City Harvest
917.351.8700 or www.cityharvest.org
 Food Bank for New York City
212.566.7855 or www.foodbanknyc.org



585.328.3380 or www.foodlinkny.org



Food Bank of Central New York
315.437.1899 or www.foodbankcny.org


Westchester County

Food Bank for Westchester
914.923.1100 or www.foodbankforwestchester.org

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Filed under Basics, Food

We may experience a little turbulence

The weather has been very…Spring like.  What does “Spring like” mean? If I had to sum it up in one word it would be turbulent. Turbulent, kind of like my mood of late and actually kind of like everyone’s mood lately. Isn’t it funny how a change in the weather can affect a person so deeply?

The other night I woke up from a dream where I was on an old ship during a sea storm. I was being tossed back and forth while an argument was happening in front of me. Rain and wind lashed at the big glass windows of the room I was in, you know, those beautiful captain’s quarters of a man of war or pirate ship or something of the like. But when I opened my eyes, the storm didn’t disappear instead it was lashing against the bedroom window above my head with a fury and vengeance like I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. It was romantic and frightening and powerful – it was Spring voicing her opinion. In the morning, the sky was a beautiful blue with white, puffy, peaceful clouds tranquilly floating past.

Spring is all about extremes.

In college I remember reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a book that I love. If you haven’t ever read the real story (as compared to seeing a movie adaptation) you should; it is powerful, beautiful and absolutely amazing. The major theme running throughout the work is that you cannot have creation without there first being destruction. I think about that often, and I’ve been thinking about it now that Spring is here and suddenly so many things I’ve gotten used to have turned up on their heads and my norms have been destroyed.

As I walked along the soggy fields yesterday afternoon, taking advantage of the window of beauty Spring decided to throw our way, and taking in the way the hayfields are beginning to change from a dull, dead brown to a vibrant, hopeful, green, I saw something truly beautiful peaking out at me from a hedgerow. Among the brown leaves and still-barren branches was a crocus, just one. Among all that decay, there was a beginning.

Powerful, purple, persistent – this flower proclaimed that life and love and sunshine will soon be here and the turbulence of the moment is sure to pass. Trust me, just as turbulent, temperamental Spring turns into confident, calming Summer so too will our moods, we just have to wait out the storms in between.

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Filed under Basics, Day to day