All of us use the word "season" a lot this time of year.
Noun: one of the four periods of the year.
Verb (used with object): to heighten or improve the flavor of food.
Verb (used without object): to mature.
This time of year is comforting (with a dash of stress mixed in), a welcome respite from the uncertainty in the world: maybe a job, the economy, family or social life, the weather...
Complain if you want about our winters but ponder this: Our Midwestern seasons allow for change while still allowing for predictability. In other words, yeah, this or that storm could dump six inches of snow on us. Or this winter may be a little warmer than last year because of climate change. Yet it's still winter. And it's followed by spring, summer, and fall. Some of us might be uncomfortable in 30-degree weather. But there's something comforting in knowing the seasons offer change within a certain sense of familiarity.
Winter around the farm gives us a chance to momentarily step away from doing and step toward reflecting on past successess and mistakes so we can plan to do again in the future.
I made some mistakes this year and am learning from them, making me a more seasoned farmer. Lesson: Before you clear your property to grow new fruit and flowers for pollinators, plow the ground several times, not just once. This gives your native plants and cover crops a fighting chance once you seed your land. I'm not a fan of plowing but it has some temporary benefits, just like getting vaccinated may hurt temporarily but supports your health in the long run.
Another mistake and lesson: you can't just plant fruit trees and expect them to be fine. You have to look at irrigation, drainage, pH, disease resistance, and how to take care of them. One quote I really liked from a recent article about "the man who held back the desert" was that Yacouba Sawadogo "had an almost mystical relation to the trees he brought into being...treating them like humans."
As we live through this season, appreciating our food (including how best to seasons it), my wish for you is that you take stock as a way to help you down the road of becoming more seasoned.
Gratefully, Cam the CFO (Chief Farming Officer :)