Tag Archives: Natural farming

Herd Immunity, by Hardscrabble Farmer

Many of the ills besetting modern humanity come from what we have called progress. From Hardscrabble Farmer at theburningplatform.com:

We just wrapped up the sugaring season, our tenth one. Now that all the syrup is made, we’ll start to pull taps and flush lines, clean up the evaporator and restock wood for next year. There will be a couple of days of power washing and scrubbing, hiking back up into the maple orchard and walking back out again at the end of the day. We’ll have to work with the weather to catch the right mix of the warm sunny days to wash and dry hundreds of buckets, lids, and spiles and scrub the out the totes before we put them back in storage until next year.

It was a so-so year for production but the quality was as good as anything we have ever made. The time up in the sugarbush between the end of January when we started clearing out the deadwood and repairing broken lines and first run in early March was an opportunity to reflect on the past year. That’s one of the advantages of living in tune with the seasons, the ability to apprehend both the passage of time outside of man-made means. I watched as my sons took on ever more responsibility this season, carrying the tool bags slung over their shoulders, both of them taller than they were last year, their hair down to their shoulders now.

I have been paying closer attention to the older trees in the stand, trying to identify the ones in the terminal stages of decline to remove from the mainlines and watching for the emerging ones mature enough to take their place. From up on top of the esker, even in the middle of the big stand of hemlocks you could look through the black lace of the bare branches and see the herd pretend to graze on the snow-covered pasture below. Last year’s bullocks are filling out, even at the tail end of Winter, and all of the cows are wide with this year’s calves only weeks away now. For all of the furor that took place out there somewhere since this time last year, everything here has just matured, like a fine wine.

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