I am often asked “What do you farmers do all winter?” – as if the blanket of snow has by some magic made all of our work disappear.
(It does do a good job of covering up certain jobs but they are still there… under the snow.)
When potato harvest is done in October, we move right into carrot and beet harvest, pulling them from the ground by hand, twisting off the tops and dreaming of the day when the carrot sales will warrant the purchase of a harvester.
In November, our grass fed beef sales need to be organized, the steers trailered to the abattoir in Cherry Creek.
Three weeks later, the neatly wrapped sides and quarters are delivered to customers back here in Pemberton.
The washing and bagging of those delicious carrots and beets harvested the month before starts in November and goes until we run out. They are delivered, by us, twice weekly to local stores and cafes in Pemberton and Whistler.
Of course in December we add to that the whirlwind of shopping, baking, wrapping and general excess that is the Christmas season. By the time New Years Eve roles around I am so ready for some peace and quiet.
That is where January comes in. It’s a month that most people struggle with, recovering from the nastiness that is the post Christmas hangover.
Not me. I love January. It is the one month on the farm where, aside from putting out feed and bedding for the cattle, we have nothing really pressing to do. Puzzles come down from the shelf, Scrabble games are dusted off, and the books we have been meaning to get to are finally got. Many cups of tea are consumed during these sweet, quite days. Lots of time to leaf through all those seed catalogues we have received in the mail, planning and plotting the garden we will plant in the spring.
If we are blessed with a sunny, snowy January we strap on skis or snow shoes and head “out back,” trekking until we hit the mountain and then turn left, turn right or go straight up? Where Ryan Creek rushes out of the mountains and hits the valley floor is a favorite place to venture.
The quiet days of January are fleeting and, like most good things, must they come to an end.
February sneaks up and before you know we are thrown back into the thick of things as calving time approaches. The arrival of the little ones is a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.
But for now it is still early in the month so I think I will brew myself another cuppa and settle in with that pile of seed catalogues.