Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Big Field

The Big Field is also my big question mark. There are three reasons why working the Big field gives me reason to pause: blue birds, apple trees and commitment.

I absolutely love my blue birds. There is a nesting box in the perfect location. It faces away from the sun, away from the prevailing winds and towards the orchard. After a one time misunderstanding with tree swallows, the blue birds have assumed full time residency. Its a nesting box during the summer and a roosting box during the winter. Working this field may encourage the blue birds to nest elsewhere in the orchard. This is a very minor threat and is not considered a loss-of-habitat. Yet I take responsible land stewardship very seriously therefore I must fully consider the possibility.

The field was recently part of the active orchard. The carefully landscaped ridges and furrows still remain. This does not complicate growing and would actually facilitates some crops such as cucubrits. I particularly like canteloupes but I want to grow apple trees too! I never realized how beautiful, how challenging and how rewarding growing apples can be! Yet I will do absolutely nothing that may potentially compromise the orchard's integrity. Furthermore biodiversity is another facet of responsible land stewardship.

Working the Big field is a very significant commitment to my market farmer dream. Currently my growing capacity exceeds the quantity requirements of a family yet does not meet the quantity requirements of a market. This field's capacity will allow me to cross that threshold. I will need to do something with these vegetables. This is a very interesting and potentially profitable challenge. Yet it is also a commitment in terms of time and resources and I need to be very sure the family understands and accepts this commitment.

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