Semester 52 students headed out on spring break this morning, but the words “break” and “spring” don’t go together in the world of the farm. During these two weeks, the farm crew will continue to crank out firewood. With changing ground conditions this time of year (it’s raining and muddy today, but was frozen and snowing yesterday), we have to watch the weather forecast in planning our tree felling and twitching (pulling eight to twelve foot lengths of trees out of the woods with Sal) in order to minimize damage to the soil. Split wood is piling up outside woodsheds as students are emptying the woodsheds of the firewood that we processed this time last year. Whew – cycles!
Seedlings are already poking up under grow lights in the basement of the Center for Environmental Education, and we’ll hopefully turn the soil in the high tunnel one of these days (should it ever thaw!). And, just in case the intersection of the firewood and growing seasons weren’t enough, we’re also plumb in the heart of lambing season. Unfortunately, only three lambs have been born so far, with the other four moms most likely set to lamb over spring break. This feels unfortunate for two reasons: 1) students will miss the opportunity see these lambs be born, and 2) farmers will sincerely miss the help of the Semester 52 crew, who have risen in pairs every night to walk down to the barn at midnight and 3:00 am to check on the ewes. We’ll be thinking of our students during the middle-of-the-night checks throughout the next two weeks.
The lambs who have arrived are providing endless amounts of joy for those of us spending time around the barn. Lou Weaver, a student from South Portland, caught these lovely images of our first-born lamb, who prefers to jump and bound rather than walk these days.
To Semester 52: Enjoy your spring break, but come back SOON: we need your willing hands.
-Megan Phillips, Chewonki’s Salt Marsh Farm Manager