For me, one of the really nice things about writing a weekly column is that I can page back and get an idea of what was happening on the farm throughout the year. I have never been a successful diary keeper, so this weekly commitment has provided the necessary discipline and now I can enjoy the results.
First of all, (for the record), I did the first major snow clearing on Dec. 17. It was an easy if late start to the season as it compacted so well when pushed with the loader: I could take long runs without having to dump the bucket. In fact, it compacted so well it probably didnít need clearing, but I put in the effort because a) I enjoy the job, and b) I always seem to regret not clearing once the next cycle comes through and the driveway turns into a bone jarring track of rock hard ruts.
Iíd forgotten how mild conditions were last January. There was green grass on the south facing slopes and I thought for sure that Bella and Mae were going to make a break for it. I am also reminded how much preparation for Slow Food Cycle Sunday was done in January and must try to do that again.Very helpful.
There was the farm tour in Cuba in February. Since I came back both National Geographic and Walrus magazines articles have featured articles about Cuba, although neither narrative reflected my experience. I did not get the impression that these authors went to any farms and I think that made it even harder for them to understand how and why that system has some legitimacy.
In March we cleaned up more fence lines and picked a lot of sticks. In April I let the new queen bee out of her little holder and she flew away. This was a disaster at the time, but we did eventually get some honey.
After that the year progressed with the usual planting, cultivating and harvesting of potatoes to which we added a good acre of carrots. Slow Food Cycle Sunday went really well and we had a bee swarm event. The irrigation system behaved erratically, I had tendonitis in my elbow and some customer service issues.
We started having farm meetings in 2012, which has got to be mentioned as one of the more remarkable if experimental additions to the business.
Whatís missing this year is the breakdown story. Sure we blew a couple of pressure tanks, and flirted with actual mental breakdowns, but I didnít really get that (sinking) ďoh no, how am I going to tell dad about thisĒ feeling at all in 2012.
That is until just last week, when I happened to drive under an overhang and almost smeared the canopy right off the truck. I certainly got that feeling then. I was barely drifting along, peering for numbers on the building when the tearing and cracking happened over top. I instantly imagined a torn up truck bed, the canopy ripped off and hanging crazily, potatoes everywhere, spectators agog, lawsuits and my dadís face.
It wasnít as bad as all that, but coming as it did on the heels of a little incident on the Burrard Bridge where I smeared a Volvo with the trailer wheel fender, my driving record is no longer the source of pride it once was.
So the 2012 farm story seems close to completion. A glass is raised to it.
Anna Helmer is an idle, tax-paying farmer who attends council meetings.