Tuesday April 15, 2014


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Pemberton News

Resolutions for a farm family

Farm Story

This column is destined for the New Year's Eve edition of the paper, which offers this writer a golden opportunity to beef up the word count with a few hundred on resolutions for the coming year. Such a topic gift seems redundant I suppose, given the weather lately.

Really, it has been terribly interesting to observe, if somewhat puzzling to experience, the daily dose of weather: temperature fluctuations, droughts, deluges, storms and clearing trends. Soft duck poo, and hard duck poo. Frozen fingers, thawed fingers. Tires spinning in slick muck, tires spinning on ice, or stuck in a concrete ice rut. Rotting broccoli plants on the thawing compost heap, kale cracked from the stem and still good to go. Boot-deep slush puddles, ice-skating on picturesque lakes. These are a few of my favorite things so far this December.

I find that the topic of weather, improperly treated, threatens to bore us to tears, and as I am at loss as to how to avoid cliché I will make an abrupt and thankful departure to the tantalizing subject of my farm-related New Year's Resolutions.  

I resolve to try evaluating the viability of each of the 18 potato varieties we grow using charts and graphs showing as many stats as I can muster. At our next farm meeting I will propose dropping the two lowest scoring varieties. This decision will be based on steely analysis and I will find a way to measure emotional attachment.

I further resolve to plant the carrots only when I am completely satisfied with the soil conditions. As I should only be happy with that sort of thing if Dad too is happy, I will obviously need to work on it until he approves. He often approves once Mom gives the thumbs up so I will need to show her the field — and as Sister Jennie expects me to satisfy these above requirements, my way is clear. The mystery of why I decided that everything would be fine in the 2013 carrot patch despite misgivings from all parties remains unsolved, frankly puzzling and good reason to change topics again.

Let us then be drawn further into the riptide and move to the perilous yet irresistible exercise of proposing resolutions for everyone else. For example, I would like Dad to resolve to not ski anything too ridiculous until we have sold all the potatoes at market this spring. If you see him on The Ladder you must persuade him otherwise. He must make the 4 a.m. wake-up call every Saturday until March.

Mom might resolve to not encourage the momma ducks to bring off dozens of ducklings in multiple batches several times over starting in the spring, throughout the summer and into the fall. Families of two or three are all that is necessary. Some (ducks) even find satisfaction with the single offspring and I know some (ducks) who have eschewed reproduction entirely and they (the ducks) seem quite well adjusted.  

Sister Jennie would be well advised to consider a resolution involving the abstention from collecting any more pets to which she has severe allergies. Cats in particular spring to mind.

It is to be hoped that I did not imagine the glimmer of interest shown by sister-like Veronika when I mentioned the variety viability evaluation project and a resolution of support would perhaps get the job done.  

I am reluctant after-all to end 2013 on such a magnificently bossy note and so I will not do so. I will instead wish you all the very most Happy New Year, and thank you for reading.



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