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Hoophouse Spinach

One of my guilty pleasures as I sit in front of the wood-burning stove every morning and work my mind into the day is that I like to peruse Instagram - you know, to see photos and happenings on other farms, to see how chefs around the country are expressing their culinary artistry, to see sweet little pictures of friends' get the idea.  After reading the morning news these days, it's a welcome reprieve and opportunity to witness beauty, creativity, and positivity.  This morning, my day started with a gorgeous post from the National Park Service (who, if you're on social media, you should definitely be following!) with a quote from John Muir: " Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue."  Pictured in this post was an image of Glacier National Park at sunrise displaying that mesmerizing alpenglow, and it immediately brought to mind Saturday's sunset here in Cedaredge.  If you were lucky enough to see it as we were, the rosy pink and blueish purple hues extended from what appeared to be Utah in the distance all the way across our beloved Grand Mesa.  It was spectacular.   Just as John Muir writes, the air here has been sweet, to say the least.  As I'm out feeding our chickens when dawn has not even quite broke, breathing in this cold, sub-freezing air is brisk and invigorating.  It takes my breath away at first gasp, but then fills me with life.  Lately, as the sun rises and the day warms, it's been nice to get back into the hoop houses and harvest greens, but also to get into the field and dig under our straw-mulch and several inches of melting snow to find beets and carrots perfectly preserved in soil that appears to just be teaming with life and completely protected from this cold world that exists just inches above it. We continue to page through seed catalogs - Johnny's, Baker Creek, High Mowing, Seed Saver's Exchange, and Fedco - and to  fill our computer screens with a collage of even more seed specs from other random, small, regional seed companies.  Our tradition has become ordering seeds on New Year's Eve, our way of ringing in our new year of gardening, so, at this time, we are finalizing our field maps, planning out where everything will be next year, paying careful consideration to what has been where over the last three years so that we can properly rotate our crops.  It's a bit of a puzzle and feels like I'm playing Tetris or some other Atari game of the 80's trying to figure it out.  We keep a binder full of meticulous notes that becomes like a diary of our farm.  Even on days when we're dog tired in the summer, we use our phones to record-keep in the field, and then transcribe our notes later.  It serves as a such a useful resource this time of year to know what spacing worked on those kale plants last spring or how many flats of onions it took to fill a bed or how many Black Krim tomatoes were started from seed or how many times we fertilized the cabbage in April.  Kind of like canning tomatoes in the heat of the summer when I feel like I barely have the energy to take a shower at day's end - it is painstaking when we do it, but we are grateful beyond words to have these fruits in the winter.  The same can be said for this journal.  It sits on my night stand and, in the summer, recording in it is often the last thing I do in my day.  This time of year it is a treasure to have this wealth of information as we take on the task of planning our next season, and in this case, how many of every seed to order.     And, with this, we wish each of you a wonderful week!  Powderhorn will be opening on Thursday, the trails are groomed on top of the Mesa, and there is lovely snowshoeing to be found, also - something for everyone!  We thank you for your continued support of our farm and local, organic agriculture.  It is our great privilege and honor to be growing food for you.  In gratitude, Melissa & Cale

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