One of the ideas we respect and enjoy about farming is seasonality. With our very first annual cycle still underway, we’ve caught a glimpse of what we hope to learn much more about. The earth is spherical; most things move in waves; straight lines are hard to find in nature. By contrast, the linear mindset that pervades much of our material and spiritual existence today is fundamentally orthogonal to the natural world upon which all life is based and within which all life is hosted. Reconnecting with the elemental reality of the world around us brings many realizations and great joy.
Our animals tend not to stir before light. In winter this means shorter days, a natural cycle that recognizes the fact that less calories are available to us all during shorter colder months, so more sleep makes sense as part of an overall lower energy existence in harmony with the lower solar profile that drives all life. By contrast, a linear approach has us drawing a straight line through the curve: get to work at 8am whether that means getting dressed and eating breakfast in the dark or not. Disconnection from the natural world is unhealthy physically and spiritually. It is hard on body and soul.
Specifically at Dogwood Farms we are doing less production work (pigs are processed and being sold, pastures are dormant), and more planning and maintenance. What animals to get for 2013 (more on this in a future post)? Considering and planning what infrastructure to build or repair, tools to sharpen, land use planning… wonderfully cyclical and regenerative tasks that allow time to reflect, to consider, to evaluate. There’s a time to act, and a time to regroup and assess and plan. Winter on a farm is that rarest of opportunity, created by the most basic of circumstances, something that has come once a year for eternity and hopefully always will.