Learning the Land

Learning the Land

Ice has made an impressionable appearance this winter. Its come and gone a few times now, coating and covering, forming our own little cryosphere on the farm. When the ice and snow melts for a moment, it runs where ever it finds its way, down-hill of course, often over our roads and walk ways, only to freeze again that night.

A few days ago, rain and melt flooded our fields in a way I hadn’t seen before. The ground was still very much frozen solid, so water pooled and flowed according to the contours of the land. We know where the normal low spots are, but this was different. “Down-hill” is not always so obvious. Water collected and moved north to south by a network of shoots and ladders–a truly awesome display of just part of our water cycle. Flat is flat, and everything else is not flat. Ironically, we call this part of the farm “the Flat.”

Part of our work starting the farm is learning the land: observing, listening, noticing. Even though I grew up here, the Flat was not a place I spent a lot of time paying close attention to. Thankfully water won’t likely flood this way during the times we are working with the soil, but it was still illuminating to see the shapes it took and where it moved. This is just one consideration as we start our farm and design the layout of our vegetable plots.

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