Not really knowing the history of this holiday of yore, suffice it to say that I've seen the excellent and terrifying 1970's version of the film The Wicker Man and read enough Wiki entries about children dancing around the May pole to get the gist of it. So. . . guess that makes me somewhat of an expert on pre-christian European folk religion, right? C'mon, it's the information age. You don't have to know what you're talking about. Just say more. Oh, and definitely put it officially ONLINE!
To this newly solo, sole proprietor, on-his-own, little guy farmer, the first of May means that yesterday, the last day of April, not everything got done. Was it ever any different for any farmer anywhere, big or small? I've got a wee patch of vegetables that I'm calling Epic Acre Farm.
It's just that. About an acre on my home property that I figured I'd max out and produce for a market since I was planning on growing food here anyway. There are also some beautiful apple trees (morels!) that are in dire need (did I just say dire?) of pruning, a couple little pear trees that are in full, white flower bloom, and about an acre and a half of woods in addition to the "epic" acre of growing space.
Having gotten the "yard" mowed - that is, everything else green that doesn't constitute woods or grow space (thanks, Jen) - the beets and radish in the ground, the deer fence started, the trees cut or limbed outside the to-be-fenced area, earlier radishes hoed and covered and the last of firewood trees felled, most of what I wanted to accomplish in the last two days of April got done. Now it's May. Oh joy. Oh more to do.
May 1st happens to have dawned on a partly sunny, beautifully cool, mid 50's morning here in the southeast of PA. But before I get to the block party downtown to check out my friends TQI, I've got to get the rest of those loose ends from yesterday tied up. It's Sunday, the old order neighbors I have would say a day for rest and church. But as a small farmer (I would use the term market gardener, but then, I guess I'm just stuck back in the 90's with Andrew W. Lee) I don't have the minions of extended family hands to pitch in throughout the long growing season's work load. No kids. No cousins. No Pop with endless acreage and know-how and tractors. Nope, just me and sometimes my partner to remember the details and hoe the rows. And of course, in my case, good neighbors that'll swing up the hill just in the nick of time (again those oh so solid old order people), between endless April showers, with their three bottom and plow the rest of my field.
And then there's the friend who is helping with the deer fence. And the other friend who helped log the first big tree I felled two weeks ago. And of course the former boss who called and said I'd never get those clods broken up if he didn't bring the tractor roto-tiller over on Sunday and. . . wow. I guess I'm not really alone in this endeavor after all. All these fine people, eager and willing to lend two hands. Whether out of friendship or a simple common interest in rural life and activity. Being outside. Seeing the dogwoods bloom in May. Spring movement. Awake again.
I'm gonna put beets up for winter in the cold cellar room anyway so why not grow a few extra to take to market? At least that's what I keep telling myself when I get that first taste of being a bit overwhelmed with my Epic Acre.