January 18, 2016

Fog and Rainbows


Winter has arrived to Capay. The evidence is the new green grass on the hills growing up that will soon overtake the last year’s dry grass, leaving the hills entirely green. Rain showers have started to show up on a routine basis, sometimes pounding and sometimes sprinkling the farm with water. Once that rain hits the ground, it always does the same thing – makes mud.

Mud is such a game changer on the farm. The edges of fields when they are dry make dirt roads that can be driven on and for so much of the year, they are so reliably roads that it confuses me to not be able to drive on them after the rain. Now, they are not roads. Their lows spots make small ponds and their openness is a tempting trap that I always fall into. It never takes long to realize that I should not have tried. Had I been in my wife’s car, I would have stopped and backed up to the gravel drive. But in my truck, I keep going. Using the four-wheel drive, I slip and slide, leaving large ruts wondering if I am going to get stuck – it wouldn’t be the first time. When done, I look back at the ruts and wish I had backed up.

The next time out I walk the farm. With each step, I leave a smaller rut and with each step, some more mud gets caked onto the bottom of my boot. My steps get awkward under the weight of the mud. I slip a bit and then begin adding a forward kick to each step and finally, the chunk of mud is launched in front of me, spinning and breaking up. My foot is light for a step or two or maybe three until it is again caked with mud. It gets old quickly – maybe I should have driven…

The winter moisture always brings a different and beautiful season to the farm. The best days start as fog – fog so thick it is hard to see more than 100 feet in front of you. The sun slowly burns the fog away from the top until it is gone, revealing the sky that is covered in a mosaic of clouds and blue sky. As the sun warms up the soil that is saturated with moisture, there is a fog layer about eight feet deep and by mid-day, this too is burned off. By early afternoon, the clouds that have been hanging around, but not
completely blocking the sky, start to sprinkle rain drops. The rain comes in spurts, and it is only raining on the farm. Beyond the farm, blue skies and beautiful clouds share the atmosphere. With the sun to my back and rain over my head, I look forward and that is where the rainbow is seen. This week, there was an amazing rainbow spanning the entire farm. The arc spanned from horizon-to-horizon and centered under the rainbow was our field of kales. Check the photo out on my Instagram @farmerthaddeus.

If you are missing the farm, go find a big patch of mud to get stuck to the bottom of your shoes and when you go home, do your best to scrape off the mud from your shoes, but don’t take your shoes off – this will give you a good idea of what the floor of our farm office looks like right now!