On the Farm by Glen Ells: Soil coming alive - finally

Published on May 24, 2014

Any of us that have worked the soil for a fair number of years know when the soil “comes alive” in the spring. We often plant some seeds ahead of this magic moment, hoping that it will get warmer and we’ll get some early vegetables.

This year, I struck out. Only a little bunch of radishes and one of three rows of potatoes are showing so far. Yesterday, the soil looked and felt alive enough to start my main garden. It is late because my two apple trees are starting to bloom and I’m just starting our vegetable garden.

I don’t keep records or make lists so there is no proof that it is really late, but it just feels that way to me. When I’m driving around and see commercial plantings of onions, corn and potatoes showing their various shades of green, I know that spring is here. The light greens will turn darker when it warms up. Some farmers have been able to catch up, despite the slow start, and will be very happy when we get into “bare arm days” – just so long as it is soon.

Today, I’m starting another decade. The first seven decades have been eventful, to say the least. Trying to make a living as a mixed – or maybe mixed up – farmer has been a challenge. The financial rewards were missing but the things that really count were abundant. I’ve found that people are basically decent and, despite all the band news that the media thrives on, there is more to be thankful for than to worry about.

I’ve been trying to retire for the last nine years, so I might as well give up that idea and get excited about the future. With a couple of new crops on the farm that I’m helping our son Stephen get going with, learning will keep on as long as this old head keeps working. It is great to have someone else making the decisions and doing the planning. I can continue to do some work and feel involved and useful.

As I begin my eighth decade, I’m a very happy old coot.