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The Blinding Excitement of Spring

I woke this morning to the sound of still skies and rain, the pitter patter of drops on the metal roof a soothing elixir when unaccompanied by the tension of wind. The Mourning Doves chanting their calming mantra outside our cracked window, the simultaneous stillness and cacophony of country living palpable, permeating my soul.

Last year's morels

It is spring, and almost overnight every tree is budding, tiny leaves popping out of seemingly nowhere. The grass is a mat of vibrant green, and the birds and squirrels are suddenly moving hurriedly - racing by the window in a flurry of activity. It is time.

Spring is hope. It is a deep-in-the-gut feeling that seems to apply to everything, from the anticipation of an amazing morel mushroom season to the hope that the world will grow to be a better place. The green of spring is a boost of energy to the body, it holds the seeds of possibility, of getting things done. It is the color of youth, of excited anticipation.

The new goats too are thrilled with the onset of spring, finally leaving the winter pen to forage for food, their hunger for new leaves unabated. They are ravenous, like a high school football team served pizza, each one stepping over the other in a mad dash to be the first to fill their belly.

Yet nowhere is hope more apparent than in our “garden,” a 5000 square foot space tilled up this week on a piece of property recently purchased behind our farmhouse. There are more potatoes in the ground now then we can likely eat in a year, and certainly more green beans than a family of two could possibly consume fresh (and who likes frozen green beans?). And although we love arugula, there is no way we will be able to eat it all once it comes up, the seeds in the ground enough to feed a sizable number of foodies.

The seeds in the envelope are so tiny, barely a speck in one’s hand…it is hard to envision how it might grow millions of times its own size and produce so much food. The amount of time we will have to spend tending to the garden - weeding, harvesting, nurturing the plants - may be enormous, and the battles with creatures big and small, infuriating.

But who thinks of that in the deliciousness of spring! The more food the merrier!

And so we keep on planting, dreaming of the bounty that will soon be ours (without the bugs, the watering, the weeding…) the excitement of it all overriding our knowledge that so much could go wrong or that this decadence may end up taking all of our precious time to manage. The fun of placing a seed in the dirt and transforming a field that previously only grew corn or soybeans into a place of nutrition and health, blinding our reason.

Yet perhaps 'reason' really is the motivation behind our actions. With too much food, we will be forced to feed our community, to hand out fresh vegetables to those who need or want it. We are a farm after all, it is high time we grew vegetables and fruits.

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Your thought about giving some of your excess food to your community got me thinking about the Jewish guidance on this topic...although you and I are emphasis on "ISH" in our jewish practice I thought you might enjoy this article...

And specifically:. The law of pe’ah (“corner”), discussed in the tractate of the same name, refers to the biblical command, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field . . . you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger” (Leviticus 23:22). As

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