A Year of Fibre Farming - Spring

Farming is governed by the seasons. Each season is important, be it for the work that is done or the time it allows the land, the herd, and the farmers, to rest and regenerate.


I always see spring as when we, the land, and the herd get ready for the hectic summer marathon. As the cold and snow recedes we all seem to be poking our heads out and hoping that warmth is on its way.


The herd begins to leave the shelter of the barn on days when the sun has made its shift in the cosmos and seems to be shining down brighter and staying in the sky longer. The thermometer may not say it is warmer, but it feels like it. As the weeks progress and the pasture begins coming to life, they begin to spend their time alternating between staring at the house and gazing longingly at the sight of fresh green grass. You can hear them thinking “Let us out!”. But patience is a virtue, and they need to wait until the grass is long enough that they aren’t going to eat it to the ground by the end of May. At this point, they are in full fleece and are often looking a little scruffy, but I can see the possibilities that rest in all the fleecy goodness.


The fields are greening, and when it’s warm sometimes it seems like you can see the grass growing as you look out over the land. We are constantly looking at the health of the pastures and hay fields. Have our efforts in the past few years continue to improve the soil, the trees, and our future hay crop? Do we need to try something different this year? What can we do to work smarter, not harder? As farmer’s we spend a lot of energy thinking, planning, and talking. This is an important step to doing jobs once, and getting them right, so we don’t have to repeat them.


As the human part of the farming triad, spring is when we plan for the coming year. Seeds to start for dye plants and veggies, what work needs to be done in the fields, shearing dates, updates to barn and home, and the list goes on. Seeds are started indoors and I immediately start to hover over the trays waiting for the first hint of the plant life pushing up and the promise of the colour or sustenance that the plant will provide. Wrapping up any spinning projects before the next crop of fleece is always a goal but the production of yarns never seems to end. Clean-up of the yard, the barn, and the studio always leaves us with a fresh start to the new year. What shows to apply for, what inventory we need to produce to feed the growing demand, a schedule to complete these important tasks, and not have us feeling overwhelmed is something that has become increasingly essential to lower our stress and keep us on track for the demands of each season to come.


Spring is when it all begins and shows us the possibilities of the year to come.