Winter and early spring are the most time affluent periods of our farming season. Hence, this is the time we take to do equipment—of all sorts including our bodies. We rest and sleep and vacate, all part of maintenance, yes, but also we head to the gym, do more cardio, reconnect with our social networks and families, and we work on what I like to call “side quests” like learning new skills or just pursuing hobbies that are completely related to farming.
Just like the oil changes, filter replacements, and grease that keeps our equipment going, the human maintenance is what keeps the farmers going. Our main season can get kind of intense (working 6+ days/week for 8-9 months) and unsustainable. So we do our best to balance it out in the three months of slower time that we take to do our own personal maintenance.
That slow times speeds up a bit next week as more of our crew returns to work again and the planting schedule really kicks into gear. But we’re ready. We’ll continue to do our best to keep some of our maintenance/side quest routines in order to ease back into full swing (I will continue to learn how to roll my kayak until I get it, for example), but we feel refreshed and ready to take on the new season.
The seasonality of this work is one of the things I’m most grateful for. I recognize that most people have a more sustainable schedule and have a bit of time for maintenance activities regularly, I have become accustomed to this yearly balancing routine and have come to prefer it. Knowing the break is coming in December keeps me going at full speed when our crops (and weeds) are growing the fastest and the most markets are up and running at full tilt.