Spring must be a very happy time for just about all farmers. It certainly is for us. Everything begins again fresh with a promising future of a rewarding harvest. With life itself sprouting up everywhere we look, our world turns green with blossoms of all colors and hope brings with it a kind of rechargeable joy.
But just as there are two sides to every coin, each spring also brings with it the potential for crushing disappointment that can send a small farmer near to despair. That’s because every spring delivers the dreadful prospect of a killing frost; the possibility of losing an entire fruit crop is inescapable. And when the stormy days come late in the spring, bringing those frosty cold nights with them, we stand entirely at the mercy of mother nature’s rule. Damaging weather of a different type, along with other natural threats will surely be coming in force later in the season, but the early spring frost can have a lot to say about how a farmer’s year may go.
So we fire up the wind machine the day before just to make sure it will run when we need it – knowing full well that just because it started during the day doesn’t mean it will start when it counts. And then we wait. Sometimes we wait all night for a frost that never comes. Other nights linger right on the edge of critical temperatures and the whole night is spent watching out for wind machines, which are highly susceptible to damage when mother nature decides to kick up some wind of her own.
If it doesn’t get too cold, and if the wind machine will start, and if the 2 – 3 degrees it generally raises the temperature in the orchard is just enough, then most of the fruits might survive. If not, we’ll fall back on one of the farmer’s most enduring creeds – there’s always next year. May this spring reward all of our hopes by leaving us a bounty of harvest for everyone to enjoy!