We can almost hear the ground freezing!

These days, the farm is not usually a-buzz at 7am. Come December, we plan on a leisurely roll out of bed. Get the wood stoves rolling and shuffle through a warm breakfast before we head out to say a brunch-like “Buenos Dias” to the hens.

But not this year. The loot delivered on that semi-truck last Monday morning drew everyone outside while the ice was still solid on the puddles. Our Assistant Manager, Susie, drove in from Brattleboro, big grin on her face, ready to roll. Albert, our neighbor and the farmer here before us, had frozen cheeks and level in hand already when I saw him at 9am. The farm crew – Antonio, Adelina, Iver and Ben – came down the road with an unusual spring in their steps, for a chilly December morning. The greenhouse construction has begun.

We are putting up two new greenhouses – each 30’ wide by 96’ long – on the site of the old corn silage bunkers, filling the unused space between our barns and the other two hoop houses. One will be heated and rigged up as a new propagating house, for spring transplants. The other, funded by a USDA program, will be unheated. We’ll use it, plus our existing smaller houses, for growing early tomatoes and possibly winter greens – all areas of growing that will be new to us. Exciting!

So all last week, as I worked in the office with an ear out for a waking baby, I heard the tell-tale, rhythmic tap-tap-tap of the sledge hitting pipe. Last Friday, with a dawn low temperature of twelve degrees (!), we just squeaked in the last row of posts – we could almost hear the earth freezing solid with each sledge punch. We’re prepared now for plenty of work on warmer winter days, assembling the bows and purlins. You can bet we’ll be out there during the January thaw, hammering and pounding, imagining houses full of greens next winter, creating something where before there was only an idea.

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