The saying goes that time flies when you’re having fun. Well we must have had a blast this winter, for it seems like just yesterday we were closing the stand for the season. It’s hard to believe that in two weeks, I will be starting up the greenhouses to begin the first batch of transplants for the upcoming season.
So, what did the Harmans do this winter?
November is always spent cleaning up, whether the farm or the house. Tom, Javier, Francisco, and Papa worked very hard to leave the fields in good shape before we took “the guys” (not Tom) to the airport to go back to Mexico. Daniel, Tom and I put the row covers on the strawberries. I cleaned the house which had been greatly neglected during the growing season. Windows were washed, closets, drawers and cupboards cleaned – it was a good feeling to get that done. I also froze a lot of broccoli, cauliflower, and pumpkin. Tom worked on equipment maintenance, a never ending job that he does all year round.
We also had some fun in November. Tom and I attended the Southeast Strawberry Expo, this year held at The Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Oh my, what a beautiful place and it was even decorated for Christmas. We went on a tour of 3 other strawberry farms and attended many informative sessions. The long drive gave us plenty of time to talk and dream.
In late November, Tom, Daniel, two of his friends, and I went to the Shenandoah for 3 days. Luray Caverns, Monticello, and some relaxing in between. On the way back, we stopped in Washington D.C. to see the Holocaust Museum, a must for everyone.
We stayed busy throughout December. I tackled the mountain of bookkeeping that accumulates throughout the season. I also started the long, cumbersome process of obtaining H2-A visas for our helpers for the 2015 season. Yes, it takes at least 3 months! David came home from college and enjoyed time with his old friends. (More on David in a moment.) Daniel hosted several bonfires for his circle of friends. He also spent many afternoons at “The Turf” (C. Milton Wright field) playing soccer, as well as playing basketball. He and I cheered on our Steelers each Sunday (sorry). Daniel also plays in the CMW marching band, so we had fun attending many football games and parades to cheer them on. What a great band! Tom had the opportunity to go hunting many times, both deer and goose. He loves the time outside with “the guys”. While he was hunting, I spent my time doing what I like best in December, preparing for Christmas. Decorating, writing cards, cooking, picking out the ‘perfect’ gifts, and wrapping. It is truly my favorite time of the year.
Now, David. The day after Christmas, David and 4 other “Terrapin Trail Club” members started out for the Grand Canyon. They drove for 40 hours straight, then hiked the Canyon for 4 days, rim to rim. At the end of the 4th day, they came out to be greeted by record low temperatures (-12 degrees). They hiked in a rare snow while down in the canyon, too. Then, they drove home (again straight through). Oh, to be young again. Since then, he has also completed the 4 State Challenge on the Appalachian Trail – 4 states, 45 miles, in 24 hours. David spent the rest of January working at the Proving Ground before heading back to college.
January is a good month to make plans for the upcoming season. I, with input from Tom, prepared the seed orders. We caught up on reading farm journals and I continued the process of getting the H2-A visas. We also found time to relax and have some fun. Tom and I love going to the high school basketball games (Daniel’s in the Pep Band). We also finished watching a wonderful series called “McLeod’s Daughters, which we have been working on for 2 years (no time for TV during the growing season). Tom did a little more hunting and I enjoyed getting together with some of my friends for lunches and breakfasts. I also enjoyed many walks with my buddy, Ross, the beagle. The end of the month, I had carpal tunnel release surgery, David had some minor surgery, and Tom and Daniel had the stomach bug – all at the same time!! What fun!
So here we are in February… freezing like everyone else, but hopeful for another good growing season. As always, we are forever grateful to our many customers who have been so good to us.