The spring storms the past weekend seemed a bit violent. Today and yesterday began below freezing. I hope our orchards escaped unharmed. There is still a need to lay low. The woodstove was back in use and the animals took shelter from the strong winds and driving rain.

Being forced to be indoors provided the opportunity to do some cooking, and the fiddleheads I had picked were steamed and dipped in butter, combined with mushrooms, onion, garlic and peppers and served over fetticini, and finally used in a pasta primevera with lots of ricotta.

Today was sparkling again and as the sheep headed up the hill before Will (the sheepdog) and me in the cold early morning sun, I felt lucky to be alive.

Every spring I can’t help but be reminded of the strong relationship between farmers and the seasons. Spring of course is the beginning of the cycle. The season of optimism. Farmers forget their troubles of winter. There is the frozen water, the cold machines that take so much coaxing to get going, the broken and frozen manure chains that had to be freed and fixed at twenty below zero. The cows were not especially happy at the feeding delays and not being able to go out doors because of the ice and wind chills that could freeze their teats, as well as the barns that would freeze without their large warm bodies.

Yes, farmers forget all this and are lured to the fields by the warm spring air and brilliant green. The farmer must be the eternal optimist, always thinking that this year will go better than last, and willing to gamble again with mother nature as this years crop is planted.

The growing brightness of the spring skies propells the farmers to the fields. The herds and flocks are cast far and wide over the green hills. Strips of land are plowed and make patterns that will change a little bit each day as seedings and planted corn grow and change the landscape while summer comes on.

Upstairs in my studio I’m working on “Farmscapes”.There are many sketches and first waxings for my summer batik inspired by the beautiful countryside of Washington County, New York.