Hello, my friends. As parts of the country begin to emerge from the restrictions of total lockdown, I have found myself secluded for an entirely different reason: I live on a farm, and the growing season is upon us.

Spring is hesitant in our corner of the world, and when she finally emerges she rushes headlong into summer. It’s only been within the last week that the trees have put on most of their leaves, and yet the heavy air of coming June is already lingering over the late spring blossoms.

Our work started when the earth first began to awaken. The air was chill, and the green still rested within tightly wrapped buds. Finally we began to find an egg, and then three, and then six in the henhouse each morning. My husband started preparing the fields for spring planting, and everyone was drafted in to follow the culti-mulcher and gather by hand any rocks that would be large enough to damage the planting equipment. The fields were drilled with pasture grasses and hay mixes: hundreds of pounds of seed all tucked hopefully into the cold and quiet earth.

My poor garden – which languished in last year’s unprecedented rains – needed attention as well, though on a much smaller scale. I put everyone to work clearing the raised beds, and the little ones helped me plant while my eldest tended the Mary garden by the front porch. I plotted out the radish seeds and sugar snap peas, while she planted blue lupines for Our Lady.

Now the fields have sprouted; the grass is growing faster than I can keep it trimmed and so are the weeds among my herbs. Last week the pastures were substantial enough to turn out the cows for the first time since winter. Already they are blessing us with an increase in their nourishing milk. It’s a joyful time on every farm, and one can see why it’s celebrated in rural cultures.

Our “schedule” has certainly shifted. Schoolwork is finished for this year, and with all of us spending these long days working outside our meals are necessarily fresher and simpler to prepare (we eat a great many eggs). I have not taken much time to write these past few weeks, but by no means have we stopped reading. Oh no! When the calves have been fed and the children scrubbed, we still settle down to an hour or more of reading in the light of evening.

I have almost finished reading The Swiss Family Robinson to my little fellow. The little ones have been enjoying Brambly Hedge and Fritz and the Beautiful Horses among their usual favorites. My eldest is quite pleased to be initiated into the abridged stories of The Usborne Complete Jane Austen, while the second-in-command is often up a tree with her beloved Wings of Fire series. I have finished a very pleasant read which I hope to share with you soon, and have started again The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. My husband pretends to read books about rotational grazing, but is actually listening in on The Swiss Family Robinson. I think we shall follow it with Swallows and Amazons.

These are full, busy days for us. Whatever work God has given to you, I hope that you might find a renewed sense of joy in undertaking it. May your families be blessed as they grow each day.

Please note that all of the book recommendations on The Family Bookshelf – while chosen entirely at my own discretion – are shared with you via affiliate links, and I do receive a commission from any purchase you might make. Thank you for supporting my writing and my family.