From Groundswell's Incubator Coordinator

By Devon Van Noble

A few days ago it was in the 40’s in Enfield for a few minutes, and I slipped up and said, “Whew- Summer is

A friend laughed back at me, “Bahhh– you are jumping the gun on that one, guy!” 

Growing up in Florida, I got exhausted of the relentless heat and humidity. When I moved to Ithaca about 11 years ago, I found the Northern winters invigorating, and loved the fact that there was a reason to huddle up inside when it got cold out. 

There is a sense of interdependence with our friends and neighbors during this time of year. The cold forces us to prepare and work with nature and consider how we are going to survive through the elements that are beyond our control. 

In short, it’s a humbling season. When winter arrives, I look forward to the sunny days playing in this Winter wonderland— skiing at Greek Peak, hiking around frozen waterfalls, sledding at Cornell… But after this winter, I just want to be warm.

This is only the second winter at Van Noble Farm, and it has been kind of a rough season. Sub-zero temperatures heading into December caught me off guard and rather unprepared to keep young piglets warm and protected. My tool of choice for “unfreezing” water bins each day has been a hefty sledge hammer and a pair of rubber gloves, but often even that seems futile because ice crusts form after 10 minutes. 

I know I am not the only livestock producer who is suffering from the “Polar Vortices” that have characterized this winter. My heart goes out to all those producers who have had to clench their teeth to make it through to spring. 

It’s not that I don’t still have a fondness for the snow, the stillness, and the cold— I just have a different perspective on this season now. It can be enjoyable and beautiful, but it carries a serious potential for hardship. Thankfully, SPRING IS COMING! And there are so many exciting projects to look forward to in 2014.

Waiting for spring,