It took Andrew and me more than a few tries to settle on a farm name that we both liked. To begin with, Andrew nominated “Springtail Farm,” in honor of some kind of microscopic soil creature that he had read about and liked. I, who had seen pictures of springtails and did not think that it would incorporate well into a logo, lobbied hard for Anona Farm, after the Roman goddess of the harvest. Andrew then did some googling of “Anona” and informed me that my goddess was blatantly fabricated by the Roman Empire to remind the peasants of their debt to the empire and it’s grain subsidies (the eponymous bread of “Bread and Circuses”), which deflated my enthusiasm for that idea rather quickly. We almost came to an agreement about “Full Well Farm”–we both liked the connotations of abundant water and contentment. The more we sat with it, however, the more we worried that it was a bit too eccentric and old-timey. When one of us suggested “Open Book Farm,” we quickly realized that it was a much better fit.
I mention this because last weekend our well went dry.
Yes, that is exactly as bad as it sounds.
I won’t bore you with the back story of well issues that we thought we had resolved, or the pump and pressure tank that we had only just replaced. Suffice it to say that on a Sunday morning I found myself staring at the ground in disbelief and numb terror as I contemplated the idea of a farm without water.
Now, to be fair, it could be much worse. Our farm is bordered on one side by Catoctin Creek, and we do have a small pond not far from the driveway. We have surface water. Additionally, the farm has a total of three drilled wells, (though the second, we learned for a cool $1400, is effectively dry as well) and with the addition of a new pump in the deepest and further well, we were able to restore water to our home by the evening. The new well, alas, only yields 1.5 gallons per minute, and has to supply our home and our neighbor’s, so it doesn’t leave any extra water for agricultural application. On Sunday night we found ourselves in a very uncomfortable place, suddenly having to rethink all of our plans for the season.
We cannot raise animals or grow vegetables without reliable water. Our pond, while spring fed, is shallow, and we don’t know how well it will flow in the summer. So we had to make a call. We decided to put our CSA on hold for the season. It was not an easy decision, and I still second guess it several times each day. But the last thing we want to do is make a promise that we can’t keep, and so to offer a CSA with our current situation would be unfair to our customers and down right stupid for us.
We will grow veggies this year, but less of them. We’ll work the kinks out of our pond irrigation system, and we’ll try to set ourselves up well for the future. (no pun intended) We’ll ease into our new neighborhood by being open on Friday nights for veg, meat, and egg sales, and we hope that we’ll see some of you there. We may not be full well, but we remain an open book.