My husband and I often joke that before owning a farm we rarely thought about the weather. Two years ago, the primary reason for my weather watching was choosing my outerwear for walking our two boxers. But now the weather is an all-consuming topic of conversation and drives more decisions than I could have ever imagined.
It determines what kinds of work we can or cannot do on the farm. This time last year our contractor was trying to build a road from our gate to the middle of the property. The road was delayed by months because the ground was too wet. Chores that would have been completed quickly took longer because we couldn’t drive on the wet ground. We’ve also had months of high temperatures that forced us to take frequent water breaks and drove us to spend time in the shade. In both cases, even though we would have preferred more moderate weather, the extremes forced us to step back and take a break. It also gave us the mental and emotional space to maybe rethink some projects.
The weather also helps us decide what kind of clothes and shoes/boots we’ll wear. Unlike in my previous life, where I could just throw on a jacket to run from the house to the car or vice versa, when we’re working out in the elements, we have to be prepared for the wind, rain and temperature fluctuations. And depending on how wet or dry the previous days have been, regular work boots might be fine, or we might need rubber muck boots.
I’m really not an outdoorsy person. I’ve always tried to be comfortable, in control of the thermostat, in control of my comfort level. Working outside though, has shown me how little control I really have.
Last February, we hosted a day retreat for 10 individuals. If you have a farm in Navarro County, you remember what a wet winter and spring we had. On this particular day, a fine mist prevailed and temps plunged into the 40s. Thankfully the less than favorable weather had been forecast so we were able to forewarn our guests. They arrived prepared, wearing raincoats and rubber boots. We took all of the overnight furniture out of our glamping tent and instead outfitted it with floor cushions and heaters. Two campfires were going to provide warmth outside and we passed out more than a few chemical hand and toe warmers. Our Executive Chef, Tanner, provided them with a great boxed lunch and finished up the day by preparing a delicious meal over a campfire, which was served inside the tent, using tables and chairs, cloth linens and nice dinnerware. It ended up being such a great day - for those retreating and for all of us who served, in spite of the unpleasant weather!
I’m still not a fan of extreme temperatures, but through my encounters with the weather, I’m learning to enjoy the seasons, even the fluctuations. I’m learning to plan ahead - not just for myself, but also for our guests.
Sherry Asbury Clark is Co-Founder of Purdon Groves and a freelance writer. You may reach her at email@example.com. For more info on Purdon Groves, a farm, table, venue and retreat property, check out purdongroves.com, visit their Instagram or Facebook pages, or call 404-606-1243.