By Corrine Zawaduk
Spring has come, and the snow is slowly melting off the farm. I see some plants coming to life; wild alpine strawberries, kinikinik, green grass around the edges of the trees.
The farm is a long way off from the home Shambhalites know and love. The land is saturated in water. The snow is melting and impromptu creeks create waterways that don’t exist at any other time of the year. Part of the driveway is pockmarked and a spring has decided to appear in the middle of the road. It is always interesting to see the effect of water after the spring run-off. It is unpredictable. To live in harmony with the farm we take it in stride, assessing the land with a fresh eye every spring.
The animals are waking up. There are insects in the creeks; water beetles, giant diving beetles, pond skaters. We saw a pair of lynx on the driveway. They hunt the rabbits. The cows are birthing, with five new calves to date. The Bald Eagles and the Redtailed Hawks are waking and eat the afterbirth from the cows (not pretty, I know – but this is farm life). It is amazing to see them hop across the fields in front of the cows, spreading their wings to defend their meal.
There are no leaves on the trees, but I see them waking up. The buds of leaves are forming on the trees and soon the forests will be alive with the amazing variety of foliage of the wetland Kootenay mountains.
The Salmo River Ranch continues to farm the land. We are farm kids who love the ranch and the philosophy of living with the land. Shambhala is at a turning point with its infrastructure, having completed many irrigation and logistical issues. Next come the gardens. We have irrigation, fences and a stable workforce. Now we can focus some energy around farming and food. Downtown Shambhala is going to be a most beautiful garden, showcasing edible landscaping, creating food. Shambhala has built 3 greenhouses to grow starts for our project. We have planted seeds and hired a gardener for the year.
Gardens take time to grow. As has the festival. The gardening projects are long term. We will start small, and every year we will add something new. Shambhala is aspiring to create a central space for lounging and enjoying the natural environment coupled with the amazing art. It will take time. An exciting new focus for the next 13 years.