ORANGE — By the time I arrived as a student at the Farm School last October, harvest had slowed to a trickle. Only a few passed-over leeks remained in the field outside my bedroom window, so our attention on the farm turned instead to putting the soil to rest for the season and planning for spring. Every frigid dawn brought us closer to May’s kaleidoscope of green. And as I split log after log to feed an insatiable furnace, I tried to prepare for fatherhood and the birth of my first child.
Then, in late May, as peas sent up their first shoots and turnips staked their claim below, a long-expected baby boy named Wendell made his way into the world. Overjoyed and exhausted, my wife, Globe photographer Dina Rudick, and I trembled at the thought of combining 12-hour farm days with the all-consuming haze of infant care. Generations of farmers before us had survived the same, we reminded ourselves, but we weren’t hardened farmers yet.