Not a 9-5 Job

On Sunday night, many of you were in disbelief when darkness descended upon us at the too-early hour of 5:45 or so.  “That extra hour of sleep, it wasn’t worth it!”.  “I hate Winter.”  Etc.

The early risers among you are rejoicing. That morning walk/run/cycle/swim that had been done in the dark for the last three weeks or so once again happens in dawn or daylight — for a few weeks.

For anyone who works on a farm, it really doesn’t matter that much.  There’s a popular myth that Daylight Savings Time was enacted to help farmers.  But in reality, farms live and die by the sun.  Work starts at or just before sunrise.  In the summer, that means starting at 5:30 or 6 a.m.  Finishing time changes depending on the starting time.

There are plenty of exceptions to this rule.  Tractors have halogen lights now, and certain times of year some farmers keep them running all night long.  Winegrapes in some parts of the Central Valley are harvested at night to preserve their flavors.  Hay is cut at night during hot weather to keep it from drying out.

But by and large, the work rhythms of farming pre-date the 8-hour day, electricity and even clocks.  If farmers had invented clocks, they would get a minute or two slower every day in the fall, and a minute or two faster in the spring.

Enjoy the long nights of winter.  Make some soup, roast some veggies.  Relax.  That’s my plan anyway.




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