There are many ways to measure the health of soil. Some trust their senses, rubbing dirt between their fingers, inhaling its aroma, tasting its richness. Perhaps a more dependable metric is the health of the plants the soil grows (without the crouches of pesticides or highly soluble fertilizers), or the health of the people eating those plants. But for us science-loving Westerners, there's something appealing about a soil test. I can't say I rely on them, or even entirely believe them, but seeing those quantitative results, accurate to the nearest hundredth of a part per million, somehow excites my inner engineer and has been known to trigger a whole slew of excel spreadsheets.
However abstract or overly precise, these soil test results at least give a sense of the progress that has been made in building the farm's soil over the last year. The first result is from soil sampled as I purchased the property in November, 2010. The second is from that same soil sampled 12 months later.
I find little more exciting than the thought of continuing to build this soil's health, to maximize its fertility and the nutrition of the food it produces. I look forward to ever improving it, and take pleasure and pride in each added bucket of compost, wheelbarrow of leaves, and stand of cover crop.