Sunday, April 26, 2009

Busy season!

almost all of these plants are now in the ground!

This is the time of year...
when it is easy to find work to do right up to nightfall.
when dinner is often salad, pasta, popcorn, ice cream or something otherwise easy.
when the to do list is long and growing.
when the cherry trees burst into bloom all in one day (today).
when the call of the peepers entertains us as we eat dinner and go to bed.
Where we are planting a lot and each day the greenhouse is a little emptier. (still quite full, though)

Our friends Theresa and Brent have a farm very similar to ours over in jacksonville, she writes a column about the farm in each issue of "Edible Finger Lakes" (a magazine about local food and food producers) The current one has a great column about why they became farmers. I really appreciated her thoughts about why they do what they do. Sometimes people say, "wow, farming that is hard work." Which is true, there is hard work involved. But, she talks in her article about how one of the joys of running a small farm is the mental challenge and though i had never put it into words that way, it is true.

there is also so much more-- the chance to be one's own boss, the opportunity to plan and execute each day tailored to one's own desires (though sometimes the job of the day chooses us), the joy of listening to birds calls and stopping to watch a spider spin a web or the turtles in the pond slip under the water and glide away. There is the constant challenge of creative problem solving and the moment of wonder, when what seems like just the right answer materializes. and just as enjoyable is figuring out a second plan if the first did not work.

But i think she hit the nail on the head, for me the beauty of being a farmer is the mental work of figuring out plants per row feet, transplants per bed, a sensible crop rotation, how to squeeze in a covercrop, where to put a perennial crop, how many dollars to anticipate earning per bed. how to squeeze in another cropping of greens from this bed before we plant the tomatoes. It is making these choices that is like being a conductor weaving together several melodies to make a harmonious whole. Each strand of well timed music makes a better whole in the end. As farmers we get to practice each year moving each little piece closer to perfection so that our whole farm comes together into a more harmonious whole. The real joy of farming for me is the mental challenge of bringing together all the various pieces into a completion as a thing of beauty that can sustain us and i enjoy the gift of each new chance to try out new ideas and see how much finer we can tune to operation that we have going here.

It's been a while since i posted! (the kales pictured in the last posting are already in the field and growing) I've been meaning to put an update up, but boy have we been busy! In the last week in addition to farming, we had three different speaking engagements (an after school program, an appearance at an earthday event, and a talk at the rotary club (thanks to all three for inviting us! Nice to see the interest in local agriculture out there growing!)) We attended our first market of the regular season, and we have had lots of visitors and had our first CSA event of the year! We have planted 600 asparagus crowns, several new trees, and lots of beds of vegetables. We also had our tractor repaired (and thus were without it for several weeks) and had water and electricity run to our "greenbarn" so that we could move our wash area under cover there, and eventually, soon, i hope, put up our walk in cooler out there. This is the trench that the lines were run in.

Several weeks ago i meant to post as we had a minor tragedy. Mice got into our hot bed where we start seedlings, and ate a decent amount of our tomato and pepper seedlings. We have replanted and most are growing all right, but it was a set back, we kept saying, "we need the snakes to move in" because every year at some point, they colonize the greenhouse and the mouse problem is resolved. Well good news, they have arrived! So hopefully we are out of harm's way in terms of rodent damage.

HUGE thanks to all that attended our first CSA work day on april 18th! We had a great time and really enjoyed meeting every one and are really appreciative of the help! We had a nice potluck and then mulched for and planted broccoli, cabbage, and onions. It was A BIG HELP! Thanks again to Julie, Garret, Evelyn, Dorothy, Jane, John, Suzie, Juliet, Carolina, David, Mary, and later in the week, Sarah, Stephen, Ira, and Chris! With their help we were able to spread almost all of this enormous pile of hay bales onto the beds and then plant all the beds in the foreground!

My Dad snapped some photos of the work day for us, but i couldn't find the file readily, i'll try to do that and post them later.

Tommorrow's job has found us already as we currently have a tractor with only three functional wheels sitting in the driveway. Then hopefully the brussels sprouts can go out! Don't miss the next opportunity to come on out to the farm on May 23rd, an email will remind you several days before. Hope you can make it! Thanks for supporting local agriculture! Stay cool.
liz and matthew