Farm Week: April 22-26, 2013

This week saw some sunburn-inducing highs and some frosty morning lows. We continued to transplant more brassicas (cabbages, kales, chard, choi, etc) and greens. The wind whipped through the valley sometimes upwards of 20 mph, and we eventually grew more skilled at wrestling with the long sheets of remay that are currently protecting many beds of plants from the morning frosts and the emerging flea beetles.

A little less than two weeks since our first round of transplanting and direct-seeding, we lifted the remay for the first round of cultivation. Depending on the crop and the bed layout, we cultivated at a few different levels: with the tractor, with a hoe, or with our hands. The tractor can cultivate under the wheel tracks, and in between 2-row crops or on either side of our 1-row peas. We follow the tractor with hoes or with our hands, scratching at weeds and weed threads in the crop row. In the direct-seeded 6-row crops like spinach or salad mix, we sat down in the wheel tracks and scooted down the rows, cultivating with our hands; in the turnips we did the same thing, while also thinning to 2-inch spacing. There is something wonderful about spending hours upon hours with your hands connected to the earth.

Another instant happiness-creator this week was the many whiffs of tomato leaves as we transplanted the first round of indeterminate tomato plants into the hoop houses. Summer is coming, and I know because the tomato plants are telling me so. Something that will also only get better as the summer comes was the season's first outdoor shower. So far, we've been showering up at the farmhouse, but on Wednesday it seemed warm enough to shower outside. As the air temperature increases and we figure out our water pressure and heater situation, the showers will become exponentially more enjoyable, but so far I'm a fan of the outdoor shower.

In the past week, I've seen countless songbirds, half a dozen wild turkeys, half a dozen deer, a few raccoons, and a porcupine, some at very close range. One week until I'm the co-parent of 25 Freedom Ranger chicks, so we're going to get their brooder and feed all ready this weekend! I see the sixties in the forecast all next week! Life is good and only getting better in the country. 

Thinking about: the tomato leaf smell, weed threads, temperature-dependent buzzing

Eating: pita with homemade garlic hummus and vegetables, bacon and egg sandwiches on sourdough, rigatoni with homemade puttanesca, homebrewed IPA

Reading: Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture, Harvey Ussery's The Small-Scale Poultry Flock