Farm Week: April 15-19, 2013

Work continued this week in the greenhouse, potting on more tomatoes and peppers, hardening off more greens, and giving our onions a haircut for better growth. We kept on with the transplanting, the tractor practice, and added a few new faces to the farm!

This week's adventure in tractors was the winning combination of bucket-loader and manure spreader, combining all kinds of hand-eye-foot coordination into one package. After a few minutes, I got the hang of the controls for the bucket loader, but I think I would have taken to it more easily if I had played more video games as a child! The scooping motion necessary to move compost from the pile to the back of the spreader takes some practice, and while it got easier by the second load, I was still being a little too timid. Plenty of time to practice! The manure spreader combines the specific skill of backing up and otherwise maneuvering a trailer with the PTO engagement that I learned for the spin spreader and the rototiller. Surprisingly, when I took the wheel to do a three-point turn with the trailer, I found that I had magically become better at it in the past two weeks of non-practice. It was like I had only remembered the skill and forgotten the other 50% of very frustrating non-sucesses. I think I'm going to like tractors.

As I alluded to above, we got some pigs this week! Two tiny little Red Wattles, which I helped named Biscuit and Gravy. They'll fatten up all summer on the farm's scraps and some feed, and then will take their place in the freezer! Right now, though, they're very cute, and the kids are having a great time taming them.

The other thing I have been reflecting on this week is how odd it is to be completely dependent on the radio for all of my news and weather on a daily basis. I've been an avid listener of NPR my whole life, and even had a few jazz radio shows during college. But usually, I've listened in the car or as podcasts while I do chores or run errands. The radio was always a supplement to other forms of media - I could look up the local weather report on the internet when I got up, and turn on the TV for a major news story. But my discovery this week is that when you don't have a TV, internet, or even cell service, you are subject to the schedule and the reporting whims of your local radio stations. I might turn on the radio to get a weather forecast and wait half an hour before I know how many layers to put on. This week especially, when I turned on the radio to non-stop news coverage of the events in Boston, I felt that I was always playing catch-up without the ability to pull up the whole story. It was an exercise in patience, and for the first time I really understand what it's like not to have total control over your information-gathering/media consumption. This week was a peek into that pre-TV, Rockwellian image of a family gathering around the radio for the latest news.

Thinking about: food forests, efficiency, warmer weather, pests large and small

Eating: italian sausage and borlotti beans, brown rice with yellow dal (lentils) and baingan bharta (eggplant); salami finocchiato on San Francisco sourdough

Reading: Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture, Jonathan Safron Foer's Eating Animals