News from the Farm | May 19, 2014

May Madness

I woke up this morning with a bee in my bonnet.  What I mean is, I have a lot of ‘must do today items’ on my brain.  It is that time of year, when I spend my dream sleep thinking about loose ends.  This begins to describe the tempo of May, as I pen this note on a torn page of loose leaf paper while simultaneously trying to coordinate more than a couple dozen concurrent activities.  As I write, the farm moves, or should I say swirls, about me, moving in divergent directions at a pace that demands one to ‘walk fast and look nervous.‘   It is not out of fear that we appear frantic or nervous but out of demand.  Nature has set the pace.  

The most wondrous part of farming for me is that at certain times of the year the farm takes on a life entirely of its own.  It is in those times when it is no longer one’s creation but a teeming, feeding, breeding organism that lives independent of its stewards, at times leaving them in its wake.  At this time we merely try to keep it afloat and within bounds.   Or maybe we are just hanging on and enjoying the ride.  This week feels like a little bit of both.  

With a lack of eloquence or word smithing, my May mornings begin with concise, abbreviated lists to outline needs and priorities for the day’s supervision.  Here is an excerpt from today’s list:

  • finish shanking fertilizer and drip tape in third tomato block;
  • transplant 50,000 tomatoes, connect drip manifold, start water;
  • put next trellis string on first cherry tomatoes;
  • cultivate second block of tomatoes, put out stakes, turn on water tonight;
  • mow swale field, crops double at top of the road, wheat in finished beds;
  • mow down aphid ridden cole crops;
  • mow new fig block;
  • finish thinning peaches!!! Move on to thinning asian pears and apples;
  • thin grapes, pull leaves and finish spreading compost;
  • mow and start water in olives;
  • set up back flush line in Lowry filter;
  • fertigate with fish and gypsum in Lowry’s field;
  • spray garlic clove oil on basil for cucumber beetles;
  • fertigate strawberries;
  • fix hydrolic top link for transplant sled;
  • lift garlic at road 45;
  • finish weeding parsley, eggplant and chiles;
  • assess asparagus timeline: weeds, quality, etc.;
  • sell potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes!;
  • start picking first Queen Crest peaches;
  • Check moisture on new transplants on Terril’s field;
  • Check last field of lettuce for tip burn and bottom rot;
  • bulk harvest green cabbage in top field;
  • order twine for tomato trellis;
  • return and exchange drip tape in town;
  • take Tundra in for window repair.

This is only my list – Paul, Dru, Amon, Jenna, Hallie, Janine, Pancho and all the crew leaders have lists and priorities of their own. (Did I mention flowers? Alas, this May’s number one crop may be finally slowing down a wee bit).  The fabulous part of successful group effort is the beauty of synchronicity and the deep satisfaction of forward movement.  The month of May leaves little time for contemplation as we are in the ‘thick of it.’ But, with the buzz of incessant activity, we ready ourselves for the real work and bounty of summer that lies ahead.  Enjoy all your meals!

~ Andrew Brait