Thursday, April 3, 2008

crop planning

There's these huge piles of wood chips that we asked the local tree trimmers to dump on the farm-- they were taking down trees on the street that were in the way of the wires. And after cleaning out the chicken coop, I was thinking, why not just use wood chips in the coop instead of buying in bags of "wood shavings"? I asked Dave & he said, sure, good idea. So Nick had this great idea that we should throw a few carts of that stuff in before work started at 8am. We didn't know that it would be 16 degrees out that morning. But work with a pitchfork warms you up, especially after yummy hot oatmeal. And the chickens were indeed happy.

This morning we all took a look at the Excel print-outs of crops grown in all the fields over the last two years, and the planting schedule (that tells us how many rows of broccoli we want to plant, etc), and try to match them up. It's a great big living puzzle. We consider all the plant families and try to make the rotations work. It's pretty complicated, but I guess it's something you get better at.

More tool cleaning! We love the smell of linseed oil. We cleanup the two Planet Jr.'s, the push seeders we will use to hand-seed everything. They are old & rusty but still working & well loved!
We take the tractors out, and they all start, after a little tinkering! Tomorrow we'll tune them up, new oil, filters, grease. Nick takes his first ride ever on a tractor, around the farm with a big grin on his face! Dave's got 3 tractors right now (a new one is on its way!)-- a big blue New Holland with a front loader attachment, and these two little red Cubs. International Harvesters. They were made in the late 1940's and are still kicking! "They don't make em like they used to" -- the engine has probably less horsepower than your average modern-day riding lawnmower, but they can get most light work on the farm done, especially intricate cultivation between crops.

After checking out the soil in the field we deem worthy for peas this year, we decide not to plant peas today, let's wait till warmer weather & the ground is drier. The test is to pick up a handful of dirt from below the surface, squeeze it in your palm so it forms a ball, then drop it on the ground from a height of a few feet. If it stays together in a ball, it's too wet. If it totally crumbles apart, it's probably fine for planting in.

1 comment:

les said...

yay for the farmer erin blog - it kind of takes me back - my grandpa has an international on his farm from the same era that I used to drive around! much love, matt