Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hard rain and hope

Last Friday, on Earth Day, we finally got some plants in the ground! The season has officially begun. I'm sure they are happily drinking up all this rain right now, glad to put their roots down into real dirt and not be confined to their plastic greenhouse tray cells. Five beds of broccoli, three beds of cauliflower, and three beds of cabbage. All planted by hand, tenderly but efficiently. We put frost cloth over everything, to keep the flea beetles and cabbage moths off the plants, but also to give them some extra warmth on the colder nights. In a few weeks we'll take it off and cultivate the weeds out.

It was quite a haul to get all those plants in. Six of us working all day. As evening approached, my farmhands left, but I was still going. I knew the rain was coming again that night, and the forecast for the next week was more and more precipitation. So I fought off exhaustion and planted six beds of sugar snap peas. I tilled, marked beds, and pushed the seeder down the rows until it was too dark for me to see the lines anymore. The raindrops were already starting to fall. It was my first twelve hour day and I was beat!

But I'm glad we pushed a bit. We are still very behind, the greenhouse is overflowing with plants ready to go in the field, and we have missed several successions of spinach, greens, beets, and carrots. We need to plow half the farm. All this will happen as soon as we get a window of dry sunny weather! I am trying to conserve my energy, get spare projects done and rest up for the next big planting day. I am done being depressed about the rain. We will just have a late season, plant extra root storage crops to keep distribution going into November. We adapt, we order more potting soil to tide the plants over in the greenhouse.
We were in the greenhouse all day today potting up peppers. Thunder, lightning, torrential rain, hot humidity, we worked through it all. I looked out to see the big raindrops splashing in the mud puddles. The ground is so saturated it just can't take anymore water. Puddles and small lakes sit on the fields where I've never seen them before. Mud Creek is living up to its name, and flows with a strong current, the color of milk chocolate.

Tonight it was just about dusk and I walked outside and noticed how the setting sun was turning the storm clouds pink and orange. Then a large rainbow appeared, right in front of me. Maybe a sign of hope? It can't rain forever.

A mourning dove has built her nest amongst our cultivator parts on a shelf in the shed. This picture shows one egg, but now she has two. We're hoping to see the little ones hatch out... we are careful and quiet when we go near to grab a tool. She remains there motionless looking at you with her sleek body and beady black eyes, until, at the last minute she flutters up with a startling exclamation. But she always comes back to the nest later. Even after that huge windstorm yesterday, she's still there. Dedication.


Craig said...

Great post, Erin. It's one thing for me to understand abstractly how important it is for a farmer to be adaptable, to roll with the punches that nature throws. But hearing your descriptions of what that looks like in real life brings me a much deeper understanding and appreciation of those of you that make it possible for the rest of us to eat. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Your drive is inspirational, your dedication to the farm admirable. I feel fortunate to volunteer at your farm, it feels like a family. I commend you for your positive attitude, the rain will end..it has to. Thank you for being an excellent role model.