Monday, August 15, 2011

Summertime

We really are in the thick of it. We've started using bushel baskets to harvest our cucumbers and squash into, because our harvest exceeds the amount of grey bins we own!
Tomatoes are ripening-- including the cherry tomatoes, which will start producing by the thousands really really soon.
The lettuce has been soaking up the rain, and we've enjoyed the break of not irrigating for a while.
The flower garden is OUT OF CONTROL. Pick a bouquet for a friend! Bring some to work! A good chance to spread the word about Mud Creek Farm-- we'll be starting sign-up for 2012 memberships in a month :)
You might notice that Luke and Erin are not around this week-- we're up in Vermont, on Lake Champlain, at Luke's family reunion! This is a rare chance for us to leave the farm, and give the interns a chance at managing harvest. We have complete trust that they will do a great job. Let them know what you think of everything this week, your words of appreciation are sure to go far. We hope they will use this week of managing as a learning experience to help prepare them for their future farms!
On the way to Vermont, we stopped by the NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Summer Conference, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Instead of attending workshops, I spent the weekend at farm visits, and learning about using draft horses to do fieldwork instead of tractors!
It was a beautiful sight to see. These photos are from Natural Roots CSA Farm -- they have about 300 members, 5 giant Belgians, and no weeds at all.
We were totally impressed by their set-up.
Here, the farmer cultivates a row of tiny spinach seedlings.
Now they are planting broccoli with a horse-drawn transplanter.
We dream of one day having horses on our farm. Eli, our intern who also works at Small World Bakery, has two seasons under his belt apprenticing at horse-powered farms. He knows the basics of harnessing and driving a team, and feels just about ready to take care of his own. We hope he sticks around the area, and helps us bring horses into our operation
While horses might seem less efficient and require more time, land, and patience, in the long run we think they might be a very sustainable solution. With the price of gas and diesel so high, they might actually be cheaper. And then there is the quality of life consideration. Working with animals is highly rewarding-- who doesn't love horses?

And the unpleasantness of working with tractors (the smell of exhaust, the noise, the gas and oil) is out of the picture when you're working with horses. Any task becomes quiet, peaceful work-- no earplugs required. I am smitten.

Taking our farm to the next level (horse power) will take a bit of rearranging. We have lots to think about. First order: finding a land base with enough pasture and hay fields to support animals, and getting a barn. If anyone has thoughts about this, let me know!

2 comments:

Rabbit said...

Thanks for the photos and yet another dose of inspiration. Agriculture and community are stronger than ever, the good fight, yes the good fight.

Amish Stories said...

A very nice blog and thought id say hello. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa.