Friday, May 10, 2013

Plowing and Planting

Hi all! Farmer Ruth here, with a guest blog post.  This is my first year working at Mud Creek, and I'm   helping Erin run and manage the farm.  Lots has happened around the farm in the past couple of weeks.  Spring has sprung with a vengeance.  The leaves are on the trees, and there are babies everywhere!  A robin has built a nest on top of the cooler and is sitting on it faithfully, despite all the noisy farm workers bustling around her, including tractor traffic and loud speakers right next to her head.  In a rare moment when she was off eating worms, we were able to climb up there and count the eggs.

In the tractor shed, a mourning dove built a nest on old row cover hanging from the ceiling and successfully reared a baby dove, who was awkwardly perched on the fence a couple of days ago.

 Farm worker Anna has lots of pregnant ewes and 2 baby goats at home, and one more baby goat was adopted by farm worker Betsy.  He is still tiny enough that she has to bottle feed him 6 or 7 times a day, so while she's farming, he hangs out at Mud Creek in a pen behind the compost pile, being cute.  His name is Petey (short for Peter Pan.)

And finally, last week, we found an abandoned baby web footed little guy in the cherry field.  We parked him in an unused bathtub for the day, and frantically tried to figure out what he was (a Canada goose), and what to feed him (chick starter and greens).  His name is Charlie.  Or hers.  We're not sure.

Meanwhile we've all been busy getting hundreds of baby transplants in the ground,

running irrigation lines to water them in,

and in some cases, tucking them in with row cover.

As we get early plants in, we are also preparing ground for the later crops.  Most of those fields have been in a cover crop of rye, which is almost ready to head out.  Some of it we plowed under.

This will be our sweet corn field!

In other fields, its gotten a little tall to plow, so it has to be mowed first.  Johnny is braving the storms today to mow everything he can.

And of course, there's plenty of weeding to do.  Here's Josh cultivating the garlic.

We’ve had a nice long spell of sunny, dry weather, which is great for getting things done, but a little rain is essential too, especially for crops we can’t irrigate.  When we saw rain forecast for this week, we decided the potatoes had to go in.  Despite equipment problems and a field 10 miles away, we rallied forces and with a borrowed tractor and a walking plow, we got the furrows prepped, fertilized, and planted before lunch.  

It was perfect timing.  As we worked that afternoon, the ominous clouds rolled in, and we got a small little pour on the commute home.  Right now, they’re getting rained on, and we’re all hoping we have a fantastic potato harvest this year!

Things have been going well on the farm so far, and we have a fantastic crew.  Everyone is working hard, learning fast, feeling enthusiastic, and laughing a lot.  I have a feeling its going to be a great year.  

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