The crew has been on a roll with planting over an acre and a half of greens and potatoes. We even are trying a couple beds of artichokes this year. Our new employees are settling into their focus on the farm with Parker taking on the daily greenhouse duties such as watering, keeping an eye on any pest outbreaks, and setting traps to catch mice from eating our squash seed. There must be something the way the seed smells because every year we find mice damage to our newly planted seeds. Melissa is focusing on irrigation, livestock, and soil conductivity readings and brix tests to monitor how healthy our plants are out in the field. Andrea’s focus is on livestock and has recently become our go to worker for spreading compost. That entails using our large tractor to scoop from the pile and carefully dump it into our spreader. The spreader drops the compost directly on one of our field beds. Andrea has already composted about 80 beds! The whole crew comes together with everything from planting out in the field, seeding in the greenhouse, washing eggs, moving our mobile coops, to harvesting. There are many facets to our operation and each one of the crew is an important part that keeps everything moving forward. One of the most fulfilling parts of farming is when everyone is working together, helping one another learn, and being there to share in the joys of simple pleasures like harvesting radishes for the first time in Spring.
Challenges have been presented in March and a steady work ethic has proved that anything can be overcome. To clear my mind I breathe, in and out, in a slow rhythm. Then I decide what is the most important task that needs to be done and try to execute. So far the asparagus has popped up, our garlic is looking nice, and we have done a lot of planting. Our first succession is in the field with collards, kale (4 varieties), and swiss chard in the ground. We direct seeded radishes, salad mix, turnips, and carrots. I notice the wild garlic in our forest is almost ready to harvest and we have been producing pea tops in our heated greenhouse. The chickens are in the mobile coops and are scratching and eating the new growth of grass that is finally making a appearance. Our damaged greenhouse has been fixed and our employees are being trained on every aspect of the farm from shoveling scoops of soil to hold down row cover to how to properly fuel all of the machinery on the farm. Lastly I make time to enjoy my family and some time “off”, which will only be a portion of the day on the weekends. Farming takes a lot of sacrifice of time yet I still feel like I have dropped out of the rat race and live a very full life. I love my job, my family, and look forward to everyday. Recently we got 8 lambs. I have never spent anytime around lambs but now I must become an expert. All it takes is self education, surrounding yourself with the right people, intention, and care. My son Van loves to visit the lambs and says “Hi baba! Hi baba!” which fills my heart with joy because he will know plants and animals as he grows. Nurturing the lambs and vegetables we are growing overlaps with nurturing a child. The farm is growing, I am growing, and our family is growing. It does not get much better then this.
Every Spring is filled with challenges. I plan all winter long, trying to improve what was accomplished the previous year, but always run into problems right out of the gate. I post a lot of pictures on Facebook of wonderful looking vegetables and beautiful farm shots to get my community excited about farming. There is also the other side of farming that can be very humbling. I have been working 14 days straight to get all the projects planned completed. My tasks have been varied such as going to Home Depot to pick up supplies 4 times, going to Finkles Hardware to pick up supplies 4 times, going to the lumber yard to pick up supplies twice, picking up a wood stove, figuring out how to install a wood stove, spreading manure in a wet field and getting my tractor stuck, building a 2nd mobile chicken coop, and fixing the plastic on our greenhouse because of a mishap with our new hardening off extension and high winds. I need to do all of this and still focus on farming and seeding in the greenhouse! I have never had to split my brain in so many directions. In like a lion and out like a lamb they say…and that reminds me we are getting 8 lamb in two weeks so I will need to complete our livestock plan, set up a water supply, order minerals, find a trailer, and train our crew on how to take care of them. Spring is challenging.