Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rainy days

It's raining today, as it has done many days out of the last few weeks. I personally am slightly ambivalent on the rain. Truly the farm looks better than it ever has. Everything is flourishing and looking beautiful, and I have to be grateful for that. Yet the rain truly reveals the uncertain life of a farmer- a day one mentally prepared to spend doing some good hard work in the sun could end up being spent sequestered indoors, unshowered and half dressed, watching movies (and writing blog entries) while the rain pours outside. Today started as one of these days, with good hard work in the sweltering sauna-like heat and sun. Yet by 1:30, the hysteria of the television weathermen finally proved to be true and the ominous clouds on the horizon blew in seemingly instantly with the temperature dropping in a matter of minutes and the wind picking up. The foretold hail and tornadoes did not materialize, at least not near St. Peter, but a steady wall of rain took hold and is expected to contiune sporadically throughout the day. Personally I have a deadly fear of hail and what it might do to our farm. Cross your fingers.

The potatoes, formerly resigned to "dead" status by our premature doomsday predictions, are some of the biggest and prettiest plants around. The humidity has been good to the corn as well, and we are well on track to be "knee high" by the fourth of July. 175 marigolds have been added around the perimeter of the fence to repel rascally rabbits and attract helpful insects. Our pest problem seems to be curbed by our noxious cayenne pepper concoction.

Another mark against the rain- it helps our plants but also helps the weeds. Being in the middle of a wide field, and not using pesticides, we have the problem of all sorts of pesky plants blowing through. The past week has seen a huge influx of tiny weeds all over and parts of the garden look like a front lawn. A lesson that we should have mulched sooner, perhaps? Weeding it seems like the most futile task, it feels like weeding the grass from a golf course. But as long as its not raining, we've got nothing but time, so I guess we will hit the Big Hill links hard in the next days.

Eliza sent me this link a while back and it illustrated the importance of what we are doing out in the back of the arb. Professor Martin Lange and a student, Ethan Marxhausen, came to the farm yesterday as part of filming for a documentary on sustainable agriculture. They asked me if I feel like I am part of a "movement" in working on the farm. My fumbling response (hard to come up with answers on the spot) made me think about the global situation and placed the farm in a universal context. I said that I didn't feel part of a "movement" exactly but that small, local, organic farming should be part of a natural planning for the future for humans who want to survive. This story illustrates the unsustainable nature of the way things operate now. People in the (near?) future simply won't be able to eat the way they do now. We can't rely on crops to be flown around the globe for much longer with the deterioration of fossil fuels. On long days out at the farm when there isn't much to say I am struck at how even though our small farm seems locally isolated, it really raises questions and offers a few answers on many issues, from social justice to ecology. Even so far this summer I have learned how our farm literally gets to the "root" (har har) of so many issues. Check out the link for yourself, it's a common story: http://www.truthout.org/052109M?n

And also here are a few pictures of the farm from last week, expect more soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Holy Potatoes!

The first week of official summer on the farm has been full of progress and beautiful new growth. Everything is planted (including eggplant) and almost everything has begun to poke out of the soil surface. 

The tomato transplants look like heaven, especially since we added drip-line. Now it only takes an hour to water the farm (wink). The pepper transplants had a run-in with some pesky cutworms... however, the worms don't seem to like the stanky onion-garlic-cayenne pepper-dish soap potion we sprayed on the plants, so we have averted disaster, thanks to book Barbara.

Tomato plant and drip line (left) and radishes (right)

The fence is up, the shed is fixed, the mural is painted, the compost is spread, and the farm CD mixes are complete. All we need now is a 15 pound bag of trail mix and we're good to go.