Saturday, February 1, 2014

Before and After 2013

Visible progress.  It's something we all value, but for some reason we often miss it.  But, the great thing about digital pictures is the fact that you can take as many as you are able and not worry about the cost of developing film.  As a result, we're able to share some before/after pictures from the farm in 2013.
Before high tunnel move in Fall

After high tunnel move in Fall
The first pairing illustrates the task that is moving the high tunnel - something we do every October.  In many ways, it is easier for us now than it used to be because we know better what to expect.  On the other hand, it does require our full attention once the process is begun.  It's not every day that you move an entire 30 foot by 72 foot building with three people.

We KNOW there's broccoli in here.  Somewhere.

Oh, there it is!
The Williams Tool Bar was one of our capital purchases in 2013.  Above is an exhibit as to how it was made to work for us.  Granted, we should not have let that field get away from us that far.  But, given the wet start, we got to it as soon as we were able.  And, the results were excellent.  We'll take it!

Now you see them.

Now you don't.  Well, you do, but they're not where they were.
The process of planting is one of the most visibly satisfying projects we have on the farm.  At least, this is true when we're putting in transplants.  Planting seeds direct into the ground just don't seem to hold the same appeal.  Ooo!  Look!  An empty seed packet!  And, a field of... um... dirt?

Speaking of dirt...

Dirt in a box

Plants in the dirt in a box
Amazing the things you can do with some old lumber from a building that is no more, a pile of dirt and some lettuce seedlings.  Dirt in a box will never be seen the same way by us ever again.

Scrape that building Elliot!

While you're at it, do some priming.
Slowly, but surely, we're making progress on rehabbing buildings on the farm.  In 2012, we did alot with the Truck Barn.  Last year, we tried to prep the garage for painting.  Now we just have to finish the job(s).  It's just the way things go on a working farm.  You do what you can in the time you have when the weather lets you.  And, when you don't have the time or the weather doesn't let you... you don't do it.  Pretty simple.  Funny, it never feels simple.

May 3 snow is not favored by daffodils

It feels better when the snow is gone and the sun shines!
We got the digital camera out when we had the early May snow.  And, of course, there were a number of nice before and after opportunities there.  Now that we're several months away from this event, we can laugh at it.  We recall laughing at the time this happened as well.  But, I seem to recall it was more of a 'gallows' laugh.  You know that kind of laugh?  The one where you laugh because there isn't anything else you can do.  The snowballs were great though.

North fields with sweet corn stubble

Amish Deer Tongue seedlings in the field.
This was part of the reason for those laughs.  We were already having a difficult time finding dry spots on the farm.  There were a couple of areas over tile where we had sweet corn in 2012.  So, we cleaned out the corn stalks and prepped the soil for lettuce, kale, chard and other seedlings that desperately wanted to go into the ground.  First, the deer and rabbits found some of the seedlings.  So, we spent time putting up barriers.  Then it snowed.  Alas.  But, still, it shows quite a transformation.

High tunnel in early March
Look at the spinach go!
Ok, spinach is done, tomatoes going in at right.

Late August.  Mmmm green beans!
Our "Happy Place" in 2013 was the high tunnel.  Did things go exactly as planned in there?  No.  But, we were able to use in ways that the year required.  And, that's really all that needs to be said.  Perhaps the best thing about it was the fact that we could work in there when everything was so wet in May and June.  There is nothing quite like a farmer that is frustrated with being unable to do any work.  Well, this high tunnel was kept pretty clear of weeds for the first part of the season since that's the only place we could work the soil.

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