Monday, November 10, 2014

Traffic Stoppers

The past week has been a long one at the farm.  That came to an end tonight at about 8pm when we finally came in and decided we'd done as much as we were going to prior to the deep freeze weather that is now here.  And, yes, that was the reason for this past week being 'long.'  We've been frantically trying to do everything that we were planning on doing over the next three weeks.  At least we had the gift of a down right PLEASANT day today.  With much less wind than predicted and much more sun (until about 2:30pm).

Gravel roads have been covered with combines and tractors pulling gravity boxes full of corn and soybeans.  Then, more recently, farmers have been pulling the anhydrous ammonia and knifing that in.  If you haven't been around when they lift one of those up on the corners and fail to turn off the flow, then you aren't missing anything.  That stuff is absolutely horrible to smell.

In any event, people who live in the country are used to seeing these sights.  On the other hand, they still aren't used to the Genuine Faux Farm.  We've apparently done our share of things the past week (or so) that have slowed vehicles down just to try and figure out what we are up to.

Bucket Brigade

We use a fair amount of water when we clean produce for CSA distributions.  We do our best to collect that water rather than just let it run on the ground.  Admittedly, our system is in need of upgrading.  But, you make do with what you have.
Rosie likes to feel useful.
 In any event, we collect the water in a black tub and use cat litter buckets (that have been cleaned!  c'mon now!) to scoop the water out.  We then haul these buckets around the farm on the yellow cart to the various young bushes and trees we have.  We've been doing this all summer (and summer's prior to this as well).  But, I still notice people slowing down when I drive out with a bunch of cat litter buckets on the trailer.

I sometimes amuse myself with imagined conversations in the passing vehicles.

"Wow, they must have an awful lot of cats in that house!"
"Ya.  Or maybe just one REALLY BIG one!"

As If They Don't Get Enough of Planting

Of course, we spend most of our time working in the fields where we grow vegetables.  And, the local people who drive by often are used to seeing us out in our fields.  But, we do notice that they slow down a little and shake their heads when they see us spending time planting bushes, trees, perennial flowers and then caring for them.

Some new bushes in front of the raised beds need water.

In fact, we sometimes look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves if we need a mental check up.  But, we assure you (and us) that most of these efforts have good reasons.  And, when they don't have a good reason - we'll make one up.  So there.

Hey Wait! Wasn't That Over... There?

Most farms don't have a building that moves once a year in October.  Happily, ours does!  We had some wonderful help this year, with Sean, Erik and Jeff joining Tammy and I in moving the high tunnel.  Usually, we prepare for the move during the day and then move it in the evening when the wind dies down.  That leads to a race against fading light.  This time, Rob prepared to move the building in the morning.  That means we had to race against the possibility of the wind coming up.

Lowering the flaps after the building is successfully moved

We had an 'artificial' deadline as well.  Tammy could only stay until 10 am and she wanted to be involved in moving the building.  So, we had to be certain it got moved by then.  We can proudly report that we did, in fact, have the building moved before Tammy had to leave!
We still notice a few people slowing down trying to figure out what's different now.
 Rototilling in November?

Well, we did need to plant our garlic!  But, there isn't much that will cause passers by to  slow down their passing by than the sight of Rob running the tiller in November.  Apparently.

But, we've also noticed that crawling around in the dirt in November also gets people's attention.  It is never enough to get them to stop and ask if they can help.  But, I suppose it is strange to see someone actually working without an automated tool.  This is especially true in late October and early November.

How did you expect we planted garlic?  We are the garlic planters!  Fear us!

Ok, ok.  You don't have to fear us.  But, you should say thank you when you get garlic.  We crawled so you could have some!

Time Elapse Photography Would Be Interesting Here

 Through most of the growing season, there is plenty of action on the farm.  However, it is the early Spring and late Fall that sees us moving a higher percentage of our equipment and tools on a daily basis.

The net result?  Things can look a bit cluttered.
 As we bring in the Fall harvests, storage space, containers, trailers, carts and everything else are pressed into service.  There are times when things can look a little ridiculous.  But, we usually know what's going on.

For the most part.

Surfing GFF Style

And finally, we've had a few appearances of the 'surfing felines' of GFF.  Mrranda and Sandman are right on schedule.  They (and Cubbie) are increasingly desperate for attention as the weather cools.  Days are shorter and the humans are outside less.  Then, when they are out, they tend to be less willing to stop and give them their full due.

May I help you?
 As a result, they are a bit more insistent with their attempts to "help" the humans as they do work on the farm.

Now, before you begin to think that we ignore these cats, let me assure you that we do give them positive attention.  They are well fed.  They are cared for.  But, when you have over 3000 garlic to plant, you can't spend too much time lavishing attention on a friendly cat (or three).  After a few skritches, we encourage them to get out of the way while we work.  Both Mrranda and Sandman have decided that the next best thing to a skritch is to hop on the shoulders or back of the human and "surf" for a while.

That one got a few people to slow down.

"Hey!  There's one of them cats they need all of that litter for!"
"Ah Yep.  You don't suppose he got some litter stuck in that hoodie of his do you?"
"Dunno.  You don't suppose we should call Animal Control just in case that 'un is actually trying to maul that guy?"
"Naw.  Anyone crawling around in the dirt deserves a cat surfing on his back..."

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