Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Crate Full of Grateful

Thanksgiving is still our favorite holiday and we hope it will always be that way.  We take time to reflect and remember the things and people who got us where we are.  We thought we'd use a "Picture This" approach to show some of the things we are grateful for right now.  The list is opportunistic.  In other words, we selected pictures that we saw that made us feel grateful about something in particular.  There are many, many things that won't show up here and we hope that everyone takes it as intended - an opportunity to give thanks, with the knowledge that we can never be thankful enough.

And we resisted getting a tractor?
A working tractor with a basic set of implements has helped us to be more resilient and reduced the wear and tear on the humans.  We're particularly grateful that we've climbed the learning curve to the point that we're pretty comfortable with using the tools reasonably well. 

The high tunnel did its job in 2013
Putting up the high tunnel in 2010 was an incredible leap for our farm.  It wasn't a small investment and we put it up during our worst crop year.  We now look at it as the turning point for our farm.  We can honestly say that if we had not added it, we might have backed out of farming.  If we had not entirely ceased operations, we would have greatly reduced them.  In 2013, the high tunnel was our 'happy place.'  It's always good to have one of those on the farm.

After 2012's spraying event, we noticed a reduction in the insect diversity on the farm.  But, we started to see a slight rebound in our pollinators later in the season this year.  We hope this continues and are grateful that we still have some of these beneficial insects on our side at the farm.

It's good to be a friend to bees...
Dr Wyche's tomatoes...yum.
 The late Fall was a welcome reward for our persistence this season.  We kept at it despite Spring and early Summer rain issues.  As a result, we had a late, but sufficient crop of tomatoes and other fine vegetables.  We were both relieved and thankful for the respite.

It remains to be seen if Mrranda is also grateful for us.
 The companion animals on the farm provide us with a distraction from the things that are stressing us out.  There's something about a gentle purr that lowers the blood pressure.  There are times, of course, that we may not be feeling as charitable towards these critters.  But, overall, they are a positive.

And then, there was the first decent apple crop from our young trees.  Tammy loves her apples and it was satisfying to be able to provide her with plenty of Fall apples for consumption.

Something we haven't seen much of on the farm.
Cover crops - just a good thing to use.
 We're also pleased that research projects result in our using more tools on the farm that increase our resiliency, improve our soil health and/or identify best practices for our farm.  The research project for cover crops encourages us to use them even more often on our farm.

And then, there are vegetables that are new to us that we've picked up because friends who are also veg growers made recommendations.  Romanesco.  It just seemed like an exotic broccoli...or... cauliflower.  Whatever.  Then, Andy brought some for us to eat at a Gang of Four gathering.  Ok, good stuff.  This year, we managed to get a decent crop out of our trial group.  Looks like they're here to stay.
Romanesco - looks weird, tastes good.
 We managed to pick up a couple of flair boxes at auctions.  Sometimes, we are shocked when something we added to the farm at the beginning of the season gets integrated into farm work so completely by year end.  We're grateful to those who have helped us climb the learning curve that now finds us using these tools passably well.  Jeff has been particularly patient as we stumbled along the path to using larger equipment.
A little bit of flair for the farm.
Drip tape dispensers are indespensible
 This year was a year of trying to execute ideas that have been simmering for some time.  The drip tape dispenser has been on my brain for a while.  I knew what I wanted, but never found the time to do it.  Thankfully, Tyler joined us this year, and he enjoys building and working on things like this.  After some description and discussion, here it is.  This thing worked well for us. 

And, a recent post focused on the people.  That was one of our ways to let everyone know that we are grateful for them.  As always, thank you to everyone who supports us - as customers, friends, family, workers and persons who just wish us well. 
We glove our Farm Share CSA members.
 As always, beautiful things on the farm remind us to reflect on things that are good in the world.  This is why we plant and maintain flower beds.  Positive farmers keep growing good food.  Seems simple and sometimes simple works.

A very smart man helped us build a tool wall.
If we were unable to get help on the farm, we don't know where we would be.  Sometimes, we feel a bit guilty that we were not the ones who accomplished some of the tasks on the farm.  But, that goes away quickly when we ask ourselves "When exactly, would you have been able to do that?"  Then, we just remember to be grateful for the kindnesses shown by others and the honest labor provided by those we hire. 

And finally, we are grateful for the opportunity to visit beautiful places and to have a chance to recharge our batteries away from the farm every so often.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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