Thursday, April 30, 2015

Look in the Mirror 2010 - Ten Year Tenure

We officially celebrate our 10th Anniversary as the Genuine Faux Farm this Spring.  We started GFF in May of 2005 (we have lived on the farm since 2004).  So, last year was our 10th year of offering a CSA program.  But, we figure we can continue to celebrate 10 years for a little bit yet.

As a part of this celebration, we're going to do some "retrospective" pieces.  For those that have been with us for some time, you might enjoy seeing some of this to remind us all how far we've come.  If you have not been with us all that long, you get the benefit of seeing where we've been without having to go through the growing pains with us!

For those who have interest, you may notice links in this post to other blog posts from 2010.  They actually give a pretty good feeling for 2010, so feel free to take them and explore.  If you want to see our "Top Ten" posts for 2010, you can take that link. They tend towards the humorous in most cases - so if you need a laugh, there you go!

Durnik the tractor is a hit for more than the farmers.
2010 - That Happened Too?
Rain, rain and more rain.  This is the year that could have been the end of GFF, but instead it was the beginning of our re invention.  Our first high tunnel went up in early July and the first harvests for the building occurred that fall.  Durnik the tractor joined our farm, we held our first extended CSA Fall, added the portable feed bin and made a room for the turkeys in the newly dubbed "Poultry Pavilion."  Oddly enough, we often forget that the year started with an emergency new furnace and a roof on the back porch/addition of the farm house.  The latter was planned, of course, which is why the former happened immediately after.

Many hands still meant alot of work!
In the process of preparing this blog post, I took a look at some of our summary posts for 2010 on our blog.  In particular, the Top Ten Events of 2010 reminded me of some things that I had forgotten happened that year.  It's not that they were small things, in and of themselves.  It's more the fact that there were many significant things that stacked up that year.  For example, I hadn't remembered that this was the first season we had the wonderful feed bin constructed by Jeff Sage (the Band Saw Man).  And, I didn't quite equate that year with the year a couple of our feline farm managers left us to go to the great hunting grounds and that Fall we added two new indoor farm managers.  It is really no wonder that we were exhausted by the time we hit the end of the year.

Something we hope to never see again.
The weather was the biggest issue for us in 2010.  It began to rain and it didn't stop.  We were able to get most things in the ground successfully in May.  But, heavy rains in June through mid-July caused many of our crops to.. well.. essentially drown.  If you look at the picture above, you'll see browning leaves on brassica plants on July 5.  And, of course, grasses loved the water, so we had a big weed problem we couldn't address because things were so wet.  We weren't the only diversified, small farm that was struggling.  It was just a tough year.  And, if we had not gone through with the investment of the high tunnel - despite the stress that caused - we might have exited the profession entirely once we had met our CSA obligations.

Peppers, not so good.  Cucumbers?  They loved it.
Some crops liked the rains.  In most of those cases, it was also because they were in fields with better drainage.  Looking back at our top ten veg varieties for 2010, we find that there really were some decent crops that year.  We actually put together a short picture-based review in October as part of our recovery therapy.  But, there were plenty of days like this one that really drug us down.  And, the radar frequently featured things like this.

Our first crop in the high tunnel.
 At the end of day (or year), we realized that we had fought through a very difficult year and we actually had some positive things to build on.  We even learned that leaning against the metal endwalls of the high tunnel could have consequences!  Every year since has had its difficulties, but the experiences of 2010, along with the added tools in our tool box that the difficult year pushed us to acquire, have made us a much more resilient farm.

Here's looking forward to a prosperous and enjoyable 2015 season.  We don't expect perfection and we do expect difficulties.  But, we know we'll do our best to address those difficulties and use our skills and tools towards what should be a great year!

Our second crop in the high tunnel (November)

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