Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rough Start

A quick blog post to celebrate the end of May and beginning of June - if celebrate is exactly the right word.  If I felt like we were caught up on everything, I might be more willing to celebrate, but we are not.  So, I'll just roll with the calendar because there isn't a choice in the matter.

Spring Sprang Sprung?  Not quite.
We had some nice weather in April that got everyone thinking "Spring," then we had this patch in May where things got pretty cold - including a freeze and a couple of frosty nights.   They had us scrambling to move plants to places where they could handle the temperatures.  Tomatoes got put into a high tunnel with a double cover of remay.  Even then, some of them got bit.

Some of our brassica went into this trailer and were covered with what we could find
We were glad we hadn't pushed much into the fields at this point, even though it might have been nice to get a few things seeded.  But, you get done what you get done and there isn't much more we can do.

We pressed some moving blankets and tarps into service on the cold frames.
While we didn't lose many plants, we did lose momentum.  Essentially, a cold snap like that one makes you move things backwards.  Plants that had graduated to various stages of hardening off were backed up one level.  It also means we spent that much of our time and energy just trying to get everything moved and/or protected.  And then moved back to where they belonged after the danger had passed.  That's alot of hours and effort that should have been spent moving forward.

The good news?  We are better prepared each year for events such as this.  We lose fewer things and the process gets more efficient.  And, we know what the next steps need to be - but that always takes time and resources to get there.  Sound familiar?  Just like everyone else we are.  We have ideas as to where we need to go and how to get there - now we need the things we need to get it done.

Mekanikle Ineptitude
Ok, we do NOT claim to be mechanics.  We can do what must be done when it has to be, but we admit we are not the most proficient at it.  That's why we pay others to do certain work.  They have the tools, shop area and expertise to do these things more efficiently than we do.

So one of the JD lawn tractors went in because it wouldn't start (at all).  Then, the tie rod on the other one broke.  So, we have no mower on the farm.  Uh oh.  We got a loaner mower - the belt to the blades stretched and came off - so it's down now.  So, we fixed the tie rod on our tractor ourselves.  It worked until it blew out a tire.  So, had to get that tire off and get a replacement.  Now that tractor is stalled out in the middle of the North fields and won't start again.  Each time we have a small mekanikle viktorie....

If it were just the lawn tractor issue, we wouldn't quite feel like there was some sort of hex working here.  But, it's been email issues and other computer things.  Various other tools have odd breaks or issues that we've had to address as well.  We're used to some things breaking as we start to use them in the Spring - but this has been a bit over the top.

And, who ordered this Spring cold that both of us caught this year?  Not fair!  "Piling on" foul!  Even the Sandman has been fighting an infection of some sort this Spring.
I am annoyed by this situation.  I, the Sandman, have spoken.
Masked Bandits and other Varmints
This is turning into the year of the VARMINT on our farm.  Look, we want to be friendly to nature - but when it gets this unfriendly to us and what we're doing...  We have to find ways to fight back a bit.

Short story is as follows.  We've seen more rabbits, raccoons, woodchuck, deer and other critters than normal this year.  With fewer options to tame areas that tend to get overgrown (dead lawn tractors - see above), these critters are feeling more welcome than usual.  We had some of our kohlrabi (about three trays of them) get nibbled by an unknown critter in our coldframes.  We moved things out of that and an adjacent cold frame until we could try and trap the culprit (never happened).

Things were placed on pallets in the cold frame area and seemed final until, one night the culprits attacked again.  We lost 90% of succession I of broccoli, most of the cauliflower and all of the cabbage.  Only things we had pulled and put on a hayrack were spared.  So, what was left got placed onto additional hayracks until we could address the issue the next day.

So, it only figures that raccoons would then climb onto the hayracks and dig into our plants and throw them around for a bit.  Why not?

Now, we have an electric fence around the area and no further issues have been encountered.  But still - that hurt.  Many of these plants were going to go into the ground the next day or two, so I suppose it could have been worse.  We could have spent the time transplanting into a field and had them all destroyed after that effort (that's me - always looking on the bright side!)

R.I.P. little plants.
Whether Wythards
Too warm, too cold, too dry and then too wet - in that order.  We farm, therefore the weather is always an issue.  'Nuff said.

Looking on the Bright Side
Ok, we will now follow my own advice and look on the bright side - because there have been several.  It can be hard to think about them sometimes when you are feeling a bit put upon by circumstances.  But, they are there, nonetheless.

We do have the onions in, which is no small task.  We have the option of putting in a bit more, but may opt not to do it.  Still, it is nice to have that choice available to us.  they probably have shown the least transplant shock of any season to date because we got the drip tape on them pretty quickly - despite the very dry soils we planted into.

Lettuce in Valhalla is looking great and the next succession in the field is on schedule.  The chard in Valhalla is also looking pretty good, so that is encouraging.  The next set of broccoli is getting closer to transplant stage and are looking good as are the plants in pots and trays that are waiting for ground to dry out enough to put them in.  And, the asparagus has been producing pretty well.  A good weeding of the taters will help them out (they are all in) and the germination has been good - if a little scattered.

And, despite the rain arriving earlier than forecast, we had a good day getting things done on the farm.

Building blocks.  We'll use this one as a solid base and put another good block onto the pile tomorrow.

Happy June everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your input! We appreciate hearing what you have to say.