Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Rain, Nota Waterwheel and Blood Donations

In our last post, we mentioned that we were having some long days on the farm because the puddles had finally dried up and we could work in the fields.  There was additional urgency because the forecast had tropical depression Christobal heading our way and dumping all kinds of moisture on us.

As of 8:30pm Tuesday - we had 2 inches of rain on the farm.  The good (ish) news is that it didn't start to drip here until mid to late morning.  That means we could continue to try to slap more crops into the ground.

There will be winter squash here
 We did not complete our workday on Monday until 10:00 pm - and that wasn't just because we were completing farm chores.  The ground was dry enough to run the rotary harrow and prep area for planting.  It's a good thing the tractor has headlights.  This morning, we got up when the sun work us up and we did morning chores.  Then, we set up the mulch layer and put down some mulch rows.

The plan was to put as much as we could into the ground before things got too wet to work.  To be perfectly clear - that does not mean we quit as soon as a few raindrops hit the ground.  In fact, I believe we worked for two to three hours in a light rain before we called it quits.

The good news?  The farmers can still read the weather correctly because they got themselves picked and out of the field moments before the heavier stuff arrived.  That means there were still a few dry spots on the farmers....  but only a few.  My little toe on each foot, I think.

We did manage to get most of those two long rows planted with butternut squash, tan acorn squash and pumpkins.  We still have about 50 foot to go on each row that you see there.

Sadly, we did not manage the 'after' picture because it was... well, it was raining and we wanted to keep the camera dry.  And, frankly, our hands were so muddy, neither of us wanted to try to run the camera.

Many farms that grow vegetables have a tool called a 'water-wheel' transplanter.  This is a tool that is mounted on the back of a tractor.  It has a big tank of water, a wheel that pushes holes into the ground (or mulch) and two seats where people can sit and push plants into those holes.  As the holes are being punched, water is poured into that hole to help the seedling deal with transplant shock.

The Genuine Faux Farm version of the water-wheel transplanter involves, two humans, watering cans and a tub.

Normally, we would lay out drip tape prior to transplanting, but time was short today and we knew lots of rain was coming, so we didn't want to flood the field prior to the rain.  However, we still needed a little help to push the plants into the holes.  So, we taped a short handled dibble onto an old shovel handle to punch holes and we used watering cans to put water into each hole.  Tammy performed this task admirably.  Rob's job was to take a tub of transplants and get them put into the holes.  There was a little extra effort to make sure roots were covered.

Voila!  The GFF water-without-a-wheel transplanter.

Folks, this is a grand illustration of what it is like to be a bit too big for certain farming approaches and a bit too small to be able to use/acquire a specialized tool.

The Buffalo Gnats are out in force and the wind was fairly calm prior to the rain.  Both of us were wearing "bug baffler" netting over our heads.  The problem is - the darned varmints figured out how to get through around the neckline.  Yes.  It hurts a bit.  No.  I don't like it. 

And, if you ever wondered why we charge what we do for vegetables - I ask you if you would be willing to plant your produce with these critters clamoring for your blood.  Ok, that was uncharitable of me to say.  Nonetheless, it is a reminder that people with all sorts of jobs put up with all sorts of unpleasantness as a part of those jobs.  Some more dramatic than others.  I remind myself of this often and tell myself that I do not intend to be a person who perpetuates 'unpleasantness.'  Rather, I hope to be respectful and supportive.  I wish I could say I always succeed at that.
A favorite iris flower
And so - I end with something I think is wonderful.  This iris made its appearance on the farm today and it just happens to be one of my all-time favorites.  I am not sure there are any German Bearded Iris I do not like - though I bet I could find one if I looked REALLY hard.  But, if I were forced to select only a few varieties to keep, this would be one.

This stalk sits on my desk, just behind the computer as I type. 

My neck itches and burns a bit, but for some reason I forget about that each time I look at the iris.  But, I still find myself wondering when the puddles will recede so we can finish planting.


  1. For perspective for those who have not visited the farm - this row of paper is a bit over 400 feet long. And, further Rob's role in transplanting yesterday - tractors have a "creeper" gear - Rob had to utilize his "crawler" gear - yes, to transplant those squash plants, he CRAWLED about 350 feet x 2 rows. Yep - GFF exercise sessions in action! And, after all that rain - I am happy to report that the squash plants look ok this morning and were not in standing water. Tammy

    1. Crawler gear.... I think we need to do a new GFF Dictionary...


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