Find me in the flood

Find me in the flood

I wake at six o’clock to a steady, soaking rain. Yes. Not yes because I’m excited to be out in the cold and wet all day, slogging around in my mud-caked boots, or because I’m particularly ready to jump out of bed in the pitch darkness of late November. It just sounds good. It sounds right. It sounds like late November should sound in the Willamette Valley, finally.

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Ready for winter

Ready for winter

I’m still blown away by what all can happen on the farm in a week. Rains in the forecast. Blissfully sunny days. An unexpected frost over the weekend. A few sizable volunteer groups. We push, and rearrange projects, and let harvest fall off while we focus on the fields. We woefully sort all the peppers that got zapped by the light freeze, take turns on the tractor to turn in the blackened plants, water the last bits of parched soil to get the moisture right for tilling. We spread manure, chicken pellets, fish meal, or lime over neat mounds or entire sections of flat fields, till it all in, and have to remind ourselves that it’s fall— that these delightfully neat beds ready for planting are not the first of the season, but rather the very last.

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Market zone, part four

Market zone, part four

We got the stand up and running in parts one and two, delivered restaurant orders and picked up CSA totes in part three, and I'm back at the farm.  Out of market zone for just a couple hours.  This week after eating my lunch in the shade, I find the group of interns and Americorps volunteers pulling up the last of the garlic and shallots in the third field.  They look hot and tired, but are in good spirits, and seem excited to take a break for a field walk.  This window on Thursday afternoons is often the best time to do a class or workshop, when we've gotten a lot done for the week and can take a break to dive in to a farming topic.

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Pass-off

Pass-off

David finished the week's vacuum seeding.  Ted led bed prep and transplanting out on the final frontier in the fourth field.  So Delicious employees came to volunteer for the morning and pulled all our greenhouse garlic to cure.  I harvested fennel and green onions with Kiya.  She led zucchini and cucumber harvest after lunch.  Volunteer Louisa cleaned green onions while her two sons spread manure with the crew.  Two youth farmers got up in ladders to harvest buckets of cherries.  We filled the coolers with produce for tomorrow's farm stand, watered the nursery, cleaned up around the wash tubs.  And at the end of an otherwise normal day, Ted passed off the farm to me.

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Market zone, part two

Market zone, part two

In continuation of last weeks's Market Zone Part One post....

I beep the horn a few times as I pull past Michael in the red truck.  Two interns have already left to open the driveway at the hospital, and two youth farmers are following behind Michael to meet us there. A basket flies off the truck as I cruise down Game Farm Road, and I look back in the rearview mirror to see Michael pulling over and running out to grab it.  Got my back.  It's in, and we're off again.

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Field walk

Field walk

For the first time this year, Ted and I walked the fields together.  In my focus on all the seedlings and greenhouses, I'd almost forgotten the acres surrounding them, patiently braced against winter.  There's an old adage that the best fertilizer is a farmer's footprints- or something like that- and it always turns out true.  Even when there's not loads to do out there, making regular observations inevitably turns up new developments, new projects that need attending, new pest or disease or irrigation problems that need solving. 

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How It Is

How It Is

I finally, finally spent a few minutes taking photos on the farm today. The rhubarb is alive again, popping forth crinkled leaves from buxom pink buds on the soil surface.  The biggest leaves are the size of my palm, and I find myself wondering how many 2-inch stalks it would take to make a rhubarb pie.  But no, it deserves to grow.

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