Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stuff that happens on the farm

I actually had a positive experience on the reggie weeder this week, though still pretty intense. I sat on back this time, operating the discs and tines rather than driving, but we set it up differently, and more straightforwardly, in my opinion, so that we drive down the center of the bed and one disc gets the weeds on one side of the crops and the other gets the other. Mostly, it meant that there was much less likelihood that we would tear up the crops or run them over with a wheel. The main thing to worry about was throwing too much soil on top of the plants, but a little is good as it smothers a lot of the smaller weeds.

Things are falling into a bit more of a routine now with the shareholders coming most afternoons of the week. In the morning we usually spend our first few hours harvesting. This morning, for instance, we head down to the greens and got mustard greens, arugula, salad turnips, French breakfast radishes and scallions. Then one field over to get some kohlrabi and bok choy. Sometime around mid-morning, we start splitting up into a smaller group or two, some still harvesting, one person washing produce and packing it up in the cooler, and maybe another person or two or three getting onto some other jobs, such as hoe and hand weeding in the broccoli, pulling ups stakes and row cover in the cabbages, or tractor work such as cultivation (weeding) or preparing beds of soil for transplanting. There really are many things that could be going on, but these are representative and frequent choices.

At 11 am one person peels off for the kitchen to cook lunch, usually that’s Eric but he’s on vacation and today was my turn (black beans and rice with spinach, tomatoes (canned), garlic and onion, lettuce salad with radishes, salad turnips, scallions, avocade and lime juice dressing, and steamed rice – we generally eat pretty well and pretty healthily). At some point, we get the shareroom swept, set up and stocked with produce. One of us is always around to help out there, restocking the bins of produce – if it’s busy this can get pretty hectic – answering questions, cleaning up, and just helping out any way you can. My day is Tuesday, and I pretty much stay there all afternoon. I think I got about 15 questions on how to cook the broccoli rabe. There are many ways, but the other night I blanched it for 3 or 4 minutes, cut it up a bit and tossed it with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add some parmesan and a nice pasta and you’ve got dinner.

Apart from the shareroom, once again any number of tasks might be gotten to. We often do a round or two of transplanting in the afternoon (putting seedlings that have been started in the greenhouse into a prepared bed of soil outside). More tractor work, maybe some direct seeding (I did a round of beets, carrots and chard this afternoon before it started to rain), some more weeding (we could spend all of our time weeding and still not keep up if we wanted to), going out and harvesting more stuff that we are running low on (today it was chard), and all sorts of other things.

Okay, gotta go. Good night!


dldeprez said...

Brian, you just seem to be living your present days essentially, vitally....I'm a bit jealous. You do not seek riches or fame. You write down what you do and what you learn without the need for apology. I hope to meet you some day.

Tomorrow I start a week of volunteer work aiding a small outfit called Paddle Quest take 24 at-risk kids to the Boundary Waters to canoe for a week. I will be leading hikes, so I prepped by carefully examining the flora and fauna depicted in your sister's pictures on the Fambly blog from their week up at Sioux Narrows.

I will be thinking of Esme the whole time we are there....

Nikki said...

I love your weeding comment - I think for me that applies to kitchen cleanup!

Nikki said...

ps - farm lunch sounds heavenly! We stayed on a farm in Hawaii years ago and were able to pick things from the fields for meals and I think there's something magical in eating something you picked yourself moments before.

Brian Kenney said...

Dldeprez - thanks for your comment. Good luck on your canoe trip. It sounds great, it's beautiful country, and it's good work to do.

Nikki - I am very glad we have good staff lunches, cause sometimes when I get home I'm too tired for much more than cereal or the most basic of preparations. But on the weekend I usually do some nicer meals.