February 28, 2011

Fire and Rain

February 7th went down in the farm journal as "Blazer Mudslide Disaster Day." You see, Thomas came driving down the driveway at a "very reasonable speed" in a mild rain and pulled in to park. However, the tires locked or the mud gave way, or maybe the Blazer hadn't been driven in a while...but it kept going all the way down the bank and into our very first three trays of transplants for 2011 which we were trying to harden off so we might get them acclimated and into the ground this month. Thomas grabbed plants by the hand full and Lindy re-positioned the stressed out little seedlings that afternoon. Final count: we lost half of the first brussel sprouts, yellow onions, and cauliflower. That was the last time we got measurable rain until the very last day of February. The Blazer wouldn't crank again for 2 weeks so it stayed parked in the front yard as an everyday reminder of the incident. From this we learned never to curse the rain, it might just leave you alone. 

As the weather warmed and the soil dried out, we broke ground, built beds, seeded and successfully germinated sugarsnap peas and spinach, transplanted brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, onions, and kohlrabi. We're still waiting on the beets, carrots, and turnips to poke through the soil. For the better part of February, we kept sprinklers running.

Hoagie and Veronica
So as to stop referring to areas of the field as "you know, where the okra used to be", we gave each set of beds a distinct and honorable name. This month, the Three Sisters and the Morning Star plots were planted. Both of these fields refer to our shared Cherokee heritage though we ignore the possibility of shared geneology.

Every battery on every piece of equipment and almost every vehicle went dead at some point during the month of February leading the more paranoid half of Puzzle Peace Farm to declare a universal electromagnetic shift and thus the beginning of the End. That would be 4 vehicles, 1 Gravely, and 1 John Deere within the matter of two weeks. Well, the dirt bike didn't die, but it did get a flat tire, fell over, broke a rear view mirror and scratched up a car not belonging to either of us.

Oh yes, and Thomas turned 30 on February 20th, much to his dismay.  We had a nice fire and potluck in the 60 degree weather featuring the food of our dear farmer friends and family to celebrate.

Right now, the hens are laying. We are gathering a few more eggs each day. Jersey and Weezy, our alpine goats, are with "kid:", job well done, Manchester!  And Veronica and Hoagie are wallowing and rooting and growing ....their "one bad day" is fast approaching.

The beds of the Morning Star field

Jersey and Wheezy, respectively.

February 23rd went down in the farm journal as "FIRE". We took a lunch break, leaving the field around 12:00. In blessing our food, we gave thanks for such things as our water supply, our opportunity to farm family land, the warm dry weather that allowed us to prep our field and seed for the spring. At 12:15, Thomas's dad, Jim called and screamed into the telephone "THE FIELD IS ON FIRE!!!". Thomas grabbed his fire extinguisher (and his sandwich) and we ran for the truck, speeding for the field. We could see the smoke half a mile away. Apparently the electric fence was rubbing some wire grass the wrong way and, well, we've got a lot of bermuda grass. One little spark and it was up in flames. The fire spread to the well, singeing the electrical wire and knocking out our water supply. Jim was on the tractor tearing up the field, trying to create firelines with the disc harrow. Thomas was guarding the beehive, and a dangerously close stack of flamable railroad ties with the fire extinguisher. Lindy and Seth (Thomas's brother) were stomping it out, burning up their boots. Fire was out by 2:03. Crops safe. All 4 parties involved safe. Bees safe. It was a good day.

We are grateful for the rain, our water supply, the field, the opportunity to farm family land, and now fire extinguishers and tractors.

Puzzle Peace Out,
Thomas and Lindy