July 16, 2011

These Days

To help you all understand how much love and pain goes into growing your food, we thought we'd share a typical Puzzle Peace Farm day:

After hitting the alarm snooze on the phone for the 4th time, roll out of bed at around 6:30 with guilt that we are 30 minutes behind for the day, putting our overall work deficit at around a month and a half.  Feed and water the pigs, goats, chickens. Milk the mamma’s.  Eat a quick breakfast, most often oatmeal with fresh milk, but hopefully eggs with a mix of fresh veg’s and goat cheese on this day. 

Arrive at the farm around 7:30, providing the truck hasn’t had another episode of the won’t cranks. Summertime daily harvest time!… cukes, zukes, squash, beans(every other day along with…), okra and tomatoes. Get them back to the wash room before it gets too hot. Wash them and put them away, hopefully finding enough room in the refrigerator.  If not, packing them away in a cooler with ice bottles while pining for that walk in cooler we wanted to have operational a month and a half ago.

It’s pushing ten o’clock now. No rain in the forecast? Better start watering. This brings on another bout of wishful thinking. If only we had money to buy that drip tape.  Instead we drag soaker hoses and rainbow waterers around that we managed to buy in ignorance way back when we had money, before we started farming. They get the same job done as drip tape but are much more time and labor intensive. This process repeats throughout the day.

Between watering we balance a steady stream of priorities with lists made from lists from previous days or weeks past. Often what seemed to be “do or die” yesterday but didn’t get done becomes less important today for some reason beyond my comprehension. Even more common is the side tracking. For example… While planting that cover crop in the pathways of the asparagus we realize that wiregrass (aka Bermuda Grass if you desire it’s presence) has crept in. This aggressive invader must be dealt with ASAP to prevent a complete and overwhelming takeover in a matter of days. An hour or so later the list becomes the priority again.

Other typical side tracks and items on the list:  weeding; pulling off rotten tomatoes while pruning; injecting BT (Bacillus Thurengensis, a natural bacteria that infects and kills many larval pests) into the base of infected squash to kill the vine borer that has all but killed a large majority of our plants (hopefully its not too late); moving goats, pigs and chickens to fresh ground; hoeing weeds; prepping and seeding beds; working on our equipment (tractors, small machines, and /or vehicles); trellising cucumbers and tomatoes; turning under cover crops; adding a super to the bees; working on infrastructure (plumbing, sheds, walk in cooler, animal shelters…); mulching, pathways and individual plants; and of course weed control, among others I have forgotten at the moment.

Lunch/break time is usually taken around 1:30 or 2, after everyone has become delirious from the heat. Usually a dip into the cool waters of the creek behind the house is enough to revive our spirits and appetites. Lately we’ve been eating fresh vegetable sandwiches for lunch.  There are so many options that it doesn’t get old; cucumbers, squashes, tomatoes, onions, kim-chee, pickles, radishes, greens, carrots, fresh goat cheese… all or parts put on fresh bread we’ve traded for at market or a local bakery. Oh, and mayonnaise… ‘tis a crime to forget the mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

After we’re nice and stuffed and hot (we refrain from turning on our A/C to conserve energy.  Proud to say we haven’t used it and don’t plan to use it this year. It helps that we have shade trees around us) it’s either a short siesta, house work, yard work, uptown for errands, or a combination of the sort. This is also an opportunity for recreation… blackberry picking, mushroom hunting, more swimming… I personally find it hard not to indulge in a midday nap for 30 minutes to an hour.   

At around 4 it’s back out to the field and on with the list. It is still miserably hot but gradually getting cooler and more bearable. By 6 o’clock I’m ready to work all night. I had rather work hard in the evening than early in the morning. With Lindy and the interns it’s just the opposite. So, unless we have sweet potatoes or some other transplants to go in the ground, they usually take off at around 8.  Not to say they are done. I usually continue working until it’s difficult to distinguish between cultivars and weeds, then it’s back home to dine on the fine meal lovingly prepared. Then we clean up our mess, make lists, relax for a few minutes, and prepare for bed. It’s now well after 10 and we’re all worn out. Can’t wait to wake up late tomorrow!

Please, come join us…


1 comment:

  1. Funny how life is. We go by Puzzle Piece Farms. One of our sons has autism. We had cattle, goats, hogs, and chickens until last year. We moved out of state for a year to care for an ill family member. But we're back and putting things back together. Mending fences, tilling soil, fixing pens ect. Next year we'll be in full operation again. We sell to at the local coop and pretty much sustain ourselves (wife, me, 5 kids, and 4 dogs) from our own land. Hope to power our barn with solar in the next few years and use a wind mill from our well to water everything.

    Nice to meet you.