Essex Farm Note week 22

Essex Farm Note

Week 22, 2012

The landscape has taken on that lush verdant look that means we are in the thick of it now. The farm is buoyed by the waxing force of life, the great flood tide of the sun. The summer solstice is just three weeks away, and everything with roots and leaves is pressing the cellular accelerator. The pastures, the crops and the weeds are growing full tilt. All hands are scrambling to keep up. I won’t even attempt to name all the things that got done this week, because it would take up too much space. But if you see a farmer today, you might want to give him or her a hug. This week, we moved forward as fast as we could to get the field corn in the ground. Last Saturday, Mark and I headed out with six horses on the two bottom plow, plus the little red International tractor. Mark took the tractor and started to disk, and I took the horses and the plow. It was my first time driving six, a configuration that requires two sets of lines, and it was a humbling experience. One set of lines steers the three lead horses, and another the three wheel horses, and when you’re rounding a corner, you want the leaders to turn before the wheelers. I felt like I needed another pair of hands, plus some extra brainspace. Luckily, Chad has spent so many hours plowing on the corn field that we actually named it after him, and most of the horses in the hitch were familiar enough with the routine that they forgave my clumsy communication and did the right thing. By the end of the day I had the hang of it, but I was mentally and physically exhausted. Then, going home, I made a bad corner on the way out of the field, and hooked a downed limb with the forecart. I’m very lucky to have had three good steady horses in the leader position. With the help of Mark and two visitors (because it helps with the humbling to have witnesses to one’s boneheaded mistakes, dontcha know?), we were able to stop and back the horses, disengage the tree, and get everyone home safe and sound.

We narrowly missed another hail storm this week. It would have been ugly, because we’d just gotten 2,000 healthy tomato plants transplanted, and the strawberries are fruiting like mad, and there is nothing like a hail storm to zero both those beautiful things. (The only mortal casualty of the last hail storm was the rhubarb. We won’t have any in the share until next year.) We did get a hard inch of rain that we didn’t need, but we heard reports that communities nearby got anywhere from three to five, so gratitude is in order. Cross your fingers that the coming week is not going to be as wet as predicted, will you?

Lots of love to Asa and Courtney, who are keeping up with the heavy work here while getting their farm in Keeseville up and running, and also moving house. The only thing they’re not doing is sleeping. We are delighted to welcome Gwen Jamison back! She worked with us last summer, graduated from college this spring, and is with us full time now. Don’t forget the 4pm Friday member farm walks. Next week, dairy. And we’re hosting a farm tour on Sat., June 9th.  Details on the events page. That evening, there’s a barn dance at Black Kettle. Chili dinner ($5) starts at 5:30, music at 6:30 (suggested donation $10). And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this plantweedplowseed 22nd week of 2012.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball

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