Essex Farm Note
This mild, dry weather is the stuff farmers dream of in the spring. The new field, Super Joy, is 95% plowed, and the soil there is so deliciously friable, now that it’s drained, that we can skip the usual steps of secondary tillage – disk, harrow, shape up beds – and fit it out for planting with one elegant pass. This saves time, and also compaction. Courtney finished most of the field yesterday, with four horses abreast, on a new-to-us tool called the pulver-mulcher. It consists of a spiky roller, followed by a gang of spring tooth harrows, followed by another spiky roller, with a seat for the teamster on top. Mark and I walked out to see it work in the afternoon, and Mark, in a moment of happy exuberance, tackled me, so that I sprawled on the field’s soft surface. The April sun had warmed it and there was there was some spring to the subsoil. It was so comfortable to lie on that I just stayed there, smelling the earth and looking up at the sky. Courtney whoaed the horses and said, “That’s the king-est bed ever. Everyone can be diagonal.” It was truly as good as a mattress, five acres wide.
I’m sorry to report that the rats are back. Last time we had a rat battle, it was when we’d first moved here, and the rats had multiplied unchecked in the granary. This time, they garrisoned in the compost pile. They must have spent the winter in there, breeding reinforcements, because when Mark turned the pile a few weeks ago, they scurried out in all directions. Asa shot one with the .22, Cory killed one with a shovel, and when another one invaded our house, Mark trapped it in the bathroom and squashed it between a plunger and one of Jane’s blocks. Between our brave men and the psychotic cat, Penelope, I think we’re gaining the upper hand.
Welcome Amy O’Brien to the full time staff. She’s in the office now, taking care of business, and she will be one of the faces you’ll get to know well, since she’s going to be helping at distribution. Speaking of distro, thanks to Mark Bimonte for getting the dairy and egg trailer refrigerated. It’s a huge improvement over the multiple refrigerators, isn’t it? Now we’re working on a walk-in box freezer.
In short news, we have three batches of chicks brooding in the greenhouse. The oldest ones are in the ugly awkward phase, while the little ones are cute little puffballs. The breeding sows are on pasture now, due to farrow in the next six weeks. The boar is finished with his work, and though he is a lovely boar, we haven’t found anyone who wants his services. Please remember to bring back your jars! We had to open 50 new half gallons today. There is fresh soap in the share, thanks to Barbara. We are on a search for more draft horses and have found the price of teams has skyrocketed since the new year, because of increased demand. Hooray for the latter part at least. We are about to start a marketing push to recruit new members but your word of mouth is the most valuable tool we have, so if you love the share please spread the word. Onions are hardening off, tomatoes are up in the greenhouse, and when Lindsay hoed the asparagus she found the tips are poised just under the surface. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this king-est 15th week of 2012.