A diversified day

Running a farm as diversified as this one means the days are rarely dull or repetitive. While the overall list of things to do and manage can seem daunting at times, the broad skill set required, and the constant seasonal changes, always keeps us interested and engaged. We’d rather be managing a complex and stimulating farm than slogging through the same work environment every day. Here’s a summary of some of the things we did on just one day last week:

– Morning animal chores, including feeding & watering highly pregnant goats getting close to kidding time. In this hot weather, they’re quite ready to be done.

– Morning greenhouse management, including watering & moving trays as needed for the day’s weather. I just finished this structure a week ago, and still haven’t built tables for it yet. We really like the screened-in hardening-off area, and will be writing more about this later.

– After breakfast, one regular worker shows up for the day. For most of the year, we’ll have two 10-hour/week workers and a weekly crew working one morning a week.

– Prepped certain beds for planting, including removing straw & gently scuffle-hoeing the surface.

– Checked on garlic, which looks fantastic. Hope CSA members are ready for a lot of garlic scapes, as we usually sell many of them to Red & Moe (now closing in March).

– Worker & I made progress on orchard fencing, a high-priority project as we expect to receive our next round of fruit trees within a few weeks. Meanwhile Joanna worked on several more rounds of indoor seeding.

– Also checked on the mushroom logs, which we’ve started irrigating due to the warm weather. Not sure how much production we’ll get under these conditions.

– Lunch break

– Harvested spinach, which still tastes great but is suffering from the heat and may bolt (go to seed) soon, probably ruining our hopes of holding it for an April CSA distribution. Also did some strawberry maintenance.

– Two more workers arrive for the afternoon, and we started in on a good heat-of-the-day job (can’t believe I’m writing that in March), cleaning up the packing barn and washing lots of containers, sinks, mopping the floor, and more in preparation for the start of the real harvest season. I’ll be doing some construction work in here such as siding the walk-in cooler with cedar, building shelving, and updating the drainage system on the sinks, before setting up the rest of the season’s infrastructure.

– As the sun angle lowered and temps began dropping again, headed back for the field with the two afternoon workers (morning worker had left during barn cleanup). Worked on setting up pea trellises, experimenting with different ways to support these without too much work or expense. Also worked on cleaning up & prepping several brand-new beds in areas we’ve cleared of trees & brush, involving a good solid hoeing to chop in grass and tree roots. Weeded some areas that really needed it.

– Finished up with workers around 7pm, and did evening rounds of animal chores as dusk fell. Went inside, made dinner, and hit the couch for a bit before shower & bed.

Recent days have included other tasks like chipping cedar mulch, drilling fence-post holes and setting posts, regular indoor/outdoor seeding, burning brush piles & making biochar, weeding, digging fruit tree holes, moving goat fencing to new pasture, separating & managing a set of breeding hens & rooster for the first incubator batch of the year, moving compost piles to needed locations, and so on. Boredom and drudgery are not concepts we easily encounter here.

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