Sunday, October 17, 2010

Last week on the farm

On a cold February day, four interns checked-in for the ten month internship, one checked-out in July, another in August and now I am leaving mid-October. I didn't quite make it to the end, but I felt I had reached a good stopping point. School is starting to take up more of my time and the garden less and less. But that doesn't mean my last week was a walk in the park, in fact it was one of the more physically active weeks I've had in a while.

On Tuesday we put the rest of the remaining rock dust (to increase soil mineral content) in the garden. The rock dust is conveniently packaged in a 2000lb bag, fortunately half was used already. We had to shovel the rock dust into the bucket of the Bobcat, dump the load by garden, and then scoop up the rock dust and lightly sprinkle it on the rows. The technique I use is to slightly rotate the handle up and down so I can control how much amendment I put down. It didn't take long before my forearm was feeling the burn.

Later that day I spent three hours hoeing the muddy ground, after four days of sunshine the ground still stubbornly refuses to dry, trying to incorporate the rock dust into the soil. It is a challenge to hoe wet soil as opposed to dry soil because it sticks and there's more friction. It was pretty slow going and there were many glances at my cheap neon green watch that afternoon.

Dayna (the last surviving intern for 2010) and me

Wednesday after harvesting for CSA we sowed winter rye, a cover crop, in the same garden we put down the soil amendments. Winter rye puts down roots in the fall but really only starts growing in spring. When it's tilled in the spring it adds a lot of green matter to the soil, plus it prevents soil erosion in the winter.

Thursday we stepped up our sowing big-time. The five-acre area we had been discing these past few weeks was ready to be cover cropped. We had 500lbs worth of winter rye, 100lbs per acre. No fancy equipment was used to sow our seeds. We are old-school. Two kitty litter boxes were filled with seed and Dave and I split an acre into two halves and proceeded to sow our seed. It took us three hours to cover five-acres and we probably walked 6miles up and down the field.

Friday morning was a little sad because it was my last day least for 2010. The cattle adjacent to the field were in a frenzy. They sounded like a bunch of 12 years old handed brass instruments. I thought they were vocalizing what everyone on the farm was thinking, "how we will we ever go on without Krystal?" But alas, that was only my imagination. The cattle were really just upset because one of them broke out and was freely grazing above our garden (it was quickly put back in with the herd.)

My going away gift, lots of yummy squash!

When I was asked how I felt about it being my last week I didn't have this feeling of finality. I knew I would be back, I was already planning to come back in November to help process the turkeys and build the high tunnel. Plus, I can volunteer at anytime. So I really don't feel like I am leaving. After eight and half months it will be hard to imagine not being on the farm five, sometimes six, days a week. We'll see how I feel when this actually settles in...stay tuned for a life-after-the farm analysis.

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