5/30/07 Vol. 4 #11

OK so it’s officially dry now as the plantains along the drive way are curling up and crinkly.  Also because we are now pumping water every day.  Once the temperatures hit the 90’s and the evaporation rate is something like a quarter inch a day we have to irrigate every day just to keep up.  All spring it has been so cool that, while dry, what water we put out there lasted a long time in the soil, not so anymore.  We began running water out of the creek this week to try and keep the pumping pond full, right now it is about 18 inches down.  So my daily routine is to roll out of bed and walk down and turn on the irrigation.  Then every two hours walk around the farm opening valves on another field or two and closing the valves on the area just watered, checking for leaks or other problems along the way.  This goes on for eight to ten hours until the early afternoon when we turn it off for the day, no use in putting water out there in the heat of the day when it just flies out of the ground almost as fast as you put it out there.  These perambulations allow me to get a good look at everything on the farm as normally there are crops that are left alone for long periods after planting until we need to cultivate or begin harvesting.  It’s not like we just ignore them but we don’t check them every day, like Betsy says “If it’s not on fire…”.

We should begin to be preoccupied with picking Blueberries about now but I still haven’t seen one ripe.  I am worried that with only about a twenty percent crop the birds are going to get them before we do.  We have been noticing a small flock of birds flying out of the bushes every time we approach.  Now we have always lost a few to the birds but never had a group like this consistently working it’s way up and down the rows.  I have heard from the strawberry growers that they are noticing more birds in there patches too.  It could be that with the freeze they lost a lot of their native fruits and other food so are going for the easy pickings in the cultivated fields.  With this lack of berries we are able to get plenty of other work done around the place.  The main planting of tomatoes are waist high and need tying up again, the construction of the pepper trellis was started this week, and general flower weeding and trellising is always needed.  Soon the spring vegetable will all be gone and we will begin the dismantling of the pea trellis and rolling up the irrigation.  Summer cover crops will need to be planted soon too but not without the chance of rain.  Maybe we’ll even have time to run some new water lines, just might need them.

Picture of the Week
A view from the top of the farm
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