7/7/04 Vol. 1 #17

Whew!  The heat’s on now, it’s usually either feast or famine, we could live in a climate like California where the weather is constant and predictable but where would the challenge be?  I am sometimes surprised by the folks who comment to me about how we seem to have one problem after another or as my sister described the newsletter “the first part is about how hard they work and the second is about the market”.  The newsletter is a stream of consciousness (or unconscious as I do it way too early in the morning) about our life here on the farm.  Our intent is for you to get a snapshot of how a small farm works and why we choose to do this as a living.  With less than one percent of the population being farmers these days it makes it harder for those of you who are not on the land to get a feel for what it takes to produce crops week in and week out.  We don’t want you to think that what we do is all work and no joy, there is nothing else we would rather do for a living (besides the fact that we are unemployable in the outside world at this point!).  In fact there are many times when we look at each other as it simultaneously occurs to us that this is what we actually do for a living!

It is different for farmers because we live where we work and our work is part of everything we see and do.  We could be cabinet makers and have a shop at home but at night you would close the doors and go to the house.  We can’t close the doors because our shop is all around us.  The challenge is what makes it interesting for us, my obsession is in managing the whole system in an elegant way so that, with the least effort possible, we mimic the ecosystem around us, as much as we can, while producing great stuff.  Betsy’s is in the beauty of the plants themselves, she is a plant junky, she wants to see how they grow and what they will produce.  Our real goal is the highest quality of life possible.  Sure at this time of year the work is brutally constant but there are still many rewards like the sunrise this morning, or the sight of the turkeys jogging over to see us or the fun we have with the people who work for us.  Six months off isn’t too bad either!

The second batch of turkeys is looking good and growing fast, and the “big boys” are now nine weeks old.  We did find one this week that had hurt its leg somehow and is in the “hospital ward” eating all of the melon and cull peaches it wants, this is our version of “peel me a grape”.  We may put him back in with the rest today.  The summer cover crops went in this week as well.  When the spring crops come out we follow them with summer soil improving crops like soybeans and millet.  Just like the winter “green manure” crops that we grow we prefer to grow our organic matter and fertilizer in place than spend all of that time and energy hauling it in.  We are planting the last flowers for this year and actually seeding, in the greenhouse, flowers for next spring!

Picture of the Week
The turkeys grazing in Betsy’s recreational gardens
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