February 22, 2016

Working with the Weather

From the Fields - Thaddeus
The week has been warm in the afternoons. Dare I say hot? The weather had been so gorgeous that the sunscreen got pulled out of the bathroom, and the bottle needed to be dusted off before I lathered my face and arms, breathing in a smell that I am really not that fond of.

The forecast was calling for rain in a few days, so the farm bustled with activity. The ground was still wet from previous rain, but not soaking wet -  no mud -  just moisture under the cracked soil surface, but it was firm enough to support a tractor and field crews.

The kale fields were our primary focus. One field made it through the winter with no aphids, and there was enough product to get one more pick. But the kale, like the chirping birds on the farm, knew that spring was near and had started sending up seed heads that would soon blossom into bouquets of tiny, yellow flowers. In the background, a red-tailed hawk circled high above the working crew in hopes that they would scare up a late lunch.

In a field away, a hand crew was taking a chance to rid the baby carrot plants of the competing weeds that had sprouted over the course of the wet spell. Next to that field, our sweet pea flowers and strawberries had a tractor working to cultivate the rows and beds. Not far from that, another tractor equipped with our seeding equipment was sowing the first seeds for the year - bok choy, carrots, beets and gai lan. Everyone was working at a pace that knows this blue-sky weather would be short lived.

The morning didn’t start like the rest. The sky was not blue, but filled with clouds. It was windy. There was a feeling in the air that my wife noted, and we agreed a storm was coming. Late in the afternoon, water droplets started falling from the sky and pounded the roof of my office. Looking outside, you could see each individual droplet and the force with which they collided into earth made me look closely to ensure it was rain and not a hail storm that was making all the racket!

That night we received about half an inch of rain, just enough to make us glad we seeded a bit early, got our harvest done for the week and cleaned up our carrots. The forecast is rain then sun for two days, then rain. Now, this is spring weather  – unpredictable yet welcome.