In March we wished for a drought. I guess the old saying “be careful what you wish for” holds true. It’s been day after day of hot and dry, hot and dry. And though we’ve heard that Cambridge, Waltham, and Lincoln all flooded over the weekend, we got practically nothing. All week we’ve been listening to thunderclaps and watching big blue clouds crisscrossing around us, as if our field is in a little no-rain bubble.
But everything looks remarkably healthy, considering. It is, after all, a super wet field. We’ve only watered once or twice during this weeks-long drought, which surprises other farmers to no end when we tell them.
I’m starting to think of July as the mid-season doldrums. It has been hot enough to wither farmers, and we’ve been working 60-70 hour weeks now since April. Exhaustion is catching up with me. It’s an odd time of summer – spring crops are done, and the real treasures of deep summer – tomatoes, peppers, eggplant – aren’t quite ready yet. The weeds are still growing everywhere, we’re knee deep in bed-making in our fall field, and we’ve still got our huge fall planting to do, in addition to harvesting. I wouldn’t trade this work for anything, but I’m looking forward to August and September.
We’ve got a new bed-making system which works like a dream. Toss the compost off the truck directly onto the bed, spread with lime, and then incorporate and raise. It is a miracle. Our old system went something like this: fork, dump wheelbarrow loads of compost on the bed, spread out the piles of compost, spread lime, incorporate the compost, raise the bed. Thanks to a working rototiller and some farmer ingenuity, we’ve eliminated all but the last three steps. Thank god. I actually like making beds again!
We’re nearly done with our second chicken coop. We’ll most likely finish and move the birds to the farm – and good, fresh pasture – next week. I’ve been enjoying their company in the evenings, eating dinner on the back steps, listening to their contented clucking and pecking.
Now is the time of the season when I’m starting to think about planning for next season. I’ve started a list of everything I want to do differently, everything I want to reexamine. Everything from transplanting peas and timing our squash successions better, growing PYO flowers, herbs, and more root crops, to changing my morning routine, making time for office work during the day, keeping bees, and doing food preservation workshops.
The great thing about farming is that you get to do everything over again every year. You get to keep tweaking the systems until they become second nature, a whole and natural part of the land, the farm, your life.
Another hot day, with a 90 degree high. On the agenda: seeding beans, planting cabbage, lettuce, cukes and squash, seeding our second-to-last lettuce in the greenhouse, and praying that the 30% chance of scattered showers scatter right on our field.