I think this entry will consist mainly of pictures and a loosely connected, rather random series of thoughts and seasonal observations. It’s the type of thing from which good stories are grown. For now, we’ll have to make do with the planting of the seed.
The season has started with a bang. The mixed vegetable growers are weeks ahead of the game, which has its good and bad aspects. For example, the tomato starts are huge and gangly and really should be planted out but who could say with confidence that there won’t be another killer frost? Bit of a dodgy bet to plant them out, but the thought of being at market with cherry tomato pints is a compelling vision.
Speaking for myself, I am open to such temptation and have duly fallen so all the starts are planted. It could go terribly wrong. I believe this to be a case of Spring Overreach Syndrome (SOS). Found very near the front of the Compendium of Common Farming Mistakes (sub-title: Try not to make them all in one year), the most severe symptoms occur later on in the season when the afflicted must cope with the cascading and compounding consequences of her fall (in this case: frost damage and loss, weeding, trellising, watering, mulching, pruning, picking and processing the bounty). While the details of the disorder are certainly disturbing, what’s far more alarming is the annual recurrence of SOS. There does not appear to be a cure.
The potatoes on the other hand we do not try to plant too early because there just isn’t any point. They are not as reactionary as other plants. It would take more than a week or two of unseasonably warm weather in mid-April to nudge them into advancing before they are good and ready. We might be tempted to plant them early, but they will not be tempted to grow early. So while we do have some acres in, we are in no hurry to finish and feel free to indulge in minute planter disc adjustments, wide-ranging theoretical farming discussions and early lunch.
That’s what dad and I do when we’re working together, as we’ve been doing since 2000. Yes, we have a good relationship. No, it has not always been easy. What’s changed the most is that we listen to one another now, having been surprised on many occasions when the other turns out to have been right about something.
One of the things I always said we needed was a cutting torch. Dad didn’t agree but I got one anyways and it is one of the best tools on the farm. He and I both use it all the time- mostly to loosen frozen bolts.
One thing he wanted was to keep the old, blue tractor running. I thought it was a total waste of time as it can hardly pull an empty wagon but he insisted. Last winter he rebuilt it and now we have this hearty little machine to pull the potato planter, which frees up the other tractors for other really important jobs.
I think I have also learned when to stop talking.