The pros and cons of downtime

I am sorry to say that I have left the writing of this Wellness Alamanc article to the very last minute. It’s an effective, although perhaps not very innovative way to generate extra stress in life. I don’t think I could handle the pressure of trying to come up with brand new ways to mismanage my time, thanks very much. Tried and true procrastination works for me every time.

And it’s not like I was working even. In fact I was camping, and as everyone should know, the campsite is no place for a laptop, especially as I neglected to even bring it along. So I came by this situation of being late with my submission very honestly. The reasons are: no computer, busy tending campsite/lake swimming.

The chickens, as they say, have come home to roost and not only do I now need to produce something readable, I also have to get back to work. Neither is really going particularly smoothly, but nor is it a drag.

I left the farm at a stage of growth that I felt was very manageable: the crew had taken care of the carrot weeds, the potatoes had passed their first Seed Potato Inspection, the greenhouse (to my very inexperienced eye) seemed to be orderly, and the family remaining on the farm were agreeing that I could go. Pretty much the perfect conditions for this farmer to take off for a week.

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I have returned to find a verdant jumble of greenery. When the sun peeks from the clouds it gets steamy, buggy and everything grows another inch in ten minutes. Then it rains and everything grows another inch. I feel overwhelmed with things green and growing.

The formerly orderly greenhouse I find most astonishing. When I finally screw up the courage to go further than the doorway, it would surprise me not one bit to find myself tangled up and disoriented in tomato greenery. I am quite new to tomato growing. Perhaps it was unwise to leave them untended for a week. I try not to get too dramatic about the situation in the greenhouse but it’s clearly hard.

The acres of carrots, beets and parsnips look like they have been attended to in my absence. This makes me so happy. No-one wants to feel like weeding carrots, beets and parsnips is more important than having a holiday but in fact if you do want to make some money, then it is. And to have the weeding happen while away on the holiday is a luxury I do not take for granted.

In my opinion, weed management in carrots illustrates very nicely the difference between conventional and organic methods of production, and also explains the price difference. I am no expert on farming with chemicals but I think you would use something called Lorox and it makes all the weeds go away. It would take about 30 minutes to apply to our crop- as opposed to around 100 hours (and counting) of hand-weeding, and 10 hours of tractor assisted cultivation.

Well we don’t use Lorox and that much is obvious, both from a look at our labour bill, and from the price at market. Doesn’t mean I don’t find it amazing. I mean really. No wonder chemical farming took off.

So here I am. At the end of my holiday. At the beginning of the crazy time. I think life is about to imitate greenhouse: a demanding combination of preparation, production and processing followed by transportation, storage and marketing: excitingly predictable yet jumbly, dreadfully exhausting yet satisfying.

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