There are many pieces to the puzzle which constitutes one season of growing, harvesting, and selling. This time of year many of the pieces loom ahead. Right now they are much in the mind.
Looking at the whole puzzle’s picture can be intimidating. It’s made of (too) many individual pieces! How will it all work, and how will it all pan out? Fortunately for us, your CSA support helps greatly to mitigate the potential risks for us. We plunge into the season ahead together!
“Work smarter not harder” seems so intelligent. In my physical world, I find I can only work so smart. Or so hard. We try to do better on both fronts, frankly.
We’re in the process of looking back over last season – while planning ahead for this coming. Your evaluations have given us much to consider.
We’re looking ahead to recruit farm help for 2013. If you have some refernces, please do let me know.
The equation of farm help is really a great trick for us. We need a solid framework of reliable help to confidently approach the physical season. Your volunteer help, especially and most obviously with the Garlic Harvest Party, fills in many of the cracks we find throughout the season. Last year, 2012, we had more formal ocassions than ever for shareholder chipping’s-in. We’re happy to have you out, and have you pitch in whenever and wherever you can!
I’ve done some reading over the last year or so, some of which I’d like to share with you.
The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love. Kristin Kimball. 2010. page 121: …. “Every night, we revised our to-do list, editing it down to bare essentials. I tried to let go of the desire for beautiful and to settle instead for functional. And I gained insight into why working farms look the way they do. There were three construction projects going on at any one time, and anyone who appeared at the farm was put to work.”
…one construction project…
…two construction projects…
…happy to put you all to work!…
Last year was the first year I felt we approached any sort of “beautifying” over plain utility. I still don’t think we approached most people’s ideas of “beautifying” though. I prioritized laying some gravel by hand, mostly, and some by truck too. We needed some traction to get up and out of our greasy muds. Every motored vehicle we’ve got has been mired in those muds.
And then the freezing seasons come and we have icy terrain. The slopes we have, the beautiful up’s and down’s and rolling terrains make for tricky getting around on the farm lanes (and, yes, our driveway). We spent a few years with a few months of a mud run, which was our driveway. heaven forbid you strayed from the drive with anything other than a 4 wheel drive and a tractor ready to pull your slipping self out.
Our tractor has pulled our truck out. And our truck has pulled our tractor out. Whether it was mud or ice, it was steep enough and plenty slippery. Sometimes more than thrice per day! (The novelty of that does wear thin….)
We’ve got good chains for the tractor now. Better and more gravel. And, especially, better and more drainage away from the drive and the farm lanes. We still have very slick, greasy muds, and ice, and beautiful rolling terrains!
We, of course. are not a park. We do not have a park staff. Nor a landscaping crew. We don’t mow much, less is more far, as we’re concerned. I, myself, tend toward plain utility anyhow. When our farm labor is minimal and shoe-string, and our financing pay-as-we-go, we just do what we can do. We do not have a fancy farm. We do have a working farm.
We prioritize the growing of our pure, organic, healthy foods. We prioritize our soils, from which spring these foods for you. That’s our most basic utility.
I’d say we tend toward the high-end of transparency. We try to share openly and honestly, beyond a happy-happy-joy-joy marketing. Each farmer I’ve ever spoken with has told of ocassional sleepless nights, overcome by stresses. I suppose it’s a form of seasonal affective disorder.
This is from Wendell Berry, 2004, That Distant Land. “He was telling the truth; when he had the work ahead of him, there always came a time when he dreaded it. The tobacco harvest always came upon him that way, and followed the same course, at once surprising and familiar, from seeming impossibility to obvious possibility to eventual completion, when almost strangely the great effort would be behind him, and he would become again farsighted in his thoughts, desiring the coming year. He had not changed in this since his boyhood; he had not outgrown his reluctance. Beforehand he could not imagine how he would get the work done, how he would find in his mortal back and arms the strength to do it. And then, once it was begun, the work elaborating itself in the familiar sequence of motions and days, he would again become able to imagine it. He would feel cominig into him each morning the necessary strength and will.”
One step at a time, one day at a time.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
….or, depending on how the Chinese is translated….