News from the Farm, Monday August 17th

Every year around this time, I feel my mind turning to next season. As it does, my memory offers up this phrase from a book I first read long ago: “If July is a rose full out, August is a rose whose first petal has fallen. Everywhere is a sense of abundance but the abundance of the season completing itself”(1). I wonder – is it a sense of impending completion that inspires these thoughts of next season whilst in the midst of the current season? Or do such thoughts arise from being deep in the work of farming and experiencing compelling, real-time clarity about what could be made different, better, easier next time? Whatever the cause, Julie is thinking about next season also. She says, “This is the time of year when we start thinking about next. I find it funny to watch myself and my farmer friends talk about how we’ll do it next year. I remain eternally grateful that I’m a farmer and can interface with the world this way on a daily basis”.

The highlight of the week was raking the second cut hay with our freshly repaired ground driven rake. Dave Petrovick did a wonderful job fixing it up, replacing more than eighty broken tines. Dan took it out for a spin, only to find that it did such a great job of gathering up the hay that it broke itself in a different (rusted-out) place. Dave came (back) to the rescue and fixed it again, and the crew picked up the rest of the hay quick as lightning. This hay will be saved in the barn, for mulch or animal bedding.

Out in the vegetable fields, many crops are still feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Isaias. Julie is wondering whether some malady was carried in by the storm system, as the effects seem to be from more than just wind. The cucumber and squash continue to suffer, and the beans have “gone to hell”. On the bright side, the kale is finally starting to look up – the benefit of having a diversified farm, one never loses it all. Julie looks forward to resuming our nutritional spray program this week – and the cool weather in this week’s forecast – and is hoping that both will contribute to an upturn in productivity and quality.

In staff news, we’re excited to welcome Cathleen back to the farm after her battle with poison ivy. A new group of WWOOFers is expected on Tuesday – heartening news, as the last four didn’t work out for various reasons. Julie says “we are very grateful for our paid staff and working shareholders, and look forward to getting better at managing this new labor source for the farm”.

Finally, Julie recently paid a visit to Elan Vital Medical Center in Worcester to visit Dr. Karen Way, our site coordinator for the Worcester CSA pickup. Julie highly recommends her work, and says “if you have anything structurally amiss in your body, get in touch with her!”.

(1) from Jean Hersey’s The Shape of a Year.