For me farm tools are like my toys. I get excited about new equipment; potential time saved and improved farm efficiency. The coolest thing about most of the equipment is that is very simple. Many have been invented by farmers, therefore practical, and are fully adjustable to meet the needs of any farm. And, in the past few years, new inventions for "small" farms (like ours) have come to the market. With the wet spring, and my desire to find a cultivator that works better on heavy clay soils (like ours) brought me to borrow this piece of equipment from Maine Farmland Trust. Although it wasn't a miracle worker, I think it is moving in the right direction for our situation.
Hoes. Oh we have many! And we use them often!! Since it's been so wet, we have not done much weeding. We took a stab at it with these tools on Thursday and boy did we have our work cut out for us! I like weed free fields for many reasons; better airflow around the vegetables, clean fields leave more nutrients for the veggies, harvesting goes much faster and for me and my clutter free personality, it looks nicer. For some reason though crab grass found its way here a couple of years ago and that is mostly what we are battling now. It was like trying to hoe sod....literally.
Our hands. They are rough and cracked and permanently stained. Jean's grand kids are appalled that she can't keep her fingernails polished and Zach complains that my hands are rougher than sandpaper. Yes, we could wear gloves, but most of the times it just isn't practical. They do many tasks on a daily basis and although they may not look very pretty they serve us well : )
It's been a busy, labor intensive week of transplanting, covering transplants, getting irrigation set up harvesting and starting in on weeding. At times I felt a little discouraged at how far behind some things are (like the strawberries) and about how far behind we are on some tasks (like weeding) but then as I walked the farm to make the harvest list for next week, I am excited that some of the veggies are making their appearance earlier than ever before (like beets and broccoli). Every year is different, generally everything works out in the end, and it always feels bountiful.
This Week's Bounty: lettuce, spinach, broccoli, beets, purple kohlrabi, pac choi, rhubarb and asparagus for half shares.
The Farmer's Table: (A sample of what we eat during the week here on the farm.)
please note : ) Chef Zach was away most of the week so it was up to farmer Keena to feed herself. I ate a bit more simply, but still loaded up on greens!
*Lightly sauteed tat soi with 2 eggs fried in lard
*Lisbon House of Pizza -- (plain cheese) I added sauteed kale and a side salad
*chicken wings (from Sunny Side Farm) homemade ranch dip and parsnip fries (so yum!)
*rice with sauteed pork, beets and pac choi
*leftover rice with lightly steamed asparagus and egg and Parmesan
*yogurt (from Winter Hill Farm) peanut butter, lettuce, frozen blue berries and water smoothies