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The Transition Period: From One Crop Year to the Next

29 Aug

Being a diversified farm, like many in the Willamette Valley, usually means that this time of year you’re in a fairly steady pace of transition.

It’s the clash between crop year 2018 and 2019 which often looks like a lot of open dirt fields, a lot of dust, and a few crops left to pickup.

We have crops that have been harvested, fields that have been worked down ready to be planted, crops that are just starting to mature and some that we won’t even look at harvesting for another month or more.

This field is ready to be planted to tall fescue. Tall fescue is perennial so we will hopefully leave this field in for many years, meaning this will be the last time we have to work the ground and have open soil here for years to come.

It’s one of the reasons that I refer to this “season” of farming as triage. Everyday is different. Everyday is a look at the weather, check the fields, look at the soil, make a plan kind of day. Rarely is there an autopilot project, which makes management this time of year tiring and stressful.

Fields for grass seed planting this fall need a seed bed that is smooth as a dance floor. We have worked this soil about 7 times to get the field worked down to be ready to plant. There was also a ton of organic matter from the clover last year that has been worked into the top soil.

Today Matt and I are out in the orchards picking up drip tube from our hazelnut trees. These will be harvested around the end of September through October. The water on the squash has also been turned off and now we wait for the drying down to begin before they come get the seeds. And finally radish seed just got harvested yesterday and will head to the cleaner today.

Then more ground work and tractor time, more planting and prepping to start this whole crazy life of farming again for another year! This year has proven so far to be pretty good, hoping that trend continues as we close the books on 2018.

Meet Miss Mildred Clara Frketich

4 Apr

We are pleased to introduce Mildred “Millie” Clara Frketich.

She is awesome, her brothers are absolutely in love and Matt and I are totally exhausted…oh yes, and also in love with this new addition to our crazy Frk house!  She got here on March 22, 2018.  Weighing 7 lbs, 9 oz and 19 inches long.

That says “Frketich GIRL” on her wristband….gosh I still can’t believe we had a girl!!!

Farming has been chugging along like crazy.  The weather cooperated and rained the whole time we were getting to know Millie those first few days in the hospital.  Then we headed home, the sun came out, and farming ramped right back up.

I’ve been home recovering from a C-section, while Matt (and many days Hoot) and the rest of our very dedicated workers started to work ground, plant, fertilize and spray all the crops.  It’s been a hectic start to Millie’s life but I “think” I wouldn’t have it any other way…or maybe I just don’t know any better! I’ve had a village of helpers here at the house.  Jobs as simple as picking up Auggie, who doesn’t quite understand why mama has such an “ouchie wah wah”, making us dinners, holding Millie so I can shower, and wrestling with the boys because Mom really has become totally boring since having a baby!  I’ll be back boys don’t you worry!!!

So all is well here on the farm, hectic, totally insane and some days really really freaking hard to have three kids under four.   The word “teamwork” comes up a lot and we are continually thankful for all the help!!

For those who wonder where we got the name, Mildred “Millie” is after my great Aunt Millie on my mom’s side of the family.  She was one feisty, loving, incredible lady.  She passed away before meeting Hoot our oldest son, but I was able to let her know that if we did have a girl during this whole adventure, she would have to be named Millie.  She was so excited and I just know she’s smiling down on us right now.  The middle name, Clara, is after my grandma on my dad’s side.  A dedicated farm wife, wonderful mom, and loving grandma to all us kids.  She died when I was fairly young, but left s all with a lifetime of memories that we talk about often.  So our little Mildred Clara has some big shoes to fill, but I have no doubt she will do just that in her own time.

So with that we would like to welcome little Miss Millie, seems as though the world has been waiting for you!

Crimson Clover Field That Just Can’t Win

20 Feb

I feel like every year we have “that field”.  The one that just can’t get a break.  It might be the weather, the timing of planting, or any number of factors…but no matter what it just can’t win.

This year it’s one of our crimson clover fields.  This darn field has been through it all and while I’m over here praying it actually really does make it through it all, here’s what happened.

Fall Challenge:
Matt heads down to go look at the crimson field down by the river and my phone rings, “Holy…(um, we will use the word cow here) cow, the field is disappearing and fast!”  It’s early fall and it’s been warm, and the slugs have been feasting.  In very short order slugs from a neighboring field moved in with such vigor that they literally ate a 50′ strip down the entire length of the field!  This area completely disappeared within just a few days time!

Early Winter Challenge:
Matt heads down to go look at the crimson field down by the river and my phone rings, “Holy cow, you should see the ruts in our field, someone went mudding all over and it did a number!”  Crop damage is hard to tell at this point, ruts will be the largest factor come harvest when we are trying to drive through and over them.  This all makes me want to scream and put someone in that darn tractor for the hours, and hours, and hours it took to get that field perfectly flat and planted.  So frustrating!

Late Winter Challenge:
Matt heads down to go look at the crimson field down by the river and my phone rings, “Holy cow, our field is gone.  No really except for about 30 feet along the road, the field has disappeared in just four days.”  This picture captures the whole story.  In just a matter of a few short days a flock, or more correctly flocks of geese moved onto our field and had a feeding frenzy!  50 acres of beautiful crimson clover eaten down to nubs on the ground.

This is a photo of where they didn’t eat…isn’t is so pretty?!

This poor field, I’m telling you it just can’t win this year!  The good news is that we got most of the slug damaged areas replanted and it sprouted just in time for the geese to eat.  But the good news there is that it should grow out of it and just be a later harvest than the rest of the crimson we have (fingers crossed).  As for the jerks that drove all over our field…that one I’m still upset about!  This field still has until early July to try to survive before we harvest, here’s to hoping it gives it a good try and gets left alone for awhile.

But it all just goes to show, sometimes you can’t anticipate challenges that are going to hit your farm, your crops, or your land.  Sometimes you can go look at fields every day, and somehow miss one or two and just like that lose a crop.  Sometimes you decide that you and the boys are going to go look at the field down by the river instead of Matt.

And sometimes (maybe the most important lesson here) you learn that you just don’t answer the phone anymore when…

Matt heads down to go look at the crimson field down by the river and your phone rings, “Holy cow…”

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