Harvest Kids – Photo Friday

This is one of my most favorite photos that I took this summer. Harvest was tough on us this year. The weather, while hot, was consistent and good for seed harvesting conditions. But mentally it was very draining and long. Every field was a different challenge, a different scenario, sort of like choose your own disaster (instead of adventure) for how you wanted to handle what was happening. Some of that had to do with pests like voles, other things were more challenging like seed shatter due to the high heat wave we had during cutting, add that to an overall dry spring, topped off with the usual equipment breakdowns and harvest juggling.

But this photo, and the ones below, show my favorite part; sharing harvest with our kids. They love being out in the field with us during harvest. Either playing in the dirt, riding on the combine or helping Matt take a truck in to the cleaner to dump seed. Their love for the field is something that will never get old for me as a farm mom and hopefully never get old for them either!

Hoot’s Farm Tour!!

It’s been awhile since we have been able to host a tour group at the farm. It’s one of my favorite things, showing folks around our farm and letting them experience a little of our farm life. So when Hoot asked if we could have a farm tour for his school birthday party, the answer was “ABSOLUTELY!!”

And while it’s one of my favorite things, I quickly learned that it’s also Hoot’s. He basically gave the whole tour for all his friends and they had a great time climbing on tractors, learning about crops like crimson clover, and even getting to dig into bins of grass seed, swiss chard seed, and clover seed.

Some other highlights were showing off some farm displays that the kids built for their friends to see, and also going on combine rides.

As folks get more removed from the land and from the farming roots, that inevitably most people have somewhere in their lineage, it’s always nice to give a chance for people to see a working farm. Which is why I have always said that we have an “open farm door” policy here at Kirsch Family Farms. We love to have people take us up on the opportunity to show them around. It always sparks great conversations, allows for people to see what we are up to, and get the chance to ask, “Why do you do it that way?”.

I have to say though, during this tour, it was an absolute joy to watch our kids showing their friends around. I think the “open farm door” policy won’t stop at my generation. Which is just fine by me.

The Good, The Bad, and The Farmer

Covid-19.  Where do I even start? This virus has obviously taken over everyone’s life in ways that we could never have imagined and still don’t know the extent of yet. Whether you have it, are scared of it, are quarantining because of it, have lost your job, closed your business doors, or are still working in new ways and maybe harder than ever; we are all being effected in all the ways possible. For my family it’s no different. The other day I was talking to my mom and she said, “our family is like the good, the bad and the farmer!” I couldn’t agree more, told her that I was going to steal that, so here we go…

The Good

This is my brother Kyle.  I lovingly would refer to him as the nerdy one in our family.  As it turns out, he is The Good.  He is working with his 3D printers (has even bought more to help) and is making face masks for first responders and medical professionals who are lacking PPE to deal with Covid-19.  He’s been working on this for a few weeks and has made and delivered over 1000 to folks in his community!  He says that in these strange times he has seen no slow down for help with PPE supplies, so he has no intention of slowing down either!

Here’s the story that was on the front page of the Statesman Journal this week. Silverton-area man makes masks for healthcare workers with 3D printer

The Bad

As many of you who know me may have heard, my sister contracted Covid-19.  She is recovering at this point but this I would say is probably The Bad.  She also started a blog to discuss in real person terms her symptoms and her journey as it is all unfolding.  You can find her blog here:  Spreading Sunshine Blog

I have to say that experiencing this with her personal narration has been scary with all the unknowns, but also super interesting.  We are so lucky that she was healthy to start with.  We are lucky that she is in recovery, and now we just pray the rest of her family is spared.

The Farmer

While the first thing my mom actually said was, “…the good, the bad and…well I guess you would be The Ugly….but that doesn’t seem like it fits (thanks mom hahaha!) So maybe you should be The Farmer!”  As The Farmer I am still chugging along.  The crops don’t know about Covid-19, so they are growing and waking up as spring is moving right along.  We have been busy making sure that we are prepared, and that we can continue to work through this uncertainty.  I think the biggest factor for us is this new kind of unknown.  We face unknowns through farming all the time.  The weather, pricing, markets, these are all factors that in a normal year we face head on.  At this point in the year we have put a lot of money onto our crops, crop tools have been paid for, labor has been paid for, repairs, maintainence, supplies, all money going out the door to cultivate a healthy crop to harvest this summer.   Every year we do this while not knowing yields or prices for many of our crops, the uncertainty at this point in the year is a very real thing for us.

But this year it feels different, probably because it is different.  In my lifetime I have never had to add “worldwide pandemic” to the list of factors that may or may not effect our pricing, our shipping, our exporting, etc.  So in this uncharted territory we are controlling what we can, finding protections where we can, and we are taking care of our land and our crops the best we know how.  We are also social distancing when at work as much as possible and doing all the things that the rest of the world is doing to flatten the curve.

At home our family is safe and we are lucky to have enough amazing help that I can still farm, our kids can still be at home and we can still move along with our lives in somewhat normal fashion.  I don’t have quite as much time on the farm as I have picked up this whole teaching gig on the side (haha). Yes, the homeschooling situation is interesting, overwhelming and crazy all at once.  Luckily Matt takes up plenty of slack at the farm. I have offered a few times to let me head to the farm so he can log on to school with the kids but he strangely hasn’t taken me up on it yet. In short I truly have nothing to complain about in this department, we are (mostly) embracing our new schedules and still looking forward to summer break!!

I know that this time is hard for everyone.  I wish I had more answers.  I wish I understood more about this virus so I could find those answers.  But instead I’m going to continue on with what I do know.  I know how to grow crops and love on my family.  I know how to work hard and prioritize.  And all that I don’t know, like how to teach kinder, I will just keep going back to that hard work part and chipping away at it.

So there you have it, The Good, The Bad and The Farmer all wrapped up in one family in one wild time in history.

How are you all being affected? How has life changed or shifted? Please feel free to comment below.


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