Most of the time when folks think of when farmers here in Oregon are most busy, many would agree that harvest time would be the obvious answer. And in many ways that’s true. Through summer we are working seven days a week, often 14 hours or more a day. But if you look beyond just the “time” aspect, for me, the fall always feels much busier.
During summer harvest you usually find yourself and your crew in a groove. People know what to do pretty much everyday, because it’s the same thing they did yesterday and will often do tomorrow. But in the fall when the end of harvest is winding up for the year and we are gearing up for the next year’s crop, everything seems to come at you all at once.
So lately we have been harvesting filberts when we can get into the orchards. Our seasonal rain here on one hand helps the nuts fall naturally from the tree, which is good because we harvest the nuts off the ground. But it also creates windows of time where you have to wait for the ground to dry enough to be able to harvest off the ground.
So in the “in between” we are also getting ground worked to plant. In the fall we plant our perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, crimson clover, swiss chard, and filberts. We are also applying weed control and fertilizer to many of our established fields. Meanwhile getting projects done such as ditch cleaning, excavation projects, etc.
So in perfect fall fashion the last few weeks have been a triage of “what to do today”. We have been able to get a few fields planted, worked and ready for winter, the tall fescue is all in and we have about quarter of the crimson drilled (planted), and killed off some sprout.
This week we will get back to harvesting the second (and hopefully last) time in our filberts.
And then after more planting in the good weather windows, more excavation repair and maintenance projects….at some point….we will all be very happy that it is finally November!!
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!
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.