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.
This farmer is slowly getting back out into the fields. It hasn’t been easy, this time of year much of the work on the farm is more physical than I could be after a csection just a few weeks back.
So Millie, the boys and I have improvised and have taken to more gentleman type approach….a more farming the pavement kind of thing….basically we drive around a lot and do a little walking. And on a beautiful day, down long dirt roads, it isn’t the same but it isn’t all bad.
Everything is growing like crazy right now! The grass is shooting heads of seed, hopefully ones that will be nice and full for a good yield. The clover is blooming and gorgeous!! And our spring crops like radish and squash are in the ground and starting to grow.
We also are doing a lot of orchard work, for example scraping the orchard floor to get it ready for harvest, even though it won’t be for months. Leveling and getting rid of debris, keeping suckers at bay, and making sure to protect against insects and disease keep us very busy this time of year.
So there’s my update, quickly typed up between fields while out driving around with my new little lady in tow.
As of today we have been harvesting for 19 days. Just to give you a small taste of what that means…
- In 19 days we have worked just under 1500 man hours on the farm.
- We have seen 19 sunrises matched up to 19 sunsets.
- We have harvested all the crimson clover, all of the peas, half the green beans, all the tall fescue seed, and half of the perennial ryegrass.
- We have had a few successes and some failures.
- We have eaten dinner out in the field 17 times. And the 2 nights we were at home eating, we still ended up in the field hanging out afterward.
- I have made 122 meals for our crew and family.
- Our boys have spent over 25 hours in the seat of a combine or tractor.
- Hoot has asked about 75 million times to get back in the seat of the combine or tractor.
- We have had 7 harvester plugs, 3 minor hiccups and two fairly extensive breakdowns.
- We have had 18 friends and family members come to say hi out in the dusty fields.
- We have had exactly one day off. Well except for my husband Matt, because plants don’t stop needing things just because it’s Sunday.
- We have 7 crops left to harvest.
- There are 5 amazing people who help take care of our boys during our crazy harvest hours! It takes a village here on the farm raising these crops and kids!
- We are thankful for great employees, hard workers, good weather, and patience.
This is what it looks like to get food onto tables. Lots of long exhausting days and nights, hard work, sweat, frustration, cussing, laughing and cold beer. We are tired and worn out…but in the end we still wouldn’t trade this life for anything else. This is why we call farming a way of life more than a job, and at the same time one you can hang your hat on. Happy harvesting!!