Top 8 Winter Jobs on Our Farm

I have always said that farming is a pretty seasonal way of life.  After being back on the farm for seven years now, I think that I might need to re-phrase that a bit.  Yes it’s seasonal in the sense that you work 14 hour days, 7 days a week usually just during harvest in the summer, but it’s never to the point where nothing is going on.  To tell you the truth, sometimes I feel like a nice day in January can be more stressful and crazy that a harvest day in July!

So here are just a few of things that we’ve been up to this winter that has been keeping us at Kirsch Family Farms nice and busy!

1. Spraying – We spray most of our crops in the winter with pre-emergent herbicides to help us get a head start on weeds once the soil starts to warm up.



2. Meetings – Whether it’s learning about safety, new pesticide options, new regulations for employees, research information from the college, farmers in the winter can probably attend a meeting a day for a 3 month period.  Lots of good information, but also makes you ready to get out in the fields instead of sitting in a room listening.


3. Fixing – There are many times that equipment will break during the busy season and we just don’t have time to fix it right then and there.  Many times you use a patch to get you through the season (aka duct tape at times haha) and then you make sure to bring it in the shop over the winter to fix it right.

4. Blight Pruning – We have to prune out the blight that hits our hazelnut orchards every year.  We use a pruning tower and cut it out, stack the brush and then push it out of the orchard in the spring time.


5. Paperwork – The not so fun side of farming, but a reality for any business.  From end of the year payroll reporting, to budgets for all the crops for the coming year, it’s not fun but it is a nice way to stay out of the rain.

6. Planting – We plant spring wheat this time of year, we have a large window of time, usually until later in the spring.  We just did a few acres last week, as you can see we also planted it with slug bait in the row.


7. Slug Killing – It’s been an awful year for slugs, seems like we just can’t get ahead of them, so this year I have done a lot of not so glamorous slug hunting.  Turns out I can always find them, killing them is another issue.  Hopefully next year they will slow down a bit!


8. Never Ending Project List – I think every farm has this list, full of all the things that you never quite have time for but usually tackle one or two a winter.  This year we are doing two, first we took apart an old D2 cat and are putting it back together.  And secondly we are remodeling my old house into an official farm office!


Walking Fields in January

It’s been a cold week here in Oregon, temps down into the 20’s and 30’s (which for those of you who are used to this weather…sorry but we are wussy here in the Pacific Northwest!) So at the moment I’m doing a lot of “fun” paperwork, and we’re working on many shop projects.  However this doesn’t mean that the crops aren’t needing any care this time of year, even frozen plants warrant a looking at.

So while walking clover fields yesterday, here is what I found…

2013-01-13_16-46-23_549A pretty even growing field of crimson clover…with some volunteer wheat which looks like this…

2013-01-13_16-46-34_743A volunteer crop is something that grows from last year’s crop.  Last year this field was winter wheat and that is what is coming back from seeds that weren’t picked up by the combine.  Here is another weed that we dont want to keep…

2013-01-13_16-46-42_199We use specific crop herbicides that will kill off grass, unwanted weeds & wheat, but not damage any of the crimson clover plants.  Pretty awesome crop management tools!  Once this cold front blows through I’m hoping to be able to get out into the field and kill off the volunteer crop and any other small weeds that are popping up.

Hope everyone stays warm this week!!

Orange Squash & Something that Doesn’t Belong…

Corn Crop is looking a bit lonely this year!!!  Not sure where this guy came from!

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