Time is moving too fast!

Schoolhouse Farms is use to a little adversity that’s the nature of living and working a farm. The daily trials and tribulations are common place and add to the flavor of the daily routine. Routine isn’t really a matter of fact as we couldn’t begin to list the events or happenings of a routine day. Regardless the semi-normal ebb and flow this year has really been whacked.

How many things can possibly stack up against you in one season? We are not talking about the everyday run of mill events like a flat tire, broken hose, or rabbit damage. We are talking Mother Nature driven, equipment related episodes repeated over and over again. To the point that staying in bed isn’t even safe as the frame will probably collapse and the floor will give out and we’d end up in the cellar.

Yes it really has been that crazy. Let’s begin with the weather, wet enough for you? The cool weather has plagued us since September 1st of 2010 and just now has released her long hold. Drought can hurt you but rain will kill you, anybody that has ever experienced flooding can attest for that. Preparing fields in these conditions simply ain’t happening. Take a look around at all those big farm fields that haven’t been planted yet, time may have run out for this year. Knee high by the 4th of July!

Equipment issues that we have never experienced have hit us like bed bugs in NYC. It goes without saying that you reap what you sow, so we figure it was the fact we grew our CSA shares for this season. Talk about a punch in the gut! Try to sleep when you have promised something that is 50% out of your control and your word is your honor. It’s a pretty pickle for sure. Hopefully it’ll be a non issue, but it still causes way more sleep deprivation then is healthy.

If it wasn’t so ridiculous in its frequency we would just chalk it up to our continued learning curve, however the shear magnitude is way beyond that. Ok so weather is beyond our control, but controlling certain variables and conditions is, i.e. a greenhouse. Starting plants in March is a routine we have practiced for a dozen years with varying amounts of success, but mostly a satisfactory result. This year we try something a little more ambitious and erected a couple greenhouses and expand our seeding. Things are grooving along nicely all be it maintaining adequate heat is now critical as Momma Nature has her thermostat dialed way low. But then “look Toto a tornado!” We can’t be sure maybe it wasn’t a tornado but the wind really blew hard, and it took those greenhouses for a righteous ride and the landing wasn’t pretty for all those seedlings. The tender young Heirloom Tomatoes were reduced to pulp and several weeks of progress evaporated in a blink of the eye.

The farm graduated from a tractor less operation to one with, again based on our desire to grow which seemed to make sense. It made sense until one of the other local farmers said “Oh a tractor, just something else to keep you busy!”  Whoa of course it will keep us busy we are growing! Tractors are awesome when they are running, and that is the key, running. We spent 2 months trouble shooting an issue until resolution. The timing could not have been worse. Oh and by the way our auxiliary plan, the man with the working tractor was great but he had other people who needed his services as well. The cultivated strips were meatballs, great big mud meatballs and the clock was ticking.
We reverted back to the tractor less method and pulled out the small tillers. Ethanol struck us an unkind blow as it had rendered one unit useless. A gooey mass had gummed up the carburetor and we had no time to mess with it. The second tiller fired up and took to the task until snap! Another Tiller broken down, then it began to rain again, hard!

Despair and depression start to knock at the farmhouse! Motivation is in short supply regardless how many cups of coffee. We have become pretty good at turning lemons into lemonade but Jesus we ain’t and turning this rain into veggies just doesn’t seem realistic.

Once again we dig in we repair the tiller, the rain slows the heirlooms begin to sprout the sun returns. Tick tock how can it be that late? It is time to move flats to the field, “what you can’t get it out of second gear? “ Put it on the list, the tractor? Sunday it’ll be fixed Sunday.

The grass is growing faster then anything else and the mower was sent off to the scrape yard. The big bad grounds master we borrow periodically has an issue with its radiator so the lawn just keeps growing. Add it to the list of things to do.

Finally two months later the tractor is working. After cleaning out the gas line and the sediment bowl it fires up and off we go, until it chokes out clogged again. It is cleaned out again and fires up and then after a short while conks out. Now it is time to remove the gas tank. The options are to get it cleaned two weeks, get a new one two weeks or attempt to clean it ourselves . Time is short and the only option that fits is to do it ourselves. Not just once that would have been to easy, but twice as the first time resulting in no improvements. Finally we have a working machine and off we go to till!

Next it’s time to attach the big rotary mower and attack the grass that is a foot high. After some initial complications it is time to start mowing. The tractor takes off the mower behind it and with in seconds we are cutting grass, but the center blade has dropped off and the entire middle section simply is not cutting. “Snap” the shear bolt breaks, we are out of commission until we can find a spare shear pin and bolt the blade back in its place. Days are in increasingly short supply.

Sunday dawns and the sky is clear and the day is full of promise, sunshine and the tractor is running! Grass gets cut, more plants get planted and seeds get seeded. We maybe behind but we are back in the game moving forward! We anticipated that the vegetables are going to taste especially good this season and look forward to sharing them when the harvest starts!


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