Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekly preview

So we moved to the apartment and I was worried that I would be bored. Well it hasn't happened yet!

On Monday this week I'm working. So I'll need to clean before I go in. Oh and get some sleep since I will have worked until 4 am.

On Tuesday Lydia and I are heading for KY to visit Emily, Anders, Joel and the soon to be Joel's little brother. I'm looking forward to seeing the new lambs and all the neat new stuff they've planted and all the work they've done on the place since we were there last. Oh and we're bringing them some more of their things from up here.

I'm going to stay over at Lydia and Travis's Tuesday night, then Wednesday Lyd's and I will weed the greenhouse and clean the garages. Oh and mow the grass and get the trimming done that I didn't get to last week.

Thursday is my day to go out to Tranquil Ridge Farm and make good on my commitment to work for my CSA share. I even bought a bicycle so I can go green while going to the farm for my greens. Now I just have to build up enough strength in the leg/knee that I had surgery on last October. Recovery has been frustrating!

Thursday night I'm coming in to work for a little OT. Then Friday my real work week starts again.
I'm sure I forgot something I need to do, but I'll think of it later.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Another Tranquil Thursday

At Tranquil Ridge farm that is. This was my second Thursday spent working out at the farm. I get there about eight in the morning and stay until two in the afternoon. It works out well now, but I'm thinking in July, August and part of September I'll be getting up a good bit earlier to avoid the heat of the afternoon.

Today I planted 2000 Romaine lettuce seeds in the green house. Then crawled around in the nice brown dirt tucking in strawberry plants. I had dirt on my hands, dirt on my knees and dirt on my backside. It was a wonderful relaxing morning. I got to meet the young man who is working for the farm and we had a nice talk about where we came from and where we are going while we crawled down the paths digging holes with our hands in the soft beds that Nate had tilled and setting strawberry plants.

All too soon it was time to go home. Once again I forgot to bring something to cover my car seat. It had a lovely coating of brown dust by the time I got home. If I keep taking home so much soil they are going to start charging me for it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A strange walk with the dog

Living in an apartment is requiring us and our dog, Honey to adjust. Honey has to be on a leash at all times. And she has to learn that every little kid or old lady does not think she is cute and that she should be petted and played with. I have to learn that people do things that I consider odd, and unsafe and to pick up dog doodoo. (Yuck!)

When I woke up today, I took Honey out for a brisk hike around the apartment complex. (OK so hike maybe is a stretch.) We went out the back door of our building. Squirrel--- Honey tried to chase it up a tree. Along the back of the building to where the sidewalk ends and there is a bit of grass along the fence --- potty stop. Good thing I remembered the required poo bag. Then on toward the play ground.

Oddly as we were walking along between the parking lot and the fence, a car pulled up in front of us. A little boy about 4 or 5 years old got out and the car drove away. Who does that? Just drop your kid off in the parking lot and drive away. He said "Hi!" as he scampered by avoiding Honey's best efforts to get him to pet her.  Odd.

We walked on toward the playground. Two little girls maybe 6 or 7 years old were playing there. I couldn't see an adult anywhere. I would never have allowed my kids to play unattended at a public playground with out supervision. Wow!

We walked on making a big circle back toward the dumpster (still carrying the poo bag) and our building. As we were coming down the straight stretch toward the dumpster, I looked out across the parking area toward our building. I stopped. I looked again. Yep, I really did see a tiny little girl wearing nothing but pink cowboy boots and a smile climbing into the driver's seat of that car!! OMG Then I saw another little girl - this one had on a dress but no shoes climb into the passenger side. I just stood there gaping.

Just as I'd decided I'd better do something about these two would-be car thieves, a lady stepped out on the balcony just above the car. I won't repeat what she yelled at those little ones, but they high-tailed it into the building.

I am amazed.

What will we see on our walk tomorrow?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Taters, taters, taters

Thursday was my first day working out at Tranquil Ridge Farm. I am doing a working share there.
What's a "Working Share"? As part of the farm's CSA program I am putting in work hours to pay for my CSA share. Elbow grease for veggies!!
Thursdays I will spend 6 hours working on the farm. Last Thursday we planted potatoes-lots and lots of potatoes. Nate (the farmer) drove the tractor pulling the setting machine. I'd post a pic of this thing but I don't have a camera right now. I'll see if I can draw you a word picture.The setter is green metal it has places to hold baskets of taters or plants and 2 seats at the back with foot rests. You sit on the seat with your feet on the foot rests and a big green basket of seed potatoes cradled between your knees. It has a big yellow tank up top with tubing that runs down to a wheel with triangular cogs. The tank is full of fish emulsion fertilizer (did I mention this is an organic farm). The fertilizer water travels down the tube and fills each hole as the wheel goes around punching holes in the tilled soil.  My job was to stick a seed tater in each hole and make sure it got covered with a bit of dirt. Sounds simple- well that's what I thought.

Things I learned sitting on the setter:

1. Keep your eye on the hole!! Every time I looked up or looked away I got behind and had to hustle to get back in time with the speed of the setter.
2. Free range hens can undo all of your hard work if you aren't careful. Nate's hens were pecking up the taters about as fast as we could set them until I got the hang of dragging soil over them and Nate got on another interesting piece of equipment that looked sort of like a cross between a dune buggy and a daddy long legs - the hiller. He made short work of hilling all of those taters.
3. Working on the setter is sort of like playing the piano. You have to have eye-hand coordination, but the left hand needs to be able to do it's own thing not the same thing the right hand is doing. Pick up a tater with the left hand (without looking - remember you have to keep your eye on the hole). Pass it to the right hand. Push the tater in the hole and drag some dirt over it while at the same time you are picking up the next tater.... repeat until the end of the row.
4. Change seats often. There are 2 seats one: on the left and one on the right. When you are on the left you are perpetually leaning right to set your taters. I got pretty sore pretty quick. So I moved to the right seat to even out how sore I knew I was going to be later.
5. Fish emulsion smells like the sea or maybe the sea smells like emulsified fish. Either way by the end of the morning I smelled like the sea or like emulsified fish depending on your point of view.
6. Wring out your gloves and knock off the mud every couple of rows. It's amazing how much mud can cake onto a glove. I looked like I had mud paws.
7. Remember to bring something to sit on for the ride home. I didn't and I had mud on my car seat - lots of it.
8. It is amazing that two people not working all that very hard can plant and hill about 300 pounds of potatoes in a morning.
When we finished I spent a pleasant hour or so plucking baby weeds from the flats in the cozy warm greenhouse.

My first day impressions: I LOVED IT!! I miss our farm a lot. I'm learning a lot about how a larger CSA functions and I'm getting plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise and good company not to mention veggies. Who could ask for anything more. :^)