Expect the Unexpected

I like planning. Farming forces me to make all kinds of plans, modify them, and entirely replan.

I planned to plant at the beginning of November. Before doing so, I needed to get compost, spread it, disc the field, and flatten it. The compost didn’t come until mid-November, it wasn’t spread until later, the discing happened a couple weeks ago, and the field was ready for seed this week.

You might ask why these delays matter. One answer: weather. You can’t, or shouldn’t, work the field when it’s too wet otherwise you’ll get stuck and compact the soil. You also want rains to moisten the ground enough to work it and rains at the right time to germinate the seeds. Planting too late might expose seeds to cold that slow germination or kill the young plants.

Here I am in December and its getting pretty darn cold. I decided to put in seeds that don’t mind, possibly even like, the cold: Red Fife and Spanish Spelt. Of course, seeding posed its difficulties as well.

Plan:

  1. Confirm horse-drawn seeding a week before
  2. Prepare seeds for planting
  3. Secure all-purpose seeder

Outcomes:

  1. Horse driver cancels day before confirmed planting due to urgent developments
  2. Spelt seeds have hulls and beards
  3. Seeder can’t run seed with hulls and beards

Thankfully, the horse-driver hooked me up with Luke Frey of Frey Vineyards who came out with his no-till seeder. Unfortunately, the spelt couldn’t pass through the individual accordion tubes that led to to the ground. My partner and I had to sit on the back of the seeder, pushing seeds down the tubes, milking the accordion tubes. Have you ever played whack-a-mole? It’s like that, except you use one hand to whack and the other hand to pull them down and they pop up simultaneously.

We finished by 4 PM with bloody and bruised hands and arms. The golden hour set in and rain drizzled from the sky. There’s no more to do, nothing to plan. It’s time to wait.