Tag Archives: tractor

What’s coming down the pike in 2015?

For those of you keeping up with our winter blogging, you will know that we have been busy planning  our 2015 season.  Over the last month we have spent many hours at the desk, sketching up our field layouts for next year. We do this work amidst piles of seed catalogues, from which we select tried-and-true varieties of kale, carrots, and beets, as well as exciting new varieties of tomatoes, lettuces, and greens. The catalogues’ photographs of lush fields of produce make us yearn for summer’s sun, yet we can’t help but relish in this restful season spent mostly indoors, brainstorming ways to increase next season’s bounty. As we craft our growth for the upcoming season, here’s a window into our projected plans for Pachamama Farm in 2015:

It is with excitement and a bit of trepidation that we announce the official implementation of tractors into our production model. Yes, we did use our borrowed Massey 50 last season to move produce, wood, and other materials, but we rarely used it during the season for in-field tasks. This year however, rather than break our backs shaping beds by hand, we will be using a retrofitted bed shaper to more easily prepare seed beds for planting. This does require a departure from our idealistic vision for no-till organic agriculture, but we still plan to keep our soil disturbance to a bare minimum, and we will not be roto-tilling annually.

This increased use of tractors will also allow us to cultivate more land. So we will be sowing half an acre of our rich muck soil to winter squashes and onions. We are very excited about the potential this resource holds, since the nutrient dense soil speeds up the average growth of vegetables substantially. We expect that if we can successfully cultivate our muck this season, we will be able to grow more produce, more efficiently and quickly on our other 4 acres of muck in years to come. The caveat is, since it acts like a sponge, muck soaks up water, and tends to be a challenge to manage– in fact Ben already got the tractor stuck on it once! But we have received expert advice on managing our muck, and feel up to the task.

Lastly, we have exciting CSA news to report…We will be starting a Rochester CSA drop off at Atlas Eats this year. Our family is generously lending us the parking lot of their great restaurant in Irondequoit. So for any customer who found the weekly drive out to the farm a challenge, we are coming to you!

Stay tuned for more updates as the season approaches. And if you like us, and have been following us through our tasty food or through the world of cyberspace, we just started a Yelp page, so feel free to write a review!

Warm feathers and wool and cold iron and wood

I used to like to watch water boil on occasion. I liked testing the expression, but it was just a simple sensational thing, like staring across a room towards a window and letting the focus of your eyes shift. Those were the in between fillers my memory likes to recall from childhood winters. The fillers would move from simmering to a boil when the opportunity arose to finally go play in the snow.

These days I find myself stretching limbs under warm covers as I awake, peaking out into the chilly room and the icy world beyond it. Then I pull the covers back over my head and think it makes much more sense to stay in bed where it’s warm. Somehow my blissfully ignorant love for winter has aged into a kvetcher.

When the choice is between staying under warm covers or going out to work on the cold iron tractor, I find it hard to get up. Then the dog starts licking me and, in short order, putting his paw on my face.

Working in the cold is mostly slow, and sometimes (too often) painful. Playing, in winter as a kid, or exercising outside as an adult are one thing, because you get warmed up by moving and then, hopefully, continue moving enough until you end up someplace warm before too long. But trying to build a curing rack, or rebuild a tractor implement is something quite different. The latter involves less moving, and lots of working with tools and parts that can be small, heavy, rusty, sharp, and freezing cold. Fingers get stiff, toes start to ache, eyes water, and snot runs. Needless to say, I prefer sledding or, for that matter, watching water boil. But alas, some things are worth it, or so I tell myself anyway. Cliches and mantras, even the kvetching will itself, don’t always hold up to the wind chill.

Does this sound like kvetching? I know I’m not the only one. Two winter projects I’ve been working on are building new and improved curing racks for next year’s harvest of garlic, onions, and squashes; and modifying a tractor implement for shaping beds for planting. Hopefully this will allow us to shape beds mechanically rather than by hand, which would save a whole lot of time and energy. Time and energy. So much and so little.