Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What's New At The Farm? 12/17/2008

The recent weather events assure us we're in Maine; if you don't like the weather give it a few minutes and it'll change. It's starting to look more like winter, although just the early stages. No tons of snow like we had last year, but more ice and rain to enjoy. Ice belongs on the lakes and ponds, not the roads and driveways. Lots of trees and branches down last weekend but not as many as the ice storm of Jan. 1998.

Having an ice storm is a good time to find out the generator you had fixed last fall won't start. One worked fine but the other refused to start. Guess which one's headed to the repair shop this week? Luckily Johnny's got the power back in Albion much before we did at home so everything turned out OK. Still, we need two generators when the power goes out to run everything here so we'll get it fixed one more time. I think the biggest problem with that particular machine is that it's not used much. Our greenhouses are wired into the first machine, so if we lose power in the spring/summer that's the one that gets used. The second generator powers the Research building so it doesn't get much use. Time for a new plan.

And now a blast from the past: looking back over the past few years to see what I was writing about mid December in different years; I've written these weekly columns since November of 2003 so I have a few pages of history in which to reference. In 2003 I wrote about Turkey control and the New England Vegetable Conference. In 2004 it was tomato cages, cleaning stockseed and cleaning out the bird houses around the farm. In 2005 it was again the New England Veg. Conference (it happens every other year) and the nutrient management plan coming up for all farms. In Dec. 2006 I wrote two pages about how to trellis tomatoes using the wire and string method and finally in 2007 "What I found whilst cleaning out my truck" was the topic of interest. Pretty racy stuff.

The farm is slowing down for the season. The fields are frozen, the crops are dead and now we've got some time to regroup before next spring. We've got lots of things planned for this winter including: developing a new planting schedule, ordering organic fertilizer based on crop needs and I continue to look for a modern cultivating tractor – something made after I was born. We'll have our plans all in place for what we're planting in the poly tunnel and the fields and when, what greenhouse modifications we need to make before spring and what labor needs will need to be addressed. We'll have a labor plan, a weed control plan, a field planning scheme and a fertilization plan before March. We'll get all our supplies on hand and make sure all our systems are in top notch operating condition before spring planting starts. There's not really much time between the end of the season and the beginning of the next.

Until next week, Brian


Paul said...

Most likely a fuel problem, gas these days doesn't seem to last without gumming things up. Try a 30 day rotation of the gas, i.e. drain it out every 30 days, dump that in your cars gas tank and refill with new gas. Also use Stabil fuel additive.

Anonymous said...

The fuel is probably the problem, but I don't think a rotation system or Stabil is required. The gas stays in my generator for years at a time, with no problems. The fuel sitting in the gas tank is not the issue, it's the gas sitting in the carburator that's the problem. When it's time to shut the generator off, do NOT use the ON/OFF switch. Instead shut off the gas at the in-line valve in the gas line. This will cause the generator run out of gas. That empties the carburator of an fuel, which will prevent gumming. The large volume of gas in the main tank is not a problem, as long as it's not an environment where condensation could start. This can be prevented by simply keeping the fuel tank full at all times.