Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's new at the Farm? 9/22/10

This week finds us picking more tomatoes. And pumpkins. And still more tomatoes:

We start the week by picking Black Cherry for seed. Lots of tomatoes means lots of seed. I figure it will take the whole farm crew a day and a half to pick and process it and two days to sluice it. At least it's a nice field to work in; the big, new field that is. I think I mentioned in a previous article how fields got their names; I asked Kelly to name this field hence the "Big, new field". It's a nice field, about 5 acres in size, with a southern exposure. Its history includes being in continuous conventional corn for 25 years or so, then hayfield and now we use it. It's kind of funny that I'm farming the same field I did 30 years ago but organically now.

Video of sluice.

We're also picking Cherokee Green tomatoes on Thursday this week, along with some small increases during slow periods of our work days (ha-ha). And other than harvesting, we don't have a whole lot pressing; of course we're eye-ball deep in harvesting.

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a hay/grain conveyor from a local farmer:

It is a John Deere grain elevator with a "3" for the serial number. Once we got it home, no small feat in itself, I let Jeff know what I wanted to do with it and "have at it". It started out at 52 feet long and now is 32 feet. Besides shortening it we had to change its power supply from 230-volt electric to a gasoline powered motor. I think it will work really well, and if it doesn't, well, we've have a conveyor to use for conveying something.

We're going to process a pumpkin this week before the squirrels do any more damage. We get to use our new conveyor (new to us) for processing this one. That's one of my bright ideas for 2010. Usually we toss pumpkins up into the Vine Harvester but I dislike this method. It takes several people and as the ground becomes wet and slippery, it makes a hazardous site to work in. Mud and ice make for slippery walking. Using the conveyor will enable us to load the pumpkins at a safe distance from all the moving parts of the process.

Using the conveyor will also enable us to feed the fruits into the vine harvester at an even pace. Instead of getting lots of fruit all at once, we can pace ourselves so the timing of fruit being loaded can facilitate the machine having time to properly separate the seed from the pulp. I'll let you know how it all works out in a future column.

Signs of the changing of the seasons are all around us; wood stove smoke, geese and crows joining into flocks. The swallows and hummers are gone and a steady procession of birds migrating over the next couple of months. Killdeer must have left as I haven't seen any in a while, lots of ducks flying around and rat/squirrel holes around the buildings as they prepare to spend the winter near their food supply. Fall is definitely here.

Until next week enjoy the season, Brian

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