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Tractors and Me

Posted 7/13/2013 7:45am by John Eisenstein.

I like to joke and tell people that when I first started farming, I didn't know which end of the tractor had the udder.  Slowly, though, I grew to appreciate all the fine work these animals do, and am now quite comfortable with them-- perhaps a little too much so.  Here is what happened the other day:

Weeds had sprouted in the potato patch, and soil conditions were right for cultivating, so I tought I'd hop on my 1952 Farmall Super A cultivating tractor and give it a go.  It's a great tractor, still running well after 61 years, but it does have two quirks.  One is that one of the shovels is very close to the ground because of where the gas tank is situated, so that there is only a few inches of clearance.  The other is that the poor fellow has a hard time starting once it has been running for a while, so that I am reluctant to shut it off in the field.  Anyway, it started up just fine and I headed up the hill (our farm is at the base of the Tuscarora Mountain, so there is only one hill and it comprises the entire farm) and did a fine job cultivating the potatoes and also winter squash.  Here is a picture of the potato field, so you can admire what a fine job I did.

Isn't that lovely?  It was with a great feeling of satisfaction that I started driving down the hill.  Right about at the cucumbers, however, I noticed that the lowest shovel had caught on a piece of irrigation hose and I was dragging the entire watering system downhill.  So, I brought the tractor to a halt, put it in neutral, applied the brake lock, and got off to untangle the mess.  As I was doing so, it seemed to me that the tractor was starting to roll forward.  Sure enough, the brake lock had become disengaged and she (the tractor) was heading downhill picking up speed.  I didn't have to consider for long what to do-- I ran along side her, faster and faster, trying to vault onto the saddle and avoid getting run over, all the while shouting "Whoa!  Whoa Nellie!" to little effect.   I am pleased to say I managed to get on just before she slipped away forever, with only minor injuries.  I'm not sure where the tractor would have ended up-- possibilities include a deep ravine, greenhouse, haywagon parked near the peppers, or possibly Mrs. Brackbill's living room.  I am sure it must have looked hilarious to anyone watching, however, there were no witnesses aside from two turkey vultures, who were unimpressed.

And now on to eggs.  Did you know we sell them?  You can order them from the a la carte store.  Our hens are free ranging on pasture and fed only certified organic, soy free feed.  Here is a picture of the hen setup so you can see the fine conditions they experience.

I am especially proud of the stained glass on the top of the wall.  Eggs-- try some today!

Help!  We are experiencing an acute box shortage.  Please remember to return your boxes to us.  Packaging is our third biggest expense (after labor and our house wine, a 1984 Chateau- Neuf du Pâpe) and it is in everybody's interests to keep costs down and reuse as much as possible.

Crop update:  peas are done, okra just starting.  Carrots next week, not the greatest crop ever, but still carrots.  Eggplant is just starting to come in and peppers are a few weeks off.  We harvested the first field tomato yesterday-- delicious!  And, we saw a little baby melon!  Zucchini and cucumbers still going strong.

Please note:  For descriptions and instructions for the things you find in your boxes, visit our website under the "our variety" header.  Kelley the summer intern has been working hard to update it so that it is as complete as possible.

Next week:  All about compost!


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