Archive for the ‘Farm Journal’ Category

Out Takes


Farm Journal – week of

July 16 2017 – July 22 2017



This week David  dug up all the potatoes.









He also cut down his first round of beans.

He sowed buckwheat to hold the soil while we are waiting to plant our fall crops there.

Over The Top


Farm Journal – week of

July 9 2017 – July 15 2017


This week David started to dig the red potatoes.








The tomatoes in the main patch have out grown their support post and are being tied to the twine that runs between all the posts.








On the other hand the tomatoes in one of my supplemental patches are just reaching the tops of their supports.








The Blackeyes peas are blooming and required another string.



Waiting for the Shoe to Drop


Farm Journal – week of

July 2 2017 – July 8 2017

This week besides harvesting for our markets we accomplished our weekly chores of weeding, cutting grass, tying tomatoes and hoeing. Despite our battles with blight and insects our crops look relatively good. So, naturally we are waiting for the disaster shoe to drop. Every time we hear thunder we think hail and the adult stink bugs (BMSB) usually start spreading their destruction around the 15th of July. They will be a major pest until the first part of September which is when they start coming inside to hibernate.  All we can do is put up a good fight and hope for the best.





Have Mower Will Cut


Farm Journal – week of

June 25 2017 – July 1 2017


The Crew – Last but not Least

She waddled down the hill; it was a wonder how her very short legs could support such a massive body. Her breathing was labored and she would collapse when she arrived at her destination.  The Vet put her on a diet; it did not seem successful. Older Dachshunds have a tendency to be overweight.

Once, when her family was away, her house was burgled. Her owners found her shoved into a closet trembling with fright. She was not much of a watchdog, but she was loved by all. This alone made her uniquely qualified to be our mascot.



David put on the first string of his black-eyes and planted his Roma beans. This row is a little straighter.
















One of my weekly chores is to mow the grass.





Out With The Old And In With The New


Farm Journal – week of

June 18 2017 – June 24 2017


The Rest of the Crew

The Old farmer, along with his determined wife, his obliging brother and his always witty wife, his preachy brother minus his aloof wife, the barefooted woman of the valley and hillside and David and I made up the core of the farm crew.  However, especially during peach and apple harvest, others would join us.

There was the old family friend who lived about a mile down the road. He would derive great pleasure watching my young son run after the metal picking buckets that accidentally rolled down the steep hillside cling and clang, spinning and leaping until they got stuck in the barbed wire fence that separated the pasture from the orchard. Occasionally, to the delight of the others, he would start a bucket down the bumpy slope on purpose and they all watched and laughed as my son raced after it.

Another regular, a younger man who lived in the valley, would make his way up the mountain to help with the apple harvest in the fall.  He kept us entertained, while we worked, with hilarious stories from a black man’s perspective about family, work and the bygone days.

Occasionally, a new face would appear with romantic notions about farming. Once, David was training a young family man to be a farm manager. After a few days of farm work, while up in a tree with David picking fruit, he determined he had left his car lights on and went down the hill to turn them off and was never seen again. Another young woman who bragged about her farming experience and declared that she should be running the place only lasted one day of apple picking.

The old farmer never had a shortage of help. Besides the farm crew, his daughter and son-in-law who lived up the hill and worked full time jobs always helped when they could and there were numerous other family members and friends who occasionally stopped by to work a day or two just to help out or for pocket change.





David Dug up all the garlic and set it in front of the barn to dry. Later he moved it into the barn to finished.











After removing the garlic he filled the patch with Derby beans.


He also harvest all the cabbage and put it in storage and prepared that bed for two rows of beans.

First he planted this long row of  Octobers.


The space next to it is for the, not quite ready, roma beans.









The black-eye peas are ready to be trellised so David put in the stakes for the strings.





The Crew – The Barefoot Woman of the Fields


Farm Journal – week of

June 11 2017 – June 17 2017


She grew up in the next valley over. She survived the ravages of the polio epidemic, but some in her family were not as fortunate. She developed a strong work ethic by helping to take care of her family and doing farm chores.  When she moved to our valley, where she settled with her husband, her father’s name helped to get her a job at the farm. She was very pragmatic. After a rain storm, one would find her working in the fields barefoot, to keep from muddying her shoes.

After putting in a full day up at the farm, she would return to the valley to care for her husband and her home. A large part of her home chores, during the growing season, was canning. She loved putting up the season’s bounty and was very proud of her impressive larder.

She was a loving and faithful employee for many years. After the old farmer passed, she helped to care for his ailing wife until she succumbed six months later.










This week David tilled the area for the sweet potatoes.

Then he raked the dirt into mounds






He dug up the plants from the growing bed










and planted them out.



The Crew – The Preachers


Farm Journal – week of

June 4  2017 – June 10 2017


The old farmer for whom we worked, back in the late seventies and early eighties, came from a big farm family, several boys and two girls. During the season, especially at harvest, two of his brothers, both preachers, would make their way up the mountain to help out.

The kind, easy-going, amiable brother usually brought his good-natured wife. Although they both had health issues, they both worked long and hard without complaint.

The youngest brother, on the other hand, was a holier than thou preacher who preferred to operate the farm machinery than to get down from his high horse and labor on the ground with the underlings and who, camouflaging his arrogance with pseudo piety, was very longwinded when it came to saying grace before a community meal prepared by the participants and served in the farmer’s house. This preacher’s wife was rarely seen at the farm, but would always make an appearance at the end of season celebratory meal, which was usually held at a local restaurant where the old farmer footed the entire bill.

Since the preacher’s wife worked full-time for a major corporation, it was understandable that she was not part of the farm crew. Her participation at special dinners, however, was met with eye rolls and quips from her female in-laws as she sat there, haughty and stiffed back, referring to her husband as “The Reverend” and projecting herself as the long suffering wife of a man who has to beg for a living and performs mundane chores for his brother. It was quite evident that she considered herself to be the better of everyone in the room, including her husband.

Her husband was a major pompous ass.  Nonetheless, since we all incurred his wife’s disdain, he was our pompous ass and aside from the smirks, side glances and groans when he made pious proclamations, he was liberally tolerated by the crew.




This week David cleaned up and tilled the former onion bed.


Then he planted black-eyed peas.









He also put bird netting over the blueberry bushes.