[From 29-Jul-2012] Tiny tractor: More rototiller repair, taking it apart to replace a bearing housing. These jobs either go fast or take exactly 5x as long as your worst case expectation because of little snags. (It would be quicker if I did this stuff all the time!) Here, I’m fixing the chain, a straightforward mission that involves lots of little nuts and bolts (remove and replace the housing) and a lot of grease. The caulking gun is for running a bead of silicone to between the two halves of the housing to seal it up. Concrete blocks and cardboard make a surprisingly workable instant workshop.
Archive for 2013
[From 21-Jun-2012] Hand weeding, what can I say, the cornerstone task on a tiny farm. Mel dives in (that’s beets in there, and volunteer tomatoes as weeds). This section has been unusually neglected, and still it’s really not as bad as it might look: in ideal start-of-summer conditions, what a difference just a few days can make, but it’s not too dense or deeply rooted, and a couple of hours of quick hand movements can cover a lot of area. We’ll also wheel hoe down the outside edges of the beds and down the paths, which is at least five times as fast! Give weeds too much of a head start, though, and Hand vs Weed is not a fair fight. Timing!
[From 22-Jun-2012] Friday is harvest day and we turn to the almost iconic white plastic laundry sink as veggie washing station. It’s a one-tub day today, with only beet greens to hydrocool (sometimes dunking in water is to wash off dirt, usually, and especially with above-ground crops, it’s to cool them down to keep ‘em fresh, and the term for that is, yep, hydrocooling). The legs on this one gave out, so Jon replaced plastic with wood—a fair bit heavier overall for something we move around and stack, but then, still in service. Make do!
[From 4-Aug-2012] Pre-squish: Brand new Colorado potato beetle, larva about the size of a matchhead, on eggplant. Around the leaf edge, older damage done by bigger CPBs. Recently, for whatever reason, they’ve been around but in numbers enough to be a big problem. The crazily erratic weather of the last few fears seems to have obliterated regular pest cycles, so we just see ‘em and pick ‘em…whenever.
[From 27-Jun-2012] My current seed bank is around 60 Ziploc freezer bags. In alphabetical order. I haven’t been as careful lately with storage conditions as at times in the past, these plastic bins with lids (there is third one with bigger bags of larger seed, like beans and peas) are kept out of sunlight and away from heat. I could do a lot more, but I’m not going for long term storage, and most of the time there seems to be no critical difference in germination time and rate for seed 1-2 years old, which is longest I keep anything in any sort of quantity. Fresh seed may pop up a little quicker, but with the many other variables based mainly on the weather, it all seems to even out by the time harvest day rolls around!
[From 2-Jul-2012] End of the line: what it looks like when your well bottoms out and the water stops flowing. Just like a power failure… We’ve been watching the level in the dug well we’re using, and the refresh rate is pretty dismal. Today, while watering in newly seeded beds, the water finally stopped. After last fall’s failed well drilling, figuring out short and longer term water solution is big here now. The water will come back eventually in this well, but the water table drops as the winter reserves go, and at this point, the well won’t refill high enough or quickly enough to be useful even for seedlings. Water barrels filled from the house well and distributed by watering can is a possible labor-intensive emergency measure. And of course, there is always…rain.