Good gloves

Good gloves for fall fieldwork

Used right, these gloves are quite fantastic. The different brands I’ve tried have all been pretty much the same: fairly heavy stretch fabric for warmth and a snug fit, and a rough-textured latex coating for waterproof protection and a good grip. Perfect for fall field work, when the temperature is around zero, and everything tends to be damp and cold. They’re close-fitting and not too thick, so the touch is sensitive enough for hand-harvesting of root crops in moist soil when you have to feel around, coiling muddy hoses, picking up various field debris. They’re also tough enough to use as work gloves, to move stuff like damp wood and metal. The trick is that they’re waterproof, and they also breathe, so your hands don’t sweat and freeze they way they would if they were completely waterproofed, but the tradeoff is, you can’t use them in water, only to grip wet things, the minute the fabric gets soaked, well, the fun is over. Most of the time, I choose bare hands: getting nicked, freezing, whatever, it’s usually worth it for that direct contact, and gloves are one less thing to keep track of. When I do decide to use gloves, having the right ones for the job is a little pleasure, and these guys have their place. Nice!

Cold-grown salad

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[From 20-Nov-2013] Cold-grown: Tiny lettuce leaves, crisp, fresh and delicious…and grown oh so slowly, without cover, in the unheated greenhouse, through many freezing nights, some down to -15C. Still a while till it’s big enough to harvest, and it was seeded way back at the beginning of October: that’s already 50 days compared to the usual spring/summer 25-35 days for baby lettuce mix). Also, the cold effect gets trickier as the leaves get bigger. All in all, though, seeing food grow in the cold with a minimum of help is quite fantastic.

Farmers’ market tool

Last One sign: farmers' market stand

Blogged about before, still in service (no dirt streaks or coffee spills so far), it’s the original, the very first Last One sign (I’m pretty sure it is), brilliant sales tool (nearly 100% successful!), now part of the Almost Gone collection, Last 1-2-3-4-5 and Not Many Left. This one is on some near-perfect unheated greenhouse spinach. Fun with signage at the winter farmers’ market.

Empty shelves

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[From 26-May-2012] OK, so it’s only the result of a really good price on rice cakes, and emptied shelves aren’t unusual during sales. Still, this time, standing in from of them, I suddenly imagined how fast ALL the shelves could empty, and wonder what we’d do right after that happened. Not an everyday cheery thought (I hope; it’s not for me)…and it quickly passed! Anyhow, I do have lettuce.

Watering cans

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[From 14-Jun-2012] Good tool! These watering cans have been all over—seedling room, greenhouse, field—for the last few years, near perfect for hand watering missions. Five bucks, plastic construction means they’re lightweight, two gallon capacity is decent amount of water that’s still easy to handle, even with one in each hand. The spout cap pours a nice, heavy shower for speed and unscrews for cleaning and for filling smaller containers. I cut square holes on top for quick plunge filling from open barrels. Great!

Rock, pebble, stone

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[From 8-May-2013] Imagine a world of soil without stones… In the three farming locations I’ve fully worked, they’ve been everywhere and in all sizes. You get used to them: collecting heavier, smoother specimens for weighting row cover, moving even bigger ones to avoid breaking tines on the rototillers, piling up the grapefruit and orange-sized rocks by the tractor bucket load, and raking the smallest out of the way of the seeders. I have experimented a bit with how much I can leave and still have the seeders not bounce around and lay down seed unevenly. Raking as the last step of bed preparation is still the way we go.