Around 1:25 p.m. and it’s just about time to head out from the farmers’ market, which officially ends at 1. This season, we’ve been storing the entire farm stand in the communal cage where vendors can leave stuff from Saturday to Saturday. The stand is quite the compact set-up, once it’s torn down and stowed away…efficiently. On the dolly, there’s the 10’x10′ E-Z UP canopy, half a dozen folding metal sawhorses and the plywood boards that turn them into tables, a pair of chalkboards, rough cut cedar display trays (a strip of four, and singles), pieces of 2×4 used to prop up the trays, and a plastic water jug used as a canopy weight (we normally have four, but this year we’ve been lashing the canopy legs to one of our neighbors, so weighting the four corners isn’t necessary). The only thing missing, besides the veg, of course, is our market box, which is a bin containing scales, bags, signage and so forth. Most farms come to market stand and all, as we did until last season’s start of…commuter farming—living off-farm—when logistics made leaving this gear at market a lot simpler. Anyhow, this huge exhibition hall houses the indoor market on Saturdays, November through April, and the big parking lot outside is where the summer outdoor market is located. The cage, a chain link fenced corner, is out of sight to the right. And that’s just about ALL the details. :)
At the end of Day 2 (Day 1 was a few hours of mainly sorting pieces and leveling the base), the soon-to-be-reconstituted farm stand is taking shape, with the fairly massive 6×6 rough cut cedar posts in place. The new chickenhouse can’t be far behind…
Forty two-week-old meat chickens arrive in two days: now sounds like a great time to begin building a new chickenhouse. It’s not like we’re starting from scratch. The plan is to reassemble and repurpose the once-and-formerly-future farm stand. With its fairly massive floor, 6×6 rough cut cedar posts, and galvanized roof, it should be a fairly solid and complete framework, just add some studs and plywood. Except, the stand was completely taken apart for the old-farm-new-farm move, with the exception of the base, which was only cut in two. So it’s kind of a puzzle. Michael gets to work! (Elsewhere today, another shopping trip to our farmers’ market…our attendance record is so far perfect…)
You hear quite a lot of “freezing rain” warnings over the course a year around here, but it’s something you seldom actually SEE. If you’re driving, it means treacherous invisible ice on the roads. Otherwise, it seems like…rain. This morning, the freezing rain was a little more interesting, a fairly fine, steady drizzle that more or less froze to most surfaces on contact, coating them with ice. Here’s how it looked through the glass window of the east-facing greenhouse door. Outside, that’s the farm stand (reflected, that’s me, hooded, and the hoophouse ribs)… If you’ve ever played with Photoshop, this is the REAL version of one of the basic special effects—except here you can’t play with the settings… ;) Kinda cool, and the sort of thing you pay attention to when you’re obsessively watching the weather forecasts, waiting for the rainy, cloudy cold snap to break (Tuesday?!) so the field can dry out, so you can get on with tilling, and seed those first PEAS already. Freezing rain!!!
Muted browns and greens are the colors of drying out. The wait for the snow to go is over, now, it’s waiting for the soggy soil to dry enough to till. Until then, there’s not much to do in the field other than walkaround and lookat future things to do. Lots of rock picking, lots of tilling in winter-killed crop residue (kale, Brussels sprouts, etc) and cover crops. Hoses to repair and run. PEAS to seed… I moved a couple of trays of onions and a tray of parsley to the greenhouse today, to see how they’ll do. No reason not to’ve moved all of them out, but, well, the rest can wait a couple more days, it’s supposed to be subzero the next few nights. The giant puddle that had nearly half the garlic underwater was gone by this morning…and the garlic under there was doing better than in the rest of the beds! That’s interesting, probably a combination of them stretching for more light, and the accumulated extra nutrients from being in a runoff collection spot. But it COULD have to do with just being underwater for a while. A discovery? Flood your garlic patch like a…rice paddy? Well, maybe not…
Finally got around to putting the roof on the farm stand. We recycled the old galvanized steel roofing that was replaced during the Milkhouse extension last fall. In the end, a quick job, three hours or so of matching pieces, handing them up one by one (watch the wind), and screwing ’em down. Luckily, there was very little cutting to do, sheets of old metal can be a real nightmare for slicing and gashing (working without gloves, I nicked a finger only once—every so often, it’s good to see a little bit of your own blood running red and true :). In the pic, I’m screwing things down while Bob selects sections. The farm stand is definitely not on course for the ambitious plans of earlier this season, but in good tiny farming fashion, it’s moving along! (Guest photo by Mami.)