Rainwater upgrade: We only turned over this rain barrel yesterday, set bottom up for winter to keep empty in order to avoid frozen water expansion cracking the plastic, and it rained overnight. A little rain, a fair-sized collection area (roof with eavestrough), the law of gravity, and presto, the first seedling water of the season from just outside the door, a lot handier than having to haul it over in 50 lb jugs from the well pump in the barn, a bit of a hike away. Modern conveniences!
Tiny Farm vs Elton John: Senior rock star has decided to take his tour to smaller towns. It’s 7 a.m. in the on and off pouring rain, and we’re set up a few feet from a half dozen semis and a few tour buses that make up the Sir Elton tour caravan, loading into the local arena. Several of the buses are idling indefinitely, sending a low rumble under the rain. Around half of the farmers’ market area of the parking lot got appropriated for tour parking, forcing us to shove together in the remaining space. Lotsa grumbling…but that’s rock’n’roll, right?! (Update: That night, voice lost, he canceled. Oh well.)
The Weather recently: three weeks of hot-no-rain, followed by a couple of days of intense rain, 2″ each, then, three days of sweltering heat wave, a couple more days of intense 2″ rain, now, three days of perfect balmy summer, with the forecast for the next few days calling for cool to cold and cloudy. The rain barrels filled up several times over (the pic is from the last bout of heavy rain, three days ago). Interesting!
Pea vs drought: Sad and scary when plants die from lack of water. Seems way worse to me than being ravaged by pests. Kinda makes you realize how vulnerable we are. This isn’t a full-on drought, just an extended dry spell with no rain for a couple of weeks and counting. Most crops are doing fine, and only a few shallowly buried peas are getting toasted, so really, it’s all good!
The season’s weekly rain watch begins. Weeks start on Monday. The big 25 on the rain gauge is the magic 25mm/1″ mark, the rule-of-thumb ideal for a week—an inch of slow and steady rain over a few hours, and of course all the rest, sunshine, that’s just…beautiful. A 1/2″ is an OK minimum for a bit. More than an inch a week ongoing for a while can be troublesome, depending on the crop and stage its—disease, small seed washed out, bigger seed rotting, whatnot, it is all possible :)—and it does occasionally happen. So far this week, 18mm here and 20mm total, so, doing fine!
It’s a wet December! After only a couple of days of rain, the ground is pretty well waterlogged, to the point where I can’t move the Kubota compact tractor without leaving deep furrows that’ll be totally compacted and eventually dry like concrete. So, before being rained out entirely three-quarters of the way through the job, it was slogging on 100′ round trips through boot-sucking muck, one forkload of hay at a time, to mulch garlic—not a big deal, there’s only a 100′ bed and a half to cover, but the EASIER plan was to use the tractor to push the big round bale to the garlic bed. Guess not. Lesson: Um, don’t wait! :)
A mid-winter flashback to one of my favorite farm photos—it’s just so…hands-on. On the tiny farm, many of the things we otherwise consider inconvenient, like rain and MUD, are actually just fine. Sunny days are NICER, but there’s plenty of room for wet as well. Originally posted on Friday, Aug. 8, 2008, when we were harvesting-around-the-rain. (That’s Michelle.)