CSA Week 6 Ponds, Mud & Hay

I would like to order some sun with a side order of no more rain please. We just closed out the wettest June in record. 2013 held the title for only 2 short years and was crushed in Montpelier by 0.7 inches. With our luck we will now usher in the driest July and August on record. With all our bulldozing we have mud all over the place. I don’t think I’ve had more mud covered clothes since I was just a wee little guy. Yesterday I gave up wearing shoes for a little while. I had to direct Meadow’s dad while we set in a new culvert and the mud around it was bordering on mid thigh. The weather forecast looks like it will serve up my order for at least the rest of the week.

I’m sure around the state tractors gear up this morning with mowers attached ready to cut until the sun starts to set. It’s been ages since the weather report looked so good for haying. It makes you wonder how folks in the past managed outdoor activities. We have 7 day forecasts that are certainly not much better then guesses but normally the 2-3 day forecasts are in the ballpark. When I miss checking the weather for a few days I am pretty darn clueless to what is going to be happening in a few hours let alone a day or two. Do you think when fast communication happened they would telegraph the weather from the west and try to guess if it was going to come the farmers way? Maybe it just meant they had to accept hay that had been rained on. With our the knowledge of future forecasts you could separate yourself from the consequences. What happened would happen and that was out of your control. Now that we have all this information we have to take more responsibility and if it doesn’t work out then its on us. Or we can just blame the weatherman.

Our pond building adventures have wrapped up. We built 6 ponds this past week. Most of them are on the small side but will hold Thousands of gallons each. The first pond we built ended up being pretty big. It is going to hold over a 50 or 60 thousand gallons of water. In years were we don’t have the wettest June in history that water will come in handy to irrigate the rice paddies and water the animals. It is up higher then most of our farm so we will be able to gravity water from it to most places where we need water. The other ponds are placed so our animals can have limited access to them during their rotations and to act as back up water catchments in dry years. Our days of struggling with water are soon to be over. All we have to to is reconfigure all our water lines that had to be moved during the bulldozing.

We discovered a strange thing during pond construction. It is really hard to guess what is level when looking at two points in a field. We could guess which was higher or lower and most of the time Marshal, my dad and I would be way off. I have a level we use for surveying and without it building these ponds would have been impossible. All our ponds would have water flowing out of them in the wrong place and with only holding a few feet of water. The big pond tricked us the most. Our eye ball guesses of the size of the dam needed and where the outflow would be couldn’t have been more wrong. But with the level we were able to calculate the right size and location for each dam. Now that we are done building the ponds I feel much more confident in building ponds. But I think it is a skill that I won’t be using much in the future.

The vegetables having been moving pretty slow with the wet cold weather. Watering certainly wasn’t a probably but the lack of sun really put the plants into a low gear. It’s also great weather for diseases to get a foot hold but so far it looks like we made it out safe and sound. I’m guessing that with these up coming sunny days everything is going to start growing like crazy. With plenty of water in the soil and plenty of sun in the sky the conditions should be ripe for ripening.

July 26th, 2015|

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