Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Farm Strong

Today was exhilarating!  Not only did we plant some transplants today but we broke in a new toy. The waterwheel transplanter.  I have been hearing about this implement for two years; it's all Matt talked about to make transplanting so much easier and less time consuming.  Last year, our mechanism for transplanting was a lot of work for two people. We were fortunate to have Matt's parents down a couple times to help during the beginning of the season.  Bringing all the trays of plants out to water and transplant into 150 foot row beds was very timely.  At some point in the beginning of the summer I was literally on my hands and knees planting with Juniper in my big belly just to help Matt get those plants in the ground on time.
The Water Wheel Transplanter


Now don't get me wrong, I find much therapy and strength through mind, body and spirit working with my hands on the farm however, sometimes you just need to get some work done.  Typically a farmer will hire workers to work the fields but since we are such a small farm starting out,  we are not able to hire those workers.  I was talking with Matt today about are future plans and what we would like to see as a sustainable farm for us and our community.  We definitely want to work towards a more sufficient way of a working farm without the use of petroleum, without the use of tools requiring such 'unsustainable resources' and it is very difficult when you are first starting out especially without knowledge and experience with animal husbandry.  We do plan to start slow with a couple cattle and some chickens.  I speak for myself when I say the overwhelming aspect of raising animals versus vegetables raises a little anxiety for me.  First of all I follow a strict vegetarian diet which is another story and second, my life taking care of animals doesn't extend further than my two cats which have officially transitioned to being outside cats. 


Matt using the disc harrow to work seed into soil for a cover crop


So I enjoyed our day with the family using the water wheel transplanter for the first time.  It was more like a ride than work and I appreciated the hour it took to plant three rows of vegetables to start, but we do a lot of other manual labor for the two of us on the farm that make up for all the bells and whistles. You will find muscles you never knew existed and as for me, watching Matt work makes me want to work harder every day. For those of you unfamiliar with a waterwheel transplanter I should briefly describe its purpose on the farm.  In the picture you can see the attachment to the tractor which has a holding tank for water, two wheels that make holes in the rows with precision, two seats and grates to hold the transplant trays.  The transplanter saves time, it adds the right amount of water to the ground where the plants will be planted and it measures precisely the space between each plant that you need.  It also holds about 8 trays of transplants to be able to grab as you are going down each row.  Honestly, I feel like the majority of my time last year was walking with trays to each row and when you are walking an acre or two away, the water wheel transplanter is definitely superior.






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