Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy Day!

It’s a happy day here…yep…the bees are gone!

I always want to sing: “Ding, dong the bees are gone…la la la la la la lalalaaaaa”. I need to make up some more words so I can really do it.

Anyway, the bees left last night – well, they were taken out by The Bee Man. To be clear, they didn’t just leave on their own. Daisie and I went for a walk on our normal route today, and there seem to be no stragglers buzzing around.

That’s good. Stragglers tend to be fusty…fusty=stings!

Of course, the fact that the bees are gone also speaks to another fact…Harvest is very near.

And it’s raining…poo! 0.4 inch last night. Too much in my estimation, unless it stops raining right now, and doesn’t rain again until harvest is over…Then we would think this was a “dumb good rain”, as the Likkel Farmers used to say. If it stopped now, the rain would make for some lovely big berries for our early pickings. A few more days of this will likely make for some old berries turning to moldy berries…Just don’t like to start out that way.

But we’ll see…some predictions are for light precip for the next few days. That wouldn’t be so bad. If we could just know when it will stop, so we can decide when to start! That will be the big decision of the week…Oh the drama!

I told The Farmer this morning: “I NEED to know when we are going to start picking!” [high eyebrow emphasis]

His reply: “I need to know when it will stop raining, and then I will tell you.”


I’m desperate to know when, because, though I have my entire crew hired, this week I can’t get all of them in the same place at the same time. We don’t usually start picking this early in June, so they had stuff scheduled. I will need to call in some subs – but for which day? And will they be available if I don’t know until the day before?

I am highly motivated to be fully staffed because when we are not, I must work on the machine…Me – the sub of last resort.

I’m getting too old for that. Or at least I’d like to be…kinda. Or maybe I’d rather not be so old that working on the machine is so uncomfortable. Indeed, that would be more accurate.

But neither option is available, so I may be out there livin’ the dream – owning our own business – making it happen with my own two hands…and sore back…and feet…

It will be a good way to get the season started…a reminder of how grateful I am for a good crew…

Until then, I will be Desperately Seeking Subs!

Friday, June 21, 2013

A little denial goes a long way...

I feel like we are living in la-la land of late.

The berries are ripening, and there are bunches of red on the bushes. However, there are no berries on the ground so it is not time to pick.

But it will be soon.

And despite my original panic, we don’t seem to care. We are staying up late, and sleeping in. The machines are still in the shop and not fully assembled. The flats are unexamined and unwashed. The only preparation we have discussed is whether the outhouse is stocked and ready.

Woot, woot! We have toilet paper and hand soap. Let’s pick berries!

The rest of the stuff will fall into place…with a little sweat, and elbow grease.

This is a great contrast to the earlier years of our farming experience when we anxiously anticipated harvest as our ship coming in! Income time! The likely record-breaking production that we had toiled over and prepared for all year!! We couldn’t wait!!

After a few years of that anticipation yielding some bitter disappointments, our attitude turned to fear of what would go wrong this time. Our preparation was a frantic effort to stave off disaster. If we addressed every eventuality, surely we would avoid another bitter disappointment.

It made us crazy! -- And it didn’t guarantee the results we sought anyway.

It seems we have reached the resignation stage…Harvest is coming. It may be good. It may be bad. It will be…and we will be ready…sooner or later. Some berries that could have been in a flat might end up on the ground…whatever. We’ll get most of them.

We are getting old…and perhaps wiser, finally.

Lately, people have been asking me, “How are the berries doing?” I realized that I now don’t have an answer for that question like I used to. I used to know the health of the bushes, and the strong vs. weak areas, and had pursued finding a long term forecast, and rumors of what the price point may be. Now I can only say, “Well, the bushes look good…” but I know that I have no idea how well the season will go. There are a lot of berries out there, but that doesn’t guarantee a good season. Lots can happen between this moment, and when the last of the fruit comes off the bush. I pay no attention to price rumors anymore because we won’t know, until the fruit is in the freezer, what the price turned out to be…

Whatever…We’ll deal with it. We’ve got our system. We’ve got our crew. The outhouse is ready to go. If the roller coaster is headed downhill, we’ll ride it. It will come up again.

In the meantime, we will not make ourselves crazy…though we are probably going to make ourselves pretty tired next week when we have to catch up the things we’ve been ignoring.

In that case, we will hold on to Farming Mantra #2: “Could be worse; could be worse…”

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Big bouquets, big head...

I’m being spoiled with peonies and roses these days.

My plants have grown lanky, and have bloomed abundantly. And because they are lanky, the blooms are mostly bowing down, and some are touching the ground.

What a waste!

So I have been gathering big bouquets to spread around the house!

I think peonies are my new favorite flower…Just love them! I want to add some pale pink ones to my collection. It’s taken literally years after planting the peony root stock, rhizome, bulb – whatever it was – to get the blooms I was hoping for…and now even those are not enough!

Please suh, can I have some mo’?

The roses are prolific too. My Joseph’s Coat climbing rose is loaded, and now the grandifloras and hybrid teas are joining in.



I think I enjoy them so much because I usually don’t have much success with plants unless they thrive on neglect…And roses don’t. So to have multiple bouquets at the beginning of summer is going to my head.

It’s quite ironic, really, that I have such a sickly green thumb while living with Farmer Green Thumb, Let’s-see-what-my-berries-need-today-I-haven’t-seen-them-since-yesterday Farmer. He doesn’t have time for frivolous growing activity with all the attention his bushes require, so I am on my own. He’ll do a brief consult for me now and then, but I must do the work.

It’s a lot of pressure, you know. I mean, when the fields around your house are green & thriving, tidy and nearly weedless, it would not be appropriate to have the plants around the house looking sickly, faint, and crowded by weeds…Which is how they could look very, very easily.

And truthfully, by the end of the summer they probably will. Fortunately, they just have to look good from the road.

I’m thankful we built so far back.

In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the first flush of growing success – and try not to get too cocky about it…Because, truth be told, I’m better at growing chickweed than anything else.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I saw a red berry...and the Voice of Reason.

I saw a red berry on my Sunday morning walk with Daisie!

I immediately reported this to The Farmer…

“!!!!I SAW A RED BERRY!!!!!”

The Farmer: “You saw a RED berry?”

Me: “Well…it was orange!!”

The Farmer: “Oh – so you saw an ORANGE berry…”

Me: “Ok, I saw an ORANGE berry…”

Me: “!!!!!And there are LOTS of GREEN berries out there!!!!”

The Farmer: “There are lots of puffed up GREEN berries out there?”

Me: “Well, no, uh, they are the little green berries…”

The Farmer: “Puffed up?”

Me: “Well, no, uh they are the little gray berries…”

The Farmer: “Oh – so you saw GRAY berries…”

Me: “Well, yeah…gray berries…”

The Farmer: “And how many red berries did you see?”

Me: “One! Oh – I mean I saw one orange berry…”

The Farmer: “Uh-huh…”

Which being interpreted means: “Woman, you are panicking…Over nothing.”

I have been known to do that.

Suffice to say, The Farmer is not panicking. Harvest is early, but not imminent. We will be ready.

Ok, fine…but today I saw another red – ok, orange – berry…

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (