Today was a long, hot day. Though we divide the fields into equal acreage for each day, we are finding that the last day of our rotation is lasting longer than the others…So far, we don’t know why. And when we finally finished tonight, it was too hot to do much deep thinking, or math, especially, to figure it out.
I was proud of my crew today. They recognized that one member was getting too dehydrated, so they stopped, sat her in the shade, and called for water refills. Whattacrew!! I love it that they take care of each other…I am so grateful for them.
The next few days are going to be tough as the weather gets hotter. I am sure the Not Hot Tub will be put to use. I think it will be medically necessary. Everyone will get soaked down good, and then get back on the machine and hope it takes a while to dry out. Cooling while you work…It will be a must!
Not only am I worried about the crew hanging in there during the heat wave. I have some concerns about the crop as well.
As I said in an earlier post, the plants did not come through the winter well. They never went dormant, and so kept using a little energy through the winter, depleting their stores for harvest season. Add to that the hot and dry weather, and I think I can safely say this will not be a good production year.
And I fear that the heat wave will turn it into a bad production year.
This picture illustrates the problem. See the dead leaves and drying stem with un-ripened fruit still hanging on it?
This is something we often see toward the end of the season, when the plants are tired and dried out. The season has barely begun and we are seeing it already. To add to the plants’ low energy stores, it’s been a hot and dry spring. When the temperature reaches the mid-80’s – and especially the 90’s as it is predicted to do, this kind of die-off accelerates, and the fruit at the end of those stems never ripens. It dehydrates, and stays on the bush, or ripens but never sizes up. Lots of little berries? Not good…They don’t weigh as much, and when they completely dehydrate, they actually become a contaminant in the fruit...Not that they are harmful, they are just inedible and add to the HEM (Harmless Extraneous Material) that we must remove from the finished product.
The yellow leaves are on a fruit lateral with berries that have not ripened yet. With a lot of heat, they likely never will, and will just become dry hard little berries...HEM.
So, I am concerned what the heat wave will cost us in production. Undoubtedly, there WILL be a cost; remains to be seen how high it is.
There is nothing we can do about it, so I am not fretting. I’m just trying to be realistic about what is ahead. We do what we can, but there are many variables beyond our control. We try to be content with whatever God gives us, and over the years, it has been enough, and more. We’ll make it through, but it sure can take the fun out of it.
I will end on a positive: there are a lot of places in the fields that still look like this…
Aren't they pretty? These will survive the heat wave, as I'm sure we all will. I'll just be glad when it is over.