Friday, February 25, 2011

Mortal Enemies Episode 1

Right now on the farm we're gearing up for the next crop, which is strawberries.  We planted them in October and they have been dormant in the field waiting for it to warm up enough to start growing.  Well, as we can all feel, it's getting to that time.  However, along with the strawberries come those pesky problems that all farmers fear.

Weeds and Deer.

These are the mortal enemies of farmers everywhere, and yesterday I decided to put my battle gear on and fight the hard fight against one of these foes, weeds.

I figured, hey, I'm at home, I need some exercise, why not?  It's reasonably warm, The Boy is dying for fresh air, why not let him expend some energy and me burn some calories while maybe saving us a couple bucks (since gas is $3.30 a gallon!!!).  Well, it's not as easy as it looks. 

First off, the plants are set in a 2 in diameter hole in black plastic.  My strategy for the battle was to go through all the little pant holes and pull the weeds out.  I did about three rows a week ago, but I've been out of town/it's been colder/I'm just lazy, so I knew what to expect.  Secondly, the weed is a fickle foe.  Some of them pull up no problem.  Some of them break off at the root, so really, you have accomplished nothing, kind of like WWI.  Some of them attach themselves to the berry, so you accidentally pull off leaves with the weed or in one case, you uproot a berry plant (don't tell The Husband, I performed first aid: I replanted it and crossed my fingers).  The real problem with all this is you are working within that 2 inch hole.  You don't want to make it larger, it will cause problems down the road, however it is sometimes impossible to accomplish this feat. 

One of our medium sized plants, weed free

First Blooms

All in all, between myself The Boy (who thought it was great fun to pull off the dead leaves [see pic 1] and crunch them up, sometimes it really doesn't take much to entertain him) and The Husband who came in at the last minute to help, we got half the field weeded.  We fought the good fight and while the weed will come back to fight another day we have weakened it's stronghold in the field.

Stay tuned for more on the second mortal enemy...The Deer.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Beginning

So this is my first ever blog.  I never thought anything I did would be important enough that people would want to read it, and it still might not be, but one thing I noticed during our corn maze this year was that people are interesting in farming and how we go about doing it. 

I thought for this first post I'd tell you a little about me.  I grew up around farming.  My uncle and granddaddy farmed, I lived a mile off the road with no neighbors except for my uncle's corn, wheat, soybeans, and tobacco.  While I grew up in a rural community surrounded by farmland, I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I'd have an active part in it.  I went to ECU (pirate nation!) and got a degree in history.  I had my own plans.  Enter The Husband.  I chose him over my plans and didn't go the academic route.  Instead after graduation I came home and got a job.  We had The Boy.  Then the second best thing that has ever happened to me (with The Boy being the first) happened.  I got laid off.

One thing I learned about myself was that I didn't like working a 8-5 job.  I didn't like sitting at a computer all day making someone else rich, while I had to watch everything I did for fear I'd get fired.  I like being creative and being able to do my thing my way.  I like the idea that what I am doing is helping someone somewhere, not just lining the pockets of the folks I work for.  So when The Husband decided he wanted to go with one of his crazy ideas (there was a time he seriously talked about farm-raised fish, thank God cooler heads prevailed) and raise strawberries, I found the opportunity I'd been looking for.  It expanded when we were able to buy his family farm and start our corn maze.

So that's pretty much how I got involved in this project.  I'm a historian turned farmer who is still trying to find her way.  I'm an accountant, manager, drink deliverer, part runner, berry hauler, IT department, you name it I do it.  I'm the Berry Girl.