California has had a bunch of rain this month. And it’s taken a toll on our fields, especially the artichokes. Wet soil and wind combined to flatten many of the tall, in-full-production, gorgeous plants. I guess the weeds, mud compaction and cold hands are a small price to pay for the groundwater recharge. Onward!
Tag Archives: rain
Yes, it’s a gully washer. Glad the crew was able to get most everything picked yesterday. Today they pack things into boxes to get ready for deliveries to local restaurants tomorrow. And for the farmers’ market tomorrow morning. The market should be very interesting, with lots of stories to share.
As the crew packed, Paul went out to the fields to check the ditches, the tarps and the general water flow throughout the farm. And he happened to be there as a wave of water washed through his shop and across and under the greenhouse tarps. Up the creek he discovered lots of trash trapped against a bridge causing the water to spread out and overflow the creek bed.
It’s let up some now and I admit to waiting until it slowed to take the photos below. The first two in this post were taken by Paul while the water was at it’s highest. It’s reassuring to see how quickly the water recedes.
It rained hard, seemed like all night. Thunder and lightening, which is rare in these parts, shook us awake around midnight. Just what we need. And more is on the way.
Here’s what it looks like this morning.
Rain is in the forecast, a novel situation for us in “Droughtville” (California). We’ve had a couple practice storms roll through, dropping an inch, more or less, just to tease us. But this week, we’ve heard up to 7 inches could fall. The whole community is excited, hoping this will open the storm door and eventually lead us out of the dry conditions we’ve experienced for several years now. The reservoirs are low and steps are being taken to monitor ground water supplies. We have two good wells on the property we use to irrigate year-round. And so far, that’s been enough. Paul has also switched most crops to drip lines for most of their life cycle, rather than overhead, sprinkler-type watering. We trade off using less water for more plastic and more labor.
The farm prepares for winter rains every year, whether they come or not. As the day length shortens and the nights cool, fields are cleared of finished tomatoes and eggplant, tilled until smooth and flat, composted and finally cover crop seed has been planted wherever we want to give the beds a carbon boost. Ditches are checked and regraded where necessary.
Hoops are set up over beds in case the rain becomes too much for small plants. Plastic covers can be pulled over the top of the hoops, if need be. We’re ready and waiting to have time in the shop, to clean and sharpen tools, to change the oil for the many machines, and to get to the projects that await, like the recently purchased cultivating tractor that needs a new front axle and for the whole under-belly apparatus to be rebuilt and mounted.
So we wait to see how much will fall.
Fall is coming on strong, as the summer crops peak. What to do? Just work a little harder, longer and stronger, knowing that rain will come, things will slow down. There will be time next to the wood stove, with a book and a cup of tea. But for now, it’s go, go, go. So glad we are up to it. And thanks to everyone that works for us or buys produce from our farm. We couldn’t do it without you.
Today we were presented with a beautiful fall day, lots of big fluffy clouds, lilting through a big sky, over hill and dale, casting moving shadows on the undulations below. With just a hint of moisture, as the clouds misted the fields, dampening the dust, sweetening the soil and doubling the scents. It’s teaming with life out there!
The farm is coping quite nicely, thanks to some planning. There are a couple of flooded beds but for the most part, the ditches are full and doing their jobs. They have been planted with a cover crop to keep the soil in place, as much as possible. And large sticks and branches have been placed to slow down the flow.
The local ecology center is studying local creeks today, measuring the run off, testing for sediment levels, watching for cloudy water and how soon it clears, among other things. Fish need clear water. When even small waterways hold the water longer, it decreases the amount of water that ends up in the larger creeks, slowing the absorption and helping recharge the water table.
California’s drought has a welcome reprieve with this storm. But no one is fooled or letting down their guard. Having enough water to grow so much of the state’s, not to mention the country’s, produce, is essential to our economy. And it’s scary to imagine California the desert it used to be before the California water project began to move snowmelt around the state.
Yes, it’s weird. The days are gorgeous. We are hearing of snow and cold in much of the country and we sit in bliss with the whole day feeling like a warm summer evening. The sun stays low. It doesn’t get too hot.
We know we need rain. And we’d love to see it on the horizon. But we’ll put up with this loveliness as we don’t have much of a choice.
We’ll be back at the local Farmers’ Market this week, after a three week break. And we’ll have plenty!
Yikes! We’re 3 days into summer and rain is predicted. Possibly more than an inch over the next couple of days. That is a very unusual forecast for this spot on the globe at this time of the year. The impact for the farm and the crops is minimal though the moisture will certainly encourage weeds to germinate all over the place. Formerly clean beds will need attention before the crop is over run with something unwanted.
We had quite a storm on Sunday. Our buckets indicate 6+ inches. Before we left for Christmas festivities and a 2 hour drive south through the downpour, we drove around the farm to get an idea of how the new drainage was working. And what we would have available in the coming weeks.
We were well prepared for this huge storm. The fields look darn good and there is plenty to harvest out there, thanks to recognizing how to make things better and having the equipment and carving out the time to make it happen.
Rain is expected tomorrow. So much to do to prepare. The crew is racing to finish picking and packing for the restaurant orders and the Farmers’ Market, so they can go out in the fields. Planting, covering beds, harvesting …
Paul is spending his day on the tractor…from one to another, spreading the new pile of compost before it needs to be covered and the fields are too wet to drive on. Getting another application of compost on now, then allowing the rain to soak it in, will do everything a world of good.