Farmer John Writes: When He Twists His Foot

 In Farm News

Week 13, October 1st – 5th, 2019

The Blue Sky and the Rain
The sky was blue on a recent afternoon. It seemed like a good time to do some overdue tractor work, as rain was supposed to arrive again during the night. Within ten minutes, rain fell from the blue sky. The sky was not really sky blue, but still, it was a true blue. The rain poured out of this sky, maybe an inch of rain. 

The last time I saw rain fall from a blue sky was in 1993. In 1993, I could sometimes see walls of rain in the distance, like rivers falling. Sometimes these rivers of rain would stay put a quarter mile away; sometimes they would creep towards us and finally inundate us. This was sometimes out of a blue sky. When a blue sky rains, the computer models for predicting the weather fail, or at least falter. 

We are farming improvisationally these days. Planning is folly. Yet, each pack must happen. The crew must continually get the work done. Some days, they slog through the harvest, rain gear keeping them somewhat dry, their boots sinking inches into the mud. 


the forecast is guessing rain for 9 out of the next 11 days

Victor said that when he is sinking into the mud, if he twists his foot a little bit when he is taking the next step; this twist keeps his boot from slipping off.

In the past two seasons, heavy rains prevailed throughout late summer, which took a large toll on our fall crops. Because we had a late summer dry spell this season, we got many late planted crops up and heading towards maturity before the heavy rains started. Mostly, we have beautiful fall crops. 

I am astounded that we can keep the harvests rolling in, that we can fill your boxes according to your preferences. The bounty seems a reality separate from the reality of the weather.

We have the hardest working crew ever. They do the work with great joy and enthusiasm. Some of the crew members are hysterically funny. The only letup in the work is when the workers laugh so hard they can’t keep their hands working.

Recently, a carload of crew members entered the barn for our early morning meeting, laughing and singing. 

farm fashion: Mayra and kohlrabi leaf

Crop Report, Current and Upcoming

  • Broccoli & cabbage–nice
  • Brussels sprouts–planted early, maturing very slowly
  • Winter squash–excellent
  • Beets– mediocre crop, coming soon
  • Carrots–very good, but we need a break from the rain to harvest more
  • Choi and Chinese cabbage–excellent
  • Kohlrabi–excellent
  • Radishes–nice, almost ready
  • Head lettuce–nice, but slow
  • Potatoes–looks like a very good crop; need dry soil to harvest
  • Turnips–look good
  • Leeks–look good, coming on slowly
  • Daikon radishes–look good
  • Kale–great
  • Chard–good
  • Carrots–good, need dry soil to harvest more
  • Celeriac–lost to the early summer rains
  • (I might be forgetting something.)

young lettuce

Our fabulous friends from Red Acre Farm in southern Utah, Sara and Symbria Patterson, flew in for the weekend to prepare a dinner for a lovely gathering here celebrating Michaelmas, in honor of the Archangel Michael. Earlier, Sara and Symbria had shared a legend with me about blackberries: Saint Michael battled with the devil in heaven and finally succeeded in throwing him out. The devil landed on earth in a blackberry patch. Before the devil landed in the blackberry patch, the blackberries were good to eat. After the devil’s landing, the blackberries must be avoided. Blackberry torte is a customary dish to make in honor of Saint Michael’s deed.

We agreed to provide the blackberries for the torte that Sara and Symbria were planning to make. We procured actual blackberries, the fruit, but we also had two Blackberry phones lying around so I put the two phones in a bowl, covered the bowl with tin foil and labelled it Blackberries. Surprise, Symbria and Sara.

the other Blackberries

Jokes can persist for a long time on a farm. Being a farm joke, I will think this Blackberry joke is funny for years to come. 

A story about us, the Pattersons and Blackberries: a few years back, Sara, Symbria, Haidy and I were driving around in rural Kentucky after the Biodynamic Conference in Louisville. It was an eerie night. Rural Kentucky felt like it was in the past. We were driving a vintage Lincoln town car looking for a friend’s farm. We were lost. The gravel road brought us to a stream with no bridge. Obviously, locals just drove through the stream to get to the other side. That’s common with back roads and streams in rural Kentuckywe found out later.

We didn’t ford the stream. We backed up the narrow path a long way in order to turn the Lincoln around. I couldn’t find my phone. Symbria reached under her seat to look for it and procured a fallen phone; however, it was not my iPhone. It was a Blackberry phone that had been lost years ago in the Lincoln. It was mightily strange to be handed an ancient Blackberry phone in an ancient place in an ancient car, a sort of twilight zone.

The blackberry torte was delicious.

Angelic Organics Learning Center’s 12th Annual Harvest Moon Dinner, Thursday, October 3
Join like-minded people for a delicious dinner, drinks, live music—and much more. Experience the farm in the city–goats included.

Location: The Ivy Room, 12 East Ohio Street, Chicago, IL

5 – 6 PM VIP Reception: panel discussion about increasing the food supply of local and sustainable food

6 – 9:30 PM Cocktail Reception and Dinner, featuring local, seasonal and organic ingredients

Angelic Organics Learning Center relies on the generosity of people like you.

Learn more and purchase tickets here: 2019 Harvest Moon Dinner

Your Share
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Please Fold Your Boxes Properly and Return Them
The farm re-uses the vegetable boxes. Flaps are easily torn when the boxes are dismantled improperly, and then the box bottom might later burst open with fresh, organic local produce heading towards the floor. Please carefully flatten your box and return it to your delivery site. If you receive home delivery, place your flattened, empty box it in the location where your box is delivered.

Thank You
Thank you for being with us for a dramatic farming adventure this season. 

Farmer John

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