I am back to trying to blog. I am ready to do this thing as regularly as I can, because boy do I like writing. Here are some random thoughts on this Tuesday. We are three weeks into Jody working his new job and things are going fairly smoothly. We have adjusted to the changes it brings on the farm. I haven’t been able to see my husband nearly as much as I like, but I know he likes staying busy. A typical day has now gotten even busier, even busier than before. I now have to get my youngest up and drop him off, before I can head to work. It adds a few minutes onto my day, but I enjoy the time with him. I am trying to savor every minute, because this Fall he will be in preschool. That will be a hard day for this Mama.
One thing my husband and I have been doing, is checking our fields. I added this picture of us checking the fields in the Fall, since I haven’t taken any pictures this year. We have to see what kind of stand we have and what kind of weeds are growing. How many husband and wives do you know pull up weeds, then sit around talking about and staring at the weed? And I do mean the kind of weeds that grow in a crop that is not the crop. This is an important step in crop management, because then my hubby knows how much and what to spray. This is also based on the crop that is growing, we have barley and wheat this year. My hubby has been spraying over the last few weeks and will probably have to spray again before harvest. It keeps him busy. He will also be working on some of our equipment so that it will be ready to go.
I have an unhealthy obsession with sweet potatoes that are clean and in a box. I like to take pictures of them. I find it so beautiful to look at something that we grew and how much hard work went into them. We still have a lot of potatoes left from last year. Most of them look really rough, so they will end up being pig food. Hopefully this year, we get more rain and the heat isn’t as bad. We have had some good weather the last couple of weeks and it has me itching to plant something. I can’t wait to get back out there and smell some dirt. (Another thing that makes me weird)
Alright so I really feel like I am on a roll with blogging now! I actually have a couple other blogs going in a draft state. I wanted to get this one posted pretty quickly because I know I left everyone hanging with what our next step was with the sweet potato plants. We got up bright and early on Saturday (my first official day of summer break) and headed different directions. I went to check the field to see just how muddy it was and the hubby went to finish working on his setters. A setter is this really cool machine that attached to the back of the tractor. People actually sit on it and feed little plants into the ground. At the bottom it first puts a whole in the ground, then some water, and then it drops in the plant. The whole thing looked pretty cool! We are only trying this out, so we got a two-row setter.
So it took most of the day to get everything ready and then to try out the setter. We started with family and planted about eight rows, we were missing the people who usually walk behind. The next day we had lots of help and an early start. Even with that we didn’t get nowhere near as far as we had planned. The machine had to have lots of adjustments and everyone was new to planting this way. It was also Father’s Day and I made the hubby quit a little early so that I could fix him a nice steak dinner.
On the third day, we got an even earlier start. Everyone also knew exactly what they were doing, so we moved along quickly. We worked, sweated, wiped our brows, and worked some more. It felt pretty good to move on up the field. Around 4:30 we were so close we could see the finish line. The sky had been looking pretty dark and thunder was rumbling in the distance. I tried my best to just stay focus and hurry. I knew I wanted to get as many little plants in the ground, so that they could enjoy the rain. I really just got into a groove pushing little plants in the ground and ignoring the clouds that were coming. I remember looking up a few times and thinking the sky looked so dark. Finally it started sprinkling a little rain, but we worked even harder. I mean we were about ten short rows from being completely finished. The rain started coming down harder and we decided to run out of the field. I ran to my car thinking I would try to get it out of the field, but once I got in there I realized my hubby had me blocked in. He had run and jumped in his truck so we were stuck in two different trucks. As soon as I feel so thankful for rain, we start to have hail. It was a terrible sinking feeling to watch 3 days of hard work get beat with hail. It was just such an emotional thing, we went from being so excited that morning to being devastated after the storm. To make everything much worse, my dad calls and tells me that some of the buildings at the dairy. At that point I ran and jumped in the truck with my hubby, so we could drive the tractor home. After the storm we came out and assessed the damage. Here are some pictures to close out this post.
I promised I was going to try to blog as much as possible. It looks like I am holding up my end of the bargain! I just have so much stuff going on right now and I want to share how busy we have been. We actually got five acres of sweet potatoes planted. It was not nearly as easy as it sounds. I am used to someone grabbing the planters and planting about 15 to 20 acres a day. It took us four days to get all those little plants in the ground and it definitely was an adventure. This whole adventure started after my hubby met one of the biggest sweet potato farmers in the state of North Carolina, Jim Jones. We decided to head up to visit in February and that was all it took to convince me that it was worth a try. We’ve done some research and bought some different machinery. In order to plant sweet potatoes you have to start with a hill so we started by plowing. The field had to be plowed a few times to get the ground just perfect. Then we used a hiller that made two rows of hills. The field looked something like this
We had to call Jim Jones and then wait on him to have all the sweet potato slips ready. The slip was a cutting from a sweet potato plant packed into a box. My hubby calls me on Thursday, when I was desperately trying to finish up paperwork at school, and tells me we were headed to Raleigh to pick up the slips. So around 3:00 we headed out with a U-haul trailer. He had ended up renting a trailer to make sure the slips did not get damaged on the way back. When we got there I was amazed at all the action going on. We were quickly loaded and instructed on how to make our slips last the longest. We were told we had about 5 days if we kept them in a cooler at 65 degrees. So imagine the panic that set in with me when we didn’t really have a good place to put them. We have a building, but it is full of junk. I knew we could spend an hour and have it cleaned out, but we wouldn’t be home until 1 am! So where do you put boxes of sweet potato slips at 1 am? I could see the panic look on my hubby’s face. So I fixed the problem as any dutiful wife would do. My idea was to put them in the living room. It’s not much different from having a houseplant, this was like having 76,000 house plants. The plans were to start planting the very next day so that wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Tomorrow sometime we would take them out and put them under a shade tree. Of course our plans quickly changed when it started raining that very same night and rained on into Friday. I was glad the ground would be wet but not happy my living room looked like a Steven King novel. We probably could have started doing something Friday night, but I wanted to attend the Dairy Appreciation Dinner with my family. It is not often that you get to see so many people who love dairy as much as my family does. Here are a couple of pictures from the dinner.
Thanks for reading and on my next blog post I can explain the next few steps we took with our sweet potato crop.