"This growing season is just terrible." (overheard from many farmers many days this week). True. But not quite also as easy as that. It's also just confusing, concerning, an just plain weird. Not only have we never had this much water, but then there's the out of place heat, and on and on. It demands constant adjustment; a new normal every day. Last week left me somewhat hopeful that we were getting ready to leave Adventureland and return back to the reliable province of Harvesting-Sweet-Potatoes-in-the-New-England-Autumn. On Saturday, I mowed the vines and cleared the paths in the North Field at Small One's Farm. As I ended the week, I thought I knew where we were all headed.
When we dug the first bed on Monday, the soil was still muddy. Despite no rain for days, the soil stuck to the tubers or buried them under heavy clods. The yields were about half of last weeks' fields, and it took twice as long, but at least we were getting them out of the saturated ground. We bagged them for curing and brought them to the greenhouse. The next day, the strong smell clued us that they were way too wet in the bags. So, we transferred the 1400 lbs spuds into to black lugs which have more ventilation. Then we made more room in the greenhouse for more sweets to come later in the week. On Wednesday, we tried using our bed lifter so as not to throw heavy mud on the spuds. No mud clods, but also, not very loose, which left us clawing deep to get the spuds out. So, we went back to the new digger, this time at a slower speed to try to get the dirt to sift through the chain. Better. Then, with the Thursday forecast for rain getting stronger, but warm temps holding on, I figured it'd be better to dig now, and pick up the spuds after the rain. So we dug another, and then went to find cover.
The rain poured buckets right on cue (1.5"), but we felt prepared. Out to the field we went, only to find that we were in mud up to our ankles. What to do? With the cold weather coming and the potatoes exposed, nothing besides slog. I went and got my mud boots. Becca, Mason, and Ally, just took their shoes off and off they went, pulling over 2600 lbs of beautiful spuds out of the muck. Through the mud, or the heat, or the rain, still smiling and moving ever forward through Adventureland.
We hope you enjoy the harvest,
(for Karen, Abbe, Ellen, Alex, Ben, and Jake)