Every three months, we lap around merrily with a camera and our good dog, taking photos of the farm. Having photos throughout the year gives us a chance to reflect on the seasons and our progress on various projects. Here are a couple of the panoramic images over the course of 2013. (Maybe you remember, we did this last year too).
Special things to note in the photos are the appearance of an additional bee hive after we caught a wild swarm in June, all hand-prepped beds and application of thick straw mulch for weed suppression/soil moisture retention, and using re-may row covers to help manage soil temperature for the sweet potatoes and pest pressure on the mustard greens (as a bonus, the re-may also made for ever changing and lawless, wind-crafted farm art). You will also certainly observe one of the biggest drawbacks to our no-till management: weeds. In excess.
Here are another couple compilations of shots, all from the same vantage. This one looking east from the house (where the new herb garden is). These are photos, taken every three months, starting in March 2012 to December 2013. And a similar series, this one of the front field:What is most remarkable to us is the how visibly different our first two growing seasons were as regards moisture. Beyond the visible differences, we both felt that 2013 was a more difficult year. We had new weather challenges of late spring snow that delayed planting, hail storms, and a heavy snow in early fall that flattened most crops still in the field as well as prematurely ending the farmer’s market season. We did better at growing high quality and diverse crops, but flea beetles still were a persistent pest and our beloved arugula has yet to make it into our CSA shares. As we are planning for year three, we both feel more in touch with the farm, but also more aware of how little we know. It is humbling to to realize how dependent our success is on that which is totally beyond our control, but at the same time we feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work on the endlessly fascinating puzzle of building a diverse and resilient farmstead and the community that supports it.