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End of the Year

December 31, 2016
Winter leeks in the field

Things have slowed down on the farm since the last delivery of the regular season, just before Thanksgiving. The early fall rains put an end to tractor work in the fields before all the work was done. We got some fields in cover crop for the winter, but not all that we had planned. We did get the garlic planted during the driest moments at the end of October. The rains came early, but the cold did not. Many of our fall nights were warmer than they had been all summer! Our first frost didn’t come until early December and, finally, with some nights getting down into the low 20’s we turned off the water in the fields and hoop houses. Still, we harvested a few more things from the fields for deliveries in December. The rest of the work for the farm has been indoors: a women farmers’ conference (me), maintenance work on equipment (Steven), finishing up bookwork, starting in on planning for 2017, and celebrating a few holidays in between.

Here are a few highlights from 2016 at Bethel Springs Farm:

wp_20161231_010A new flock of laying hens. The girls have changed a bit from earlier in the season. About half of them like to venture outside their fenced pasture now, so we are considering additional fencing options. We moved them up close to the house for the winter where it is easier to take care of them.

Steven’s retirement. Steven’s last day of work for the City of Portland was September 1. His first day of full time work on the farm was September 2, and I have been smiling ever since. It has been great working together on the farm, though we are usually working on different things.  I already wonder, how did we get things done when he was just working weekends?

Beans in the cage, ready to shell

A bean sheller. We made a big investment in our dry beans: a Roto-Fingers Pea-Bean Sheller. We ordered it from Mississippi at the end of September. It is amazing! A job that took us months we can now finish in a matter of hours: throw the beans in a barrel shaped cage, turn on the motor and let the fingers inside the cage beat the beans out of their pods. Add a shaker basket and a blower and the beans are cleaned up and ready to go! We think dry beans are fun to grow and this makes it possible for us to grow more of them.  We’ll be picking out a few new varieties to add to our crop plan for next year.

Out in the wider world, I feel some trepidation about what 2017 will bring. Here on the farm, however, we are looking forward to the possibilities. We hope your 2017 is full of possibilities, too.

Possible cabbage for January 2017
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