Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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This has been a brutal season

This growing season has been brutal in our part of the country.  Nevertheless, I knew we were in for a problem back in the winter.  Over the course of my life, when inquiring about a problem, situation, function, example, question or any other unknown or known occurrence, I have heard in essence the same meaning, repeatedly, when talking to experts or professionals in their field.  It is not always the same words and there are different phrases used when the person is describing their perspective or knowledge.  However, the out come is always the same they are genuinely stymied and do not know the answer.

It has been phrases like, "I've never seen that before," or "This is the first time I have heard of that," or "It has never done that before," or "In all my years this is the first time (fill in the blank)," or "No, I have not come across that before,".  It is not complex things, I do not deal with things of unearthly origin or advanced technological solutions.  At work or at home or growing I have heard these comments in different situations.

Sometimes we joke about my ability to be in a place when something completely bizarre happens.  One of my colleagues long ago tagged me as “Schleprock” a character on the Flintstone’s.  I'm not saying this is always the case because, I consider my life to be very blessed and I have been able to do good things that help family and community.  But, there is that other side, a small side, but it is a part firmly in place. 

We had a soil professional on the property; he spent his entire life in the farming community and learning about soils.  I took him to the end of the high-tunnel where we had so much trouble putting in the footers (see This is no Easy Project).  I picked up a piece of the soil and gave it to him to examine.  He looks at it, rubs it between his fingers and says, "Huh, I have never seen this before.  It looks like it has been fired or was part of a building".  You figure the odds, out of fifteen acres; I was able to select an area that may be on top of an out-building used in the 1800's or earlier.  

This brings me back to my point on this summer’s drought.  When the two water tanks arrived, I made sure to have them placed and hooked up for the early spring rain.  The reason we got them was that in past years we would lose water after the two three thousand tanks filled but the rains kept coming.  Then there was a part of me that thought, "With my luck we'll have a drought this year".   

I know there is no correlation between me buying water tanks and the rain not coming, but it does not surprise me.  I am use to people being surprised when I ask for explanations and they should know the answer but it is the first time they have encounter the problem or situation that I am in.  I am an optimist, heavily cloaked in a thick layer of pessimism.

It came as no surprise the first time I bought water this summer that it rained the next day.  It did not rain enough, but the fact that it rained at all was surprising.  It was not predicted and it was a quick moving front.  That was all the rain we got for the next nineteen days.  That is until I bought another four thousand gallons of water.  It sprinkled while the water was being pumped from the truck to the tanks but it was not enough to make the grass wet.  I could not help but still see the irony however, slight.

Things are coming in slow, everyone is complaining and we are doing our best.  The corn is failing and the chickens are down sixty percent in laying capacity.  Each year growing has seemed to have unique characteristics or personality and this season is turning out to be just brutal.

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