Summer Week #3: Wednesday, June 20th – Everyother Group A
The other weekend, Zea and I indulged in a Sunday morning of snacking in the strawberry patch (as we hope many of you will do this coming Saturday, the 23rd). As we headed back toward the house, she pointed to the ground and asked “What are those big blue snakes?” Without knowing it, Zea had just coined the new favorite term around the farm for the irrigation hoses.
Right now these hoses crisscross the farm and are the bane of Mike’s existence. I don’t usually like to brag or complain about the crazy hours we work as farmers, after all we have chosen this lifestyle…. but if you want to see a farmer pulling consecutive 14 hour days for weeks on end, just take away the rain. My responsibilities to our daughter mean that I can’t really add on too many additional hours to my work week; Zea has already spoken for them. So when the rain doesn’t come, it falls on Mike’s shoulders to do all the extra work required to keep our vegetables hydrated.
When the rain goes away, the blue snakes come out.
So what are the blue snakes? They are large plastic hoses that lay flat on the ground when not full of water – hence the technical term ‘layflat’. Think of a fire hose. At our home farm these hoses are laid out so that every single field can be reached with our irrigation gun. The gun is attached to a reel. Mike pulls the gun out from the reel with the tractor (or sometimes our ATV) down the length of a vegetable bed – a few hundred feet. Then he fires up the reel, and slowly it pulls the gun back to it. In this way, one high-power sprinkler can water about 10 beds at a time. It takes about 8 hours to lay down 1 inch of water on a 400 foot bed. It equates to about 14,000 gallons per 1/2 acre. It takes Mike a full 7 days to get water on every field of the farm.
We’ve been running irrigation for almost 3 straight weeks; 3 runs per day; 14,000 gallons per run…. It’s a mind-boggling amount of water. The big blue snakes really create a strong sense of admiration (and desire) for pure, natural rain from the sky.
As much as the blue snakes bedevil Mike, they are better than the alternative. While Zea misses her Daddy, and has resorted to making imaginary ‘irrigation’ dishes in her play kitchen, we still have beautiful veggies to put in your boxes. Many other area CSAs don’t have a good irrigation system, and thus their boxes are looking a little sparse. So cheers to the blue snakes for providing such great food, despite the challenging natural conditions.
In your box this week you’ll see the last of the strawberries as well as the last of the sugar snaps. While it has been a fantastic season for the strawberries, it was an extremely short season for the snap peas, as they don’t like hot weather at all. You will find a small bunch of arugula in your box this week, which is a spicy, nutty green great for salads. The only other item perhaps new to you will be the pearl (or spring) onions. The greens can be used the same way as scallions. If you have questions about what’s in your box, you’ll notice posters at your site that aim to help you identify veggies that may be new to you.
Enjoy your veggies! Sincerely, Cassie, Mike, and Zea