We all know that because of the global pandemic, this year is like no other. Certainly, the farm has been impacted with erratic prices and late delivery of custom-made specialized equipment. But the grass grows, Covid or not. Cows calve; goats kid; corn grows. Alone in the mornings walking down the farm road, climate change is obvious, a global pandemic not so much.
What is obvious to me? The heat, first. June and July had long stretches of near record-breaking temperatures. Now, on the first day of August, it is cool, and still raining. Slow showers seem a thing of the past. We get gully washers or nothing, and I mean that quite literally. Any place which has been tilled, even a bit to control weeds, has washed. We are using our summer cover crop, buckwheat, as best we can, but with the CBD hemp plants, it’s a losing battle. #1 on my list for Monday is to look at the problem with our farm foreman and make a plan.
Other than the hemp, grown organically, but otherwise as if it were tobacco, I’m pleased how the rye/vetch cover or Austrian pea/oat cover has helped soil stability and porosity. The organic crops are thriving…if we could just get the Johnson grass out of the organic soybeans! But weed competition has improved, and the new roller crimper, delivered late because of COVID, should help even more.
COVID has had an obvious negative impact on our local circular economy. This is seen most clearly at the farm-to-table restaurant, at which we are seating outside only. Sales are about ½ of what we need, and the farm has suffered because we have raised too much corn, too many tomatoes, too much squash, too many beans, and way too many cucumbers. We are developing some fun promotions to give this away, but it’s all cost, no income for Mt. Folly.
But we are way better off than our friends who are locked down in small apartments. We step out the door and walk for miles. On these long walks, thinking, not talking on the darned cell phone, I have determined we’ll persevere, then win!