Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Dirty Life

I don't have time to write this, I got up at 5am, it’s almost 9pm now, and I am getting up at 4:30am, but I don’t care.
I also don’t care that I’m eating blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. It’s the little things that make the farm life worth it.
I was gonna pay myself for working on the farm, and then farm happened. I don’t think I’m getting paid. That’s okay.
To be honest it’s really hard. Not every waking moment, not getting up at 5am everyday even, but it is wearing. I live where I work. At the end of a 12 hour day (I usually start farm work at 6:30am) I don’t get to go home from work, I live at work. Of course there are pros and cons to it. I usually see the pros, but eventually I need a break. I usually get enough work off the farm doing side jobs that it gives me enough break. However, there come times when I just need to get out into a coffee shop and absorb it all.

Managing a farm is frustrating, because there are too many things to do. There are literally too many tasks on a farm to complete them all. The only farm that gets everything done isn’t making money, because the amount of workers to work is too high.
I have to think about soil mixes, and organic fertilizers and when I want to spray, because the ideal time is in the morning, but there’s more to be done early in the day and it gets pushed to the afternoon and then I can’t spray because the oil might sunburn the leaves. The tomatoes need twining to keep them up, I really need to water the okra, but because it’s above the garden I don’t always think of it and it is drying up. I should’ve thinned the greens growing by the house, but I didn’t get around to it and now they’re competing too much and stressing each other out. I really need to think about starting the Fall seeds because it takes 3 months for them to mature, and 3 months from now is September, almost Fall. With farming you’re always looking ahead, always planning, always trying to be one step ahead of nature. The greenhouse plants need watering twice a day, I usually do it once because I’m trying to figure out where I can buy a large quantity of greensand and blood meal at a good price. I’m researching my garden books to figure out what they’re doing wrong and what they’re doing right. I’m also trying to figure out how the freckle you grow good micro greens. It’s simple, right? You plant a seed and cut it when it’s an inch tall? Apparently I’m missing something.

It’s good though, it really is. I’m making connections with breweries to pick up spent grains, and local food banks for getting excess waste. We pick up bread from the local bakery for our pigs and chickens. I’m meeting people all the time who are interested in farming and what we’re doing and our Farm to Table dinners seem to be an amazing hit. Someone recently asked me how I was feeling about this, if I was planning to continue on for next year. While I’m not ready to say I’m here for 10 years I’m ready to commit to the next year and probably the next. I’ve put too much into this to just walk away. 

I really need to take some business classes, online, free, or something, I think they would help. I’m doing my best, but I know I can learn more. Social media networking I’d love to learn more about, but some of it kind of comes naturally. Gardening is a passion I’ve had for a long time, but I’m not expert. It makes me wonder, if I am doing all this at such an amateur level, is everybody else doing the same thing?

I love the place. I love the people I’ve met, it’s a great community to be in. Chattanooga is a cool town, big enough to have a choice of what gourmet restaurant to eat at, but small enough that your view is not obscured by a dozen sky scrapers every time you take that selfie. 

English Vintner