It worked out good.
Saturday afternoon as I was spreading the last of the manure, the first of the snow arrived – a few minutes of intense flurries followed by sunshine, then more flurries - a reminder that fall was about over and winter was arriving.
The good part was that I finished spreading the manure and thus finished the last of the big fall jobs here on the farm.
It has been a full November.
After markets were over at the end of October, we concentrated on cleaning up the farm and getting it ready for winter.
The first job was cleaning up whatever vegetables were left. Most could just be mowed down and the ground worked up. Tomatoes were more work as we had to remove the string, yank the bamboo stakes, and pull the steel posts (with the tractor). Then they were mowed and disced under.
The only vegetables remaining in the fields now are a few rows of kale and some swiss chard. (We used some fresh kale in our lasagna tonight!)
Next we removed almost 300 peach trees. Because peach trees only last a dozen years or so, we remove a percentage of our trees each fall & each spring we plant new ones. This way we maintain a healthy & productive orchard. Not all 300 trees will be replaced next spring though – we are downsizing our peach orchard slightly and using the ground for more vegetables for our CSA.
Twenty four cherry trees also hit the dirt. These will definitely not be replaced! With weather becoming more uncertain, a good harvest of quality cherries seems to happen less frequently – in other words, we’ve tired of losing money and getting stressed by this crop. The land will be better used for other things.
After we cut down the trees, a backhoe pulled the stumps.
We gathered roots, then plowed the ground and gathered roots again. Some of the cherry trees were more than 50 years old – they had a lot of big roots!
The tree branches, stumps & roots were burned. Because there were so many windy days this month it was difficult to burn safely. In the end we put a lot of the stumps in a windrow and will burn them later.
Trees gone, roots pulled, and ground smoothed.
The last major task of the fall was to spread manure, lime, compost & leaves – on the open ground & throughout the orchards. Manure & lime are trucked in. Leaves & grass clippings are dumped all season by a lawn care business – they get a free place to dump their waste, and we get lots of good stuff to feed the soil!
And so it was the final few heaps of manure I was spreading on Saturday when the reminder of winter fell from the sky. This week – still lots of odd jobs, mostly small tasks that need to get done. We won’t run out of work just yet.
But the weather is colder, and the first seed catalogues have already come in the mail … It’s must almost be time to light a fire in the wood stove, put on the coffee and start
dreaming planning for next season.