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Farmer's Market 7-13-19

Posted 7/13/2019 6:11am by Larry Brandenburg.

Friends,

It has been a good week at Harmony Fields Farm.  We have been able to accomplish some of our field work goals thanks to the lack of rain.  A lot of bed preparation for fall crops and continued nurturing of crops currently in production. However, it has been really hot and humid. Beth and I are discovering that it's much more challenging in our 60's to work outside under the hot sun than it was when we were younger. 

Many of my fondest memories of growing up involve putting up hay in the summer.  Small square bales that had to be loaded on a wagon then hauled to the barn and unloaded and stacked.  I remember how hot and sweaty I got but that at the end of the day I still had plenty of energy to go out and play basketball for a couple hours after supper.  As they say, "Youth is wasted on youth."

I was lucky that when I was about fifteen years old I apprenticed myself to a farmer in our community.  Raymond Hayes was the "big" farmer who managed several farms and grew acres of crops.  Most of the farmers in our area were small farmers and most had full time jobs in town.  Very similar to how it is today.  But if you were lucky enough to talk Raymond into taking you under your wings, then you wold really learn how to do things right.  When I started I was not old enough to legally drive (although that didn't stop me from taking the occasional spin down the road ) and my father would deliver me to Raymond's place every morning and pick me up in the evening.

I had visions of driving his large tractors and hauling stuff around on wagons.  My first task for him was to organize tobacco sticks in the barn.  When you cut tobacco stalks they are speared onto a four foot long one inch square stick until it is full of stalks.  These sticks of tobacco are then taken to the barn where they are hung up to dry.  In the fall they are taken down and the stalks removed from them and the leaves stripped off and packed up to take to market.  Often the sticks are then thrown into the barn in haphazard fashion to be sorted out later.  That was my new task in my journey to learn how to be a real, big-time farmer.  

As I glanced into the barn I saw not just hundred's of sticks but thousands.  Maybe millions or billions.  My heart sank as my vision of disking ground on the big IH Super M tractor slowing sank into oblivion.  I did not think this was a worthy task of an eager young apprentice who was ready to take on the world of farming in a big way.

It took me two weeks to get all the sticks organized and stacked but when it was finished I felt really good about how things looked.  And I also learned some incredible lessons about farming.  It takes patience. It takes perseverance. It takes a vision for how things will look when you are finished. And, no matter how frustrating it may be at times, you don't give up.  This experience truly helped establish the foundation and blueprint for how life should be lived.

So now, almost fifty years later, the lessons are still the same. Patience, perseverance and a vision for the future. And don't give up. The weather this year has been challenging. But, it is becoming obvious that the changes in weather are no longer a fluke, but an ongoing reality. To adapt we will have to be creative and open to adaptation.  This will take patience and perseverance and vision for what organic farming in the future may look like.

I think it's pretty exciting.  Thank you for joining us on this journey.  Come see us today at the market.

Larry  

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