This past week has been unbelievable. At the beginning of the week everything was covered in over a foot of snow. By Friday practically all the snow was gone and we had more then doubled the number of animals on the farm!
For the first half of the week we kept busy getting everything as lined up as humanly possible so that by the second half of the week (when the snow had receded) we could sprint on garden prep and PLANTING!
Yes, we're PLANTING. At the beginning of the week we were a little behind schedule. But by the time we quit for the weekend we should be reasonably back on track.
But lets backup a second. Because on Monday everything was still completely submerged in white. Like over a foot of snow. Of course we'd been keeping an eye on the 10-day so we knew a ginormous wave of warm was headed our way. But just how much change that wave would bring was difficult to calculate. After all, there was still a LOT of snow everywhere.
So on Monday we plugged away on whatever productive things we could find, just biding our time...
On Tuesday we had a bit of a surprise--Baby chicks arrived in the mail! We were anticipating them on Wednesday so a Tuesday arrival wasn't problematic but it did rearrange our day a bit while we got all 270 settled snugly into the brooder with adequate heat and dry bedding. For the rest of the day we continued to chip away at productive projects while the temps slowly began to rise and the snow got slushy.
Wednesday proved to be the most dramatic as it started with a white ground and ended with soggy brown ground. It was a very strange and transformative day.
Now that the ground was exposed it became a waiting game for it to dry out JUST enough to get the first plants in. Thankfully, there was a breeze working in our favor. And, because we've been working the soil for a few season now we've also improved the grounds ability to absorb and hold moisture which is really helpful in the early spring. We spent our time doing odds and ends getting tools ready and... waiting.
We were also waiting for a nearby worm farm to deliver a season's worth of worm castings. These are one of our main soil amendments and a necessary component for prepping the garden beds. The soggy ground had delayed the delivery but he was prepared to delivery Thursday if the ground was reasonable. That delivery was the last piece to get in place.
Thursday morning we more or less finished the last of our various tasks and around lunch time we got the call that the delivery of worm castings was on its way! Perfect timing.
Once the bags of castings were set in place around the garden it was all hands on deck getting the first critical garden beds prepped! adding amendments, broadforking for deep oxygen penetration, tilthing the surface and mixing in the amendments, marking out the plant spacings and then...finally... putting in transplants!
Most of the beds were prepped Thursday afternoon by the team and which put the pressure on us to finish the ground prep and focus on a lot of transplanting Friday.
Temps had been glorious for most of the week. But its all headed back to cold over the weekend. There is even snow in the forecast. So while we did get a lot of plants in the ground, some of the momentum was held up by the need to put row covers on a lot of the new plantings! We don't want them to be hurt right after we set them out!
From a thick blanket of snow to a huge chunk of planting in the ground in less then a week!
It is amazing how fast the weather in central MN can change and how drastic of a shift it can be. The only way to survive is to be nimble and stay focused. We've got a great team who knows whats going on and is able to stay productive during delays and pounce on the critical jobs when the opportunity is there. They know the value of staying on track and the importance of being flexible. Which is why we like a good human centric operation--machines can rarely be as flexible and adjustable as a good team of humans. We couldn't do it without them!
But this is just the first act. Surely there will be many more twists and turns over the course of the season. Lets hope we can keep our heads above water and roll with the punches through the rest of it!
Thanks for reading!
Here's a video update (please excuse the wind!):