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Monday, November 5, 2012

Now What?

After 29 weeks as an apprentice I now have to figure out what to do with all this knowledge and experience I have gained. As of yet the only thing I have truly figured out is that I have a lot left to learn. For the next several months the plan is to work a few days a week at Burge and a few days a week at Crystal Organic Farm.  Long term I hope to find a situation on a small farm where I can take on more responsibility either as an assistant or full fledged farm manager.

I haven't quite decided what format the blog will take from here on or how often I will update it. I would love your feedback. What would you like to know, see or read about?

For now I'll post a bit about my first week as a "professional" farm hand.

Welcome to Crystal Organic Farm!

...where we have Chickens! And this week we got in a shipment of baby chicks. They arrive in the mail, USPS, in a cardboard box with holes. I got to help move them into their new home, 3 large plastic bins in the garage. Each bin has bedding, a feed tray with starter food, a poultry waterer, a screen on top and a heat lamp. They are so cute when they are this little. I took a video for you!

Chick nursery
So. So. Cute.
and Fluffy!


My first day at Crystal was humbling. We harvested all day for Whole Foods, Turnip Truck (a local produce distributor that supplies high end restaurants in Atlanta), and restaurants. The crew at Crystal have been there for years and are real pros. I felt horribly slow but everyone was very gracious and welcoming. I went back on Friday and tried to focus on working faster and more efficiently. I felt good at the end of the day. It may be a while before I can keep up but I have a clear goal of getting faster.

Harvest list

Dried Okra Pods

Pac Choi
Rainbow Chard

Cherry Tomatoes


Back at Burge

At Burge this week I helped harvest for the CSA on Tuesday. I also worked Thursday helping to get things winterized. 
Harvesting Wild Persimmons

Orchard Persimmons

Wild Persimmons
Fall CSA Week 11

We closed the doors on the Hoop Houses that had them. In HH 1 the rolled up doors had apparently trapped hundreds of butterflies whose wings came fluttering down and now litter the ground. It looks like a butterfly bomb went off in there. It would be sad except that I know how much damage their larvae (caterpillars) have caused in this Hoop House. It seems like poetic justice.

Butterfly Bomb

There were literally hundreds

Row covers provide protection from wind and cold

Hoop House Tomatoes


Thursday Ivan, Daniel and I build end caps for the newer Hoop Houses that don't have doors. It is getting cold enough at night now that we are closing the doors to keep the heat in over night.

Left: Done, Right: up next

Wiggle Wire

How it works: We have one large sheet of plastic for each end. There are channels running across the top of the hoop house where you place wiggle wire to hold the plastic in place.

We pulled the center up and placed the wiggle wire, then stretched the bottom, keeping the bottom of the plastic centered, and attached it to the sides. Then we went back up and place the wiggle wire all along the outside edge.

These end caps are in place for the duration of the winter. When it is warm (most days) we will roll the sides of the hoop houses up to allow the wind to cool them. At night we will roll them down to hold the heat in.

Top Center and Sides in place

Happy Halloween!


Rat Trap, complete with victim :(

Sweet Potato Skull Carving by Daniel


Ella and Finn- Carrots and Peas

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