You know, if the customers didn’t come to the rainy markets, we wouldn’t go either. Of course, they aren’t record-breaking markets, just busy enough to make it worthwhile, which of course is the sole ray of light in this gloom slashed by sideways rain.
For truth be told, rainy markets are not great. Last week I soaked three rain jackets by 3 p.m. and was under our tents the whole time. It was still quite warm so I had to take off the rain pants, which were not breathable, resulting in soaked jeans, which of course got cold, so I put the rain pants back on, which was a real treat.
It is supposed to rain again this weekend and I believe I heard the terms “winter storm” and “weather warning” bandied about. I am abandoning the writing of this article for a moment to have a quick search for insulated rain pants. I know they’re here somewhere. Also on this weekend’s to-wear list: wool hats (two), wool socks (three), wool sweater (two) technical fabric layers (several), rubber boots, insulated boots, and running shoes in case it’s nice after all. Glove selection as usual is a dodgy issue: the ones I like to wear are going to be cold. Everything else is too bulky.
The trick for a rainy market is to remain positive for as long as possible, bring several changes of rain-gear and clothes, and don’t be surprised to be busy. The people need potatoes. The other trick is to dry everything out as much as possible between markets. Starting the day out soggy is a key to market-related depression.
Other than locating rain gear and drying things out, we had a tolerably busy and remarkable week on the farm. The first frost came down on Wednesday night which might have been a week earlier than usual. The snow line will now begin its inexorable creep down the mountainsides.
We also dispatched the two turkeys (a job I find spiritually taxing). As usually happens, by the end of it I had to wonder why I don’t get my turkey from the grocery store like a regular person so I don’t have to go through this. But once at the dinner table I will be reminded why by the taste and look that’s so different from the store-bought birds
The carrot harvest continues but has changed complexion: as of yesterday we are using the potato harvester, despite it’s unsuitability for carrots and its disgraceful performance doing that job last year. In the difficult conditions that we face — weed pressure coupled with heavy, wet soil — I am quite frankly relieved that we have the option. We started off yesterday, straining to deal with the situation using the old method and almost immediately lost heart. Enter the potato harvester which set sail with a delighted father at the helm, broken carrots dripping from every belt and chain.
Allowing a small scrap of positivity to now escape, I will say that it worked well in these conditions and once we made all the necessary adjustments, we hardly broke any carrots at all. To boot, the crew was unable to disguise their pleasure at once again being able to stand up on the job.
It seems jobs requiring that workers be on their hands and knees for hours should be avoided on a farm run by grandparents and women approaching that certain age.
Anna Helmer is certainly hoping that her age has nothing to do with it, although who knows for certain.