First and most important: CSA SHARES ARE STILL AVAILABLE! Spring is here and CSA's are filling up, but Quincy Farm still has a few openings and we'd love to have you as part of the farm! Click the Where to Find Our Veggies tab at left for more information. If you've already signed up--Thanks!!!! If you know a neighbor, friend, or relative in Ballston Spa who wants to enjoy super high quality veggies while supporting a great small farm, hound them into joining!
Now, onto the bloggy part:
They say March is in like a lion... must be a snow lion. After nothing more than a very occasional dusting of snow all winter, we woke up March 1st to nearly 6" of dense, wet snow blanketing everything. At least we got to use that snowblower I bought on Craigslist last fall.
In the meantime, my war with Chucho (the van) has continued. I think this is THE most trying mechanical SNAFU I've dealt with, which is saying a fair bit, I think. In a nutshell, after *finally* getting the left side of the van buttoned up, I started to redo the right (they have to be balanced for safety) only to find the main spring BROKEN IN TWO. So now I had to buy a new set of springs, wait for them to arrive, and then redo the left side as well as finish the right! That wasn't the bad part, though: The big stubborn bolt that had given me grief on the left was outdone by his neighbor on the right. I mean, REALLY outdone. Like full sized sledge hammers, multiple tanks of propane in the torch, huge clouds of nasty fumes from rust-penetrating sprays hitting cherry red metal, 6' solid steel breaker bars, TEN foot black pipe cheater for more leverage, broken sockets, and on and on. For DAYS. At one point I had the weight of our entire 5 ton van resting on the tip of this stubborn bolt as I simultaneously hammered it and abused it with an impact driver, to no avail. I was very seriously considering welding the shock onto the broken control arm and walking away from the issue forever, when I had one last thought: I can't put more up pressure on the bolt than the weight of the van, or I just end up lifitng the van... but what if I chained a jack to the axle so the van can't escape? It sounded plausible, but my 6 ton bottle jack's relief valve opened before the bolt moved. I figured I'd give it one last Hail Mary and drove to Albany for a 20 ton hydraulic ram.
Having the van together means that we can move forward on some acquisitions, though. Number one, at least in terms of proximity, was picking up some greenhouse benches that a neighboring farm was selling. They grow bedding plants for retail sales and had upgraded to fancy galvanized units, which made their home-made wooden tables available to us! At 14 feet long, they were a little awkward in the van, but since I still haven't found the right trailer for us, we made it work.
I'm glad the van's back in order, as it's also auction season, and we're looking for a couple of needle-in-a-haystack bits of field equipment. The to-do list is stretching off the bottom of its oversized page, and I find myself sliding back into that familiar triage mindset, calculating which projects will do the most good with the least resources expended. We're setting the alarm clock earlier and earlier, working later and later trying to cross off at least some of the list. Soon spring will actually be here, the rejuvenating breath of life that is tiny plants in the greenhouse, and the warming and awakening of the fields and soils... but also the responsibility of caring for all those tender little things. It's terrifying and stressful, but also thrilling and invigorating. And we're incredibly lucky and excited to be sharing this season with the fantastic members of our community who have signed up to be a part of our CSA. This is going to be a really, really, REALLY kick ass season!