It's August. It's racing season in Saratoga and Cara's working 4 shifts a week, trying to stockpile funds. I'm still taking days in the city as an electrician (had a doozy of an 18 hour day the other week, before counting the commute!). And of course, we're trying to run this farm. And we're supposed to get married here in a handful of weeks. And did I mention it's August?
Despite the fact that we're hanging on by the very last shreds of super deep reserve energy we didn't even know we had, Cara and I both feel like we're over the hump and control is in sight. The days are shorter and shorter, which means fewer workable hours but also fewer weed-growing hours. We're running out of energy, but so are other things. We can talk optimistically about getting caught up (even if we're still doing triage on the to-do list). I finally found us an affordable chisel plow, which I've been searching for since January. The tomatoes and pepper and eggplants are finally coming in, and we're getting nothing but great feedback at our markets, and we're meeting our targets for the business.
Every time we feel like we're getting our balance, though, something pops up: First, we had a surprise visit from a particularly nasty bug that is threatening to destroy our otherwise thriving winter squash. Even conventional guys have few defenses to this one, and we're hard-pressed to save things. Then our hard-drive fried itself (which I hadn't backed up in months, because I didn't want to leave the backup drive connected to protect it from surges and lightning). Amazingly we were able to salvage enough information off it to keep moving, though a lot of our applications are wacked out now. The guy at the "genius" bar showed me how to make our computer run entirely off an external hard-drive, so it's a nearly seamless fix and hugely cheaper than a new computer.
The clincher, though, came this afternoon--I'd been in the van all day on a mix of highway and back roads, hauling a borrowed trailer to pick up this new chisel plow and a load of fall cover crop seeds. At the end of this long high speed day, mostly on I-90 and in heavy traffic with the commuters, as I was backing into position here on the farm to unload the plow... I stepped on the brake, heard a loud PSSSST!, and lost the brakes entirely. A quick inspection showed brake fluid pouring from two different ruptures, one in the front circuit and and another in the rear. I haven't yet figured out how or why it blew two spots at once... and am terrified of a more complex problem that over-pressurized the system, making it a more difficult and expensive fix...
While it's hard to be happy about a massive brake failure on the only market vehicle on a vegetable farm in August, I'm keeping in mind how absolutely more horrible it would have been to suddenly lose all brakes at 65mph on the highway with a loaded trailer.
Now, having been up since 4, I'm headed back out to the shop to soak everything in PB Blaster before turning in for the night. Tomorrow I'll wrestle with Chucho's rusty brakes instead of doing my obligatory half-day-a-week of wedding planning, then we'll either rent a van for this week's markets or run to the DMV and plate/title/register the 82 F250 we have sitting out by the barn... and then I somehow need to return this trailer that was so kindly lent to me.
While this brake thing has very definitely trashed any hope we had of getting on top of things, at the end of the day, I think that we ate the bear on this one... but it was a tough, nasty, over-cooked bear. I would've much preferred a BLT.