Home / Slow Food / Farm Update / Rainy Week 3 of Our Organic Farming Apprenticeship
Published on May 6, 2012, by in Farm Update.

It was a rainy week on the farm. We sent a steer to slaughter, planted thousands of onions, and tore up the back yard. While the weather outside was miserable, spirits were high. After all, we are all living our dream(s). Three weeks and I am so in love with farming.


We started the week by dropping off a steer, Maximus, to the butcher in Athol, MA. We had never been to Adams Farm before for our beef processing. It was a very clean facility, and both ourselves and our steer were treated very well.

You can visit Adams Farm’s website for more details.

sanding oak farm beams

With the rain pouring down outside we spent the early part of the week sanding down the beams in the barn to make them look clean. It was hours upon hours of sanding white oak beams. As with most farm projects it was very rewarding to look back and see the work we had done.


kate suscovich painting trim

While I was sanding Kate was in another area of the barn painting the trim and fixing nail holes. The space will be our break room tom comply with the Good Agricultural Practices rules. It is a beautiful space, and we're proud of the work that has gone into it.

brush fire tractor excavator

With all the rain the fire danger dipped to low again and we burned another pile of brush. We have to clear it with the fire department beforehand, and we take a lot of precautions. This fire was in the middle of a muddy field from from any houses or woodlands. It is a big help to have the brush gone, and it makes the place a little cleaner.

burning invasive species

More invasive species went into the fire. This is good because they were choking out the other trees around. We also cleared a bunch of multifloral rose buses. Originally brought over from Japan, they were meant to attract wildlife along the borders of grazing land. They are nasty, and now considered invasive. My legs and arms hate them, as witnessed by all the scratches I have from clearing them out.

planting leeks

We went out in the dreary weather to leeks. We planted well over a thousand leeks, and we're getting more in the mail soon. Quotes from leek planting: "You are the weakest leek, goodbye." and "Kickin' butt and taking leeks!"

diveling holes for onions

From leeks to onions we moved across the field. Here Kate is punching holes in the black plastic mulch with the diveling tool. We then follow behind here planing onions into the soil where the holes are. The plastic mulch helps us keeping our weeding duties to a minimum (amongst other things) since we cannot spray herbicides.

planting onions

We teamed up and planted over 9,000 onoin plants over the last week. That's a lot of onions! Excited to see them take hold and grow into adult onions later in the coming weeks/months. We planted varieties like "Walla Walla", "Copra", "Red Zepplin", and "Ring Master".


It is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. This picture is actually pretty tame mud-wise. Nothing but smiles after toiling in the mud and rain for days. It is hard to get spirits down when the work is so rewarding. Maybe it's the fact that we finished planting onions and were about to head in for some hot tea. From left to right, Tara, Patty, Abbey, Kate, and John.


Part of our farm renovation is to level the back yard of the house, build a rock wall, and start flower beds for our CSA. Erick tears up the lawn for what will someday be a beautiful bed of flowers.

sighting rock wall

Part of my job was to sight in the 2,000-4,000 pound boulders Erick was using to build the rock wall. I had to direct him to make sure he placed them right, then run and shim them up with smaller rocks so they would sit sort of level. "We're trying to make naturally shaped things sit straight," he tells me as I'm hopping around like a jackrabbit wedging flat rocks under boulders heavier than some cars. You also have to appreciate that Kate took this picture in a way to make it appear as though I am sitting on one of the marking sticks. Thanks Honey...

fertilizer tea

What better way to end the post than with a nice giant barrel full of poop tea? We mix cow droppings with water to water our plants. It adds a lot of nutrients that the plants need. Don't worry, we will not still be using it close to harvest time. We do not want to have that flavoring you food. But young seedlings love it, and it is very good for them.