Sam Dawes- Tractor Operator Assistant, Sunset Farmers’ Market Lead, Bicycle Commuter
Well hey there! My name’s Sam and I’m the tractor operator assistant around these parts. It’s certainly been a busy year for the tractor team, so take your boots off, rest a spell and let me tell you about it!
Coming out of an especially wet winter earlier in the 2017 season, we found ourselves behind schedule. When fields are overly saturated with moisture, heavy machinery like tractors tend to cause more problems than provide solutions. The only recourse left to an anxious farmer is to wait out the rain and pray for sunshine… You could say we were in a bind, we were getting behind, and we were looking to make a deal. Luckily around mid April, that deal came with a break in the clouds, in the form of overtime hours, of which there were plenty to be had! Between mowing and tilling-in our overwintered cover-crop of oats, bell beans and hairy vetch, ripping/sub-soiling our fields, applying compost, discing, spading, and other field preparation procedures, the tractor team barely had time to pour ourselves another cup of coffee. With four operators here on the
farm (Mike, John, Juan Carlos and myself) most of the early months of the Spring were spent tractoring around in all different directions, working on the various soil building and bed preparation practices we employ. Eventually, after a few weeks of “all hands on deck” we were able to catch our breath and return to a more normal pace (which for a farmer, still isn’t anything to sneeze at, let me tell you!)
Over the past few months, various challenges have been encountered and addressed, all of them a learning experience. And here we are again, getting ready for another Winter already! I don’t believe any cover crop has been sown yet, but it’s just a matter of time. We can pray for the perfect amount of rain this Winter, but I reckon old Ma Nature’s going to act just as she darn well pleases, and it’s up to us to adapt and meet the challenges as best we can. It’s been tremendously rewarding to work my first season with Fifth Crow Farm, and I’m continually in awe of the farm, the super-skilled farmers, the amazing crew and the top quality produce we bring to market
and our CSA members every week.
Cheers, hope you have a great week! Sam