Saturday, February 1, 2014

Back to Farming

So I'm back to farming again after my little bump in the road with layoffs and taking a different job to pass the time.

I hate to admit it, but I'm having a hard time getting back into the groove of things. I'm used to year-round farming and the full immersion of it was helpful for me to stay on track mentally. With the break between jobs and everything else, I'm not at the top of my game and struggling to feel at home at the new farm.

The part-time job I took over the winter was something I had done before. It was easy to walk back in and go right back to work. There was one day where I received "training" just because, but beyond that they trusted me to just come in and know the job. It was a very hands-off experience and it felt good to just walk in knowing what to expect.

The farm I'm working at is the same place I temped at in October. In October I was mostly a cashier, giving occasional farm tours and not thinking a whole lot. That was easy to jump into as well. Cake.

The people there are good to me and they trust my judgement. I appreciate that, but I still feel oddly off my game with a new greenhouse, a different layout and a whole different focus. I know exactly how to do all the things expected, but in reality, it's still weird and new to me. I'm hoping I feel more at home once seeding starts. It'll be nice to have figured out where all the tools are and so on.

In other farming news, I helped my former employer and friends re-skin their greenhouse recently. I can't say it was a fun job, but I'm happy to have helped. After all, farmers help farmers. It's just part of what we do.

I'm still disinfecting pots and trays in preparation for seeding next week. Hopefully once I get past the monotonous jobs, things will be all good. It's lonely at the farm right now and I'm grateful for my mp3 player to keep me company. Without some sort of background noise, my thoughts would wander and I'm not in the mental place to let that happen at the moment.

Farm on!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Brown Blood and Dirt Under the Nails

Well, I'm finally back to farming. After a weekend trip, I returned to the two-jobs routine yesterday. First order of business: disinfecting the greenhouse. It's going to take a few days, but soon I can start seeding, which is going to make farming again much more real for me.

It's going to take me a bit to get back into the swing of farming. I've missed it, but my other job at UPS has been consuming a lot of my attention. It's physical work, just like farming.

I'm convinced at this point in my life that my previous UPS safety training back in 2005 has kept me from getting injured during my time as a farmer. I should feel bad about nagging coworkers as much as I have over the years to not do this or that.

"Don't jump off the trailer! Do you have any idea the impact on your knees?"

"Hand to surface! Don't throw that!"

"Three points of contact. Don't jump down from that."

"Bend at the knees and keep the natural curve of your back, don't jerk when lifting! Opposite corners, dammit!"

My coworkers must think I'm a Nagging Nancy or something. But the methods work no matter where you apply them. If an almost-40, 5'4" tall female can farm with no injuries, some tough young guy can too. Nothing makes me more annoyed than people jumping down from a trailer. It makes my knees hurt just watching. You may not know it, but when you're my age, you're going to want that cartilage intact. It does make a difference.

When you're schlepping 70# bins of potatoes, a little proper lifting and lowering can go a long way. I'm more likely to be sore from shoveling than lifting.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Am I quitting farming?

The last three months of 2013 was full of trials and tribulations for me. Layoffs, temp jobs and failed business plans have left me reeling and trying to find balance.

I'm starting to think that I'm setting myself up for failure if I go through with the plans I had started on in October. This is complicated by the fact that my involvement in the tree stand didn't produce a darn thing. That's right. I made nothing for 7 weeks of work. Luckily I had my other temp job that looks like it's going to become permanent.

I've got an offer, but it's an hour and a half commute each way, which I might be able to live with if it weren't for the fact that I'm keeping my graveyard shift job at all costs.

That said, I need to take a few days after the Holiday Apocalypse to get things figured out. I'd really like to get a farm position that's either regular pay or salary plus commission.

Back in September, I was seriously considering never farming again. I thought I had changed my mind in October, but these things are hard sometimes. I have to provide for my family somehow and it seems like all the people who supported me in farming have either bugged out or proven unreliable with a few notable exceptions, hence the far-away job offer.

Focus will come in time. In the meantime, I'm resting like the land.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Apocalypse... or Why I Miss Farming Right Now....

Well, coming up on the end of tree season and it can't come soon enough. Working two jobs has really beaten me up a bit, even to the point that if you touch my left shoulder, I'll scream.

Cancelled plans for the weekend over my overt brokenness in favor of spending the evening at the tree lot, trying not to lift anything.

Right now, I really miss farming. I miss the farm I used to work at to the point that I've stopped by and visited a few times recently. They've had their own set of challenges recently with the serious freeze... broken pipes, frozen water lines and the inevitable hauling of buckets of water to their animals. I've had a few of those issues with my own critters and am happy to not be hauling buckets of warm water on top of having an angry rotator cuff.

I really miss the quiet of winter farming though. The time spent weeding seedlings in the high tunnel and biding my time until spring. I miss my former coworkers, especially those who had their ways with quiet sarcasm.

I can't say I miss the outhouse on cold days. Especially since my "real" job had to haul in outhouses for a few days this past week during the worst of the deep freeze. Thanks, City of Bremerton, for not keeping your water mains functional!

Back in October, I could look over the farm and only see death and doom as crops succumbed to the frosts. On a frosty December day, however, you can see all the potential, the ground biding its time until it welcomes new crops in a few months.

I'm itching to do some farm planning. I'm ready to start making things grow again. Soon, but not yet.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Little Twisted Humor...

If you can't laugh at life, you're going to be miserable all the time.

Here's my thoughts of the evening in photos...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Oww! Christmas Tree, Oww! Christmas Tree! How heavy are your branches!

I've been hinting lately on a few business projects I've been working on. Now it's time to spill the beans on the first one. I've been a bit remiss since I've been running all over two counties trying to get this set up and helping my majority business partner, Ryan, in getting everything ready to do.

So... the long-awaited business project announcement!

We're doing a Christmas Tree Lot! Yikes! I had no idea what I was getting myself into, as the punishing last two weeks have proven. It's been a lot to juggle with my graveyard shift job, but we're out of the woods and ready to open tomorrow morning!

If you're in my neck of the woods, stop by Holly Trees in Bremerton, behind McCloud's restaurant in the Red Apple parking lot. We're going to have many trees to choose from, plus local wreaths from Peterson Legacy Farm in Silverdale as well as locally-made ornaments and crafts as they are delivered to us!

After this project is over and done with, I'll probably elaborate more on the process of setting things up, but for now, I'm physically exhausted and ready to sleep.

Look! Trees!

Monday, November 18, 2013


I was hoping to announce an awesome business deal this week. Unfortunately, we hit a big roadblock today. My business partner scrambled all day trying to pick up the pieces while I was making desperate phone calls, looking for advice on how to proceed.

After an unplanned emergency meeting, it was decided that my business partner was going to carry on with or without my help and that we could work something out if I decided to help in some capacity. I'm sleeping on it tonight, but my gut feeling is that the roadblock we hit is going to be the death knell for this venture being that the original intent was for marketing benefit more than profit.

I am thankful tonight for understanding farm contacts, valued friends who don't mind fielding a panicked phone call right after work, and of course, my family who backs me on this adventure I'm undertaking.

Sometimes you have to go through a lot of "No" before you get to "Yes." It's part of having your own business, so I need to get used to it. Now, what to do next? You don't even have to ask. Push forward, put your head down and concentrate on the next thing on the horizon.