Category Archives: Tractor

And… Away We Go!


First, a shot of the small hoophouse in its new position where it was moved on Sunday. The carrots underneath the hoops are recovering nicely from the compost burning, thank goodness! The house was closed up and black plastic was spread over the soil to warm it in preparation for the next crops to be planted soon: artichokes and hot peppers!DSC_0959

Last night, the large hoophouse was moved into its new position. It will house tomatoes, ginger, basil and parsley.

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See the tractor in the distance? Two 200 foot lengths of cable are attached to the back of the tractor. The cables run through pulleys screwed into two short posts that have been put at either end. This keeps the greenhouse on an even plane as its pulled by the tractor.DSC_0949

And there it goes! The preparation to make the move took longer than the actual move itself…DSC_0950

Which was, literally, over in seconds…DSC_0952

Like buttah…DSC_0954

Afterwards, the hoops and reemay cloth were replaced over the crops, since our nights are still hovering in the 40s. They are probably fine without this protection now, but we don’t want to take any chances of a freeze. Plus, the crops underneath will be hardened off to the direct sun over a period of days. DSC_0962

Spinach and lettuce has already been planted in the rows alongside the greenhouse, and here, Mike is preparing a few more beds so we can plant beets and turnips today.DSC_0965

As the sun goes down, a parting shot of the whole picture.DSC_0966

As I went home, here’s the new view from my house.

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Filed under Four Season Gardening, Greenhouse, Planting, Spring, Tractor

S(no)w More Please! We’re Moving Floor-Ward…


DSC_0613Last Friday’s 18+ inches of snow….

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…was a total surprise. The local meteorologists got it completely wrong. At 12 inches and still snowing, we were scoffing at snow total maps still showing our area could expect no more than 4 to 6.

On a sad note, by the end of the weekend, tragically, three houses on Plum Island literally had toppled off their foundations onto the beach. Thirteen more in that same neighborhood have been condemned, and at least 40 homes are in danger of being lost in future storm surges. In today’s Boston Globe, according to Kenneth Kimmell, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, “It took about 100 years for the coastline to recede 100 feet. . . . It has now receded another 100 feet since 1994…Those homes are at risk, and will continue to be at risk because of the sea-level rise and the retreating shoreline that is picking up in pace in ways that none of us can predict or stop. Those are large geologic forces that no one is capable of stopping.”

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Between snow cleanup, and planting carrots, mesclun mix and head lettuce in the greenhouses…

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work on the barn floor was begun. Pressure treated cribbing was laid directly on the earth. In the 1700s barns were built directly on the dirt. All of the posts are incredibly still sound, each one resting on a large, flat rock…

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A few of the old floorboards were deemed fit to last another 100 years or so…, and then new boards were fitted and screwed firmly into the underneath supports.

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…and what a difference! We are well on our way to having a barn floor that we can dance on!DSC_0615

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Welcome to 2013 and a new Mehaffey Farmer!


Hello 2013 and goodbye 2012. Wow! What a year! It was a year filled with growth and change for this farm and its people. Almost more than we could keep up with ourselves! But that is not a bad thing when you are chasing a very big and ambitious dream, and the dream is only beginning to unfold. Yes, we work hard here, but it is still rewarding and it is the best work I know! Of all the hundreds of photos taken around the farm, I have managed to winnow this year down to a few highlights:

On Dec. 31, New Year's Eve, we welcomed our newest family member, Silas William Mehaffey!First and foremost, we welcomed our newest family member, who belongs to our son Ross and his wife Acacia. Silas William Mehaffey was born on December 31. He is as they say,  a real “keeper!”

In the cold early winter months of 2012, the boys started work on the foundation and drainage for the new cooler. They also began welding parts for the new greenhouse. Bill and I took a vacation in Florida.DSC_0087

When we got back, we started soil blocks for the starts greenhouse, and planted onions and celery on my windowsills.DSC_0077DSC_0675

We held an engagment party.

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In Spring, we added a hive of bees, then dealt with a swarm which gave us an extra hive. We plowed fields, and harvested the first asparagus of the season and started to plant. Then, we put up our second greenhouse.

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This shot of the new moveable greenhouse was taken just after the guys moved into its summer location. It had covered rows of greens, and now  ready to house tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.

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Some new animals came to the farm, but first, a beautiful new barn to house them had to be built.DSC_0083

Then came Prudance.

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And Gracie and Lilly, who boarded with us for awhile.lilygrace

After the donkeys left, Pru got a new BFF, Ruby the pony who came to replace them. Hi Ruby! Don’t they look like sisters?

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My sister Leslie came to stay for the whole summer in the role of “House Elf.” She kept order in my house and cooked delicious meals for the crew all summer.DSC_0245

And just look at the bounty she had to work with!DSC_0480

Our meals looked like this…

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and this…pretty much every day!

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Two interns came to work with us, Rosie and Susan, They pitched in and gave 110 percent!!DSC_0158

Rich joined us for another summer. (Shelby adores him!) He kept us in succession plantings the entire summer.

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Desi and I made up the rest of the crew. That’s Inigo Montoya, one of her bunnies. The other is a Inigo’s stuffed toy, which keeps him warm! Later, Desi added a second bunny, “Cinder.”

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That’s me in the new greenhouse, planting the tomatoes.

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We had a wedding shower, followed in short order by the most amazingly beautiful wedding this farm has ever seen.

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Literally everyone we know pitched in to help us make this the most amazing day and we all felt the love. It definitely was one of those: “It Takes a Village” weddings.

Desi’s mom Leslie flew in from Washington State for a whole month, helped us spruce up the place and did a tremendous amount of harvesting too! It was so great having her here.

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DSC_0635The cooler got finished just in time to keep things cool for the wedding feast, thanks to our boys and their friends, most notably Dan LeFave, Russell Sanderson, Rob Swiniarski and Brad Gallant. And thanks to Rich for doing double duty harvesting and cooking up a farm fresh meal with his friend Joe, the caterer.

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They even got the old 1930 Model AA flatbed running, those men. They used it to transport the groom and his groomsmen to the wedding ceremony! Aaoogah!

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(They clean up pretty good, don’t they?) The wedding day dawned a perfect August day, with none of the heat you might expect at this time of year.

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The Reverend Carol Waleryszak, Michael’s aunt, officiated, making the ceremony personal, and unforgettable.

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After the wedding it was back to every day the business of getting in the harvest, doing more markets through Christmas, running our fall CSA, delivering vegetables and buttoning up for winter. Whew!

But first, everyone got in a week of much needed R&R, the honeymooners flew off to California, while some of us went up Maine, to Pierce Pond, our favorite fishing spot. We’re slowly learning to build in some away days in order to survive the pace that the rest of our year demands of us.

Unfortunately, after withstanding two hurricanes and several other windy events, a freak December windstorm did some serious damage our original hoophouse in December. Of course it was totally unexpected, but then, such things never are expected, until they just happen, and we say oh well, it’s not the end of the world, and then we move on. We have already repaired most of the damage, and expect to be growing carrots in there by February.

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This Christmas, Ross presented us all with T-shirts with an awesome new graphic he’s working on. Very soon we’ll have our own Mehaffey Farm hoodies, shirts and caps to wear next summer. The eventual design will end up being a more basic, graphic arts style suitable for two and three color printing, but it’s so much fun having this first edition to wear.

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We are glad the world didn’t end on 12/21/12, and now, after a brief holiday and freezing cold interlude, we get to do it all again! These welcome winter months will afford us a little time to think and breathe and plan and prepare.

All in all it was a very good year and we wish everyone the best to come in 2013!

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Filed under Antique tractor, Bees, Canning and Preserving, Cooking with Fresh Vegetables, CSA Shares, Farm Animals, Four Season Gardening, Greenhouse, Planting, Spring, Tractor

Another Eye on the Farm


We have a guest photographer today. Desi took a walk around the farm and posted these on Facebook. She has a great eye! These absolutely blew me away and I had to share. I love seeing the farm through another’s lens. I will definitely be asking for more guest photographers!!

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So Much Work Ahead! Fear Not, It Will Get Done!


If we focus on how much work lies ahead, it could be overwhelming, but we’ve done this enough times that we know it will get done when all hands are on deck. Help is coming soon, our summer intern staff starts next week, and during planting time, all volunteers are welcome. Meanwhile, much has been accomplished. During the next few weeks, it all will come together in a most marvellous way!

Monday was a beautiful sunny day, and I thought it might be fun to take a walk around the farm and show you what it looks like so far. This will be the “Before.” Then, we will do the same walk together in a few weeks after the planting is done, and then once again during the hectic summer bustle, and link those posts back with this one. You with me?

Pay particular attention to this shot. See the greenhouse? It will look quite different very soon.

See the three beehives? The short one in the middle is brand new. We are still feeding sugar water so they will build comb. We have to keep it up until two whole boxes are built out with comb. The two outside boxes are filled with bees and doing well.

I spent quite some time waiting outside one of the hives trying to capture this slightly blurry shot of the bees with their pollen jodhpurs on! How cool is this? I am only about a foot away, and the bees don’t pay any attention to me. They are too busy gathering pollen and nectar.

Notice the excavator on the right of the first of the three photos above. Michael and Desi are doing something very special with it. They are getting ready for three new farm residents. I will tell you more about this later.

This is the view our new farm residents will have!
They will have the best view on the farm from this spot!

Moving on toward the original moveable hoop house, the field has been harrowed and compost spread and mixed in. Next, the rows will be created using the tractor and then we will be ready to plant.

My breakfast! A delicious Ya-ya!

At the front the hoop house are four beds of carrots planted starting in February. Four successions of them. This is where the hoop house was located from last October until a few weeks ago. (See the video in the previous post.) The hoophouse now holds an experimental crop: Baby ginger! We bought some at the farmer’s market last summer and vowed to try it this year. It spent about 6 weeks presprouting in our guest room in a tented warming area. Looks promising!

Baby ginger, just planted in the greenhouse. Can’t wait to see how this fills in over the summer! We will also grow a row of hot peppers in there.

Over here is the garlic. We never have enough, but we are working on expanding the size of the crop. Every year, we save more to plant. It takes awhile, and you must be patient and not eat it all!

The garlic is higher than usual this year. Bulbs are forming…

Strolling past the asparagus patch, I can see there will be more to harvest for supper. You can almost see it grow, it comes up so fast! And the recent cool temperatures are just what asparagus needs to thrive! The greens we are now planting love this cool weather too!

Asparagus!

Meanwhile, inside the new hoop house, spinach, lettuce, onions and beets are up and growing fast. With the threat of frost seemingly past, (but you never know!!) we will soon have these in the open.

On this side of the tunnel we will plant potatoes. Michael and Bill have invented a special plow that will open up a furrow, and we purchased a couple of disc hillers to put on the cultivator to hill up the crop. No more backbreaking labor!

And on this side, we will plant mostly U-pick crops. Here you see the first succession of peas coming up. The second succession is in, but not up, and we will plant yet one more. When it warms a little, we will also plant green beans, bush and vining, with a trellis, and finally, cherry tomatoes and herbs. We offer a limited number of items for U-Pick at a slightly reduced cost. It is fun if you have kids, or if you just want to groove with nature once a week! My house is up on the hill there, behind those trees!

And here behind the tunnel we will plant tomatoes, very very soon! But first, we have to move it! I will publish photos of the move in my next post.

Back up at my house, here are the tomatoes that will go inside the tunnel. We are trying out a couple of greenhouse-specific types, and also our favorite heirloom varieties like Cherokee Purple and Striped German, among others. We will plant about 150 tomato plants in here and keep them well pruned. Their vines will be trained to reach toward the ceiling. Yields of tomatoes grown in a greenhouse can be impressive!

Cabbages ready to plant.

These will go into the ground right away!

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Filed under Antique tractor, Bees, CSA Shares, Four Season Gardening, Greenhouse, Planting, Spring, Tractor

Farmtography


So many days on the farm we are just lucky to have the camera in our hands at the right moment…

…to capture an interesting cloud formation…

… to record the pinks of a setting sun through the maple tree……or an intimate moment…

To record artfully, our more ordinary workday activities…

…the mundane tools of our daily toil…

from another perspective…

The creatures on our farm keep us endlessly amused and entertained…

All of this reminds us why we love what we do here!

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And There it Goes…


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