The Electric Farmer

This morning’s harvest was one of the more interesting ones to date.  Got up at six, thunder started by 6:30, and got out to the gardens before seven–can’t say the time for sure, but the Dakota/Cherry traffic light comes on at 7 a.m., and it wasn’t on yet when I went through.

My plan, with a lot of little bits and pieces of stuff to harvest, was to start in the northeast garden, move to the east, then over to the west and up to the northcentral, cutting and bagging as I went.  Chard was first, then head lettuce, basil and lemon basil, broccoli, then kale and onions, and finally sugar snap peas.

The lightning was scary! But, I kept going because I figured eventually it would start raining, and it might rain hard, possibly hail.  I kept my head down, and tried not to think too much about the possible implications of dunking my hands in buckets full of water out in the middle of the garden while washing heads of lettuce.

What’s the likelihood of getting struck by lightning, really? Well, it’s probably a lot better if you’re out playing with water in a lightning storm.

About the time I was cutting the few remaining heads of broccoli, it started raining, and it got really, really dark.  I was thinking about cutting the side-shoots as well, but couldn’t really see them–it was ten o’ clock-at-night dark out there.

I also thought that maybe I should snip the kale quick in case it hailed, but then it really started raining, and I started wondering whether I would be able to get my truck out of the tall, wet grass and saturated soil down by the gardens if I waited much longer.

So, I loaded up what I had in the coolers, grabbed my cold mug of rain-enhanced coffee, and high-tailed it up to the trailer to seek refuge with H. and the dog, drink hotter coffee, and watch storm radar on the internet.

And then it started to pour.

When I got back down to the gardens about a half-hour later, there was a little over an inch of rainwater in the harvest buckets that were empty before I sought shelter, and when I headed back into town after finishing the rest of the harvest (including the kale, that shrugged off the little bit of pea-sized hail we did get), I was really happy our farm is on a slope at the top of the valley.

The Vermillion River was high and getting higher, and water stood in the valley’s beanfields. We’ve been getting great moisture so far for July, but maybe an inch in a half hour is just a little much.

Now I’m back in my cozy home in a cozy sweat-skirt and sweater and, yes, even some pink fuzzy slippers.  But, I’ll don some slightly cleaner and hopefully dry farm clothes later, pray for a sunny afternoon, and see you locals at the Farmers Market!


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