Farm Friday, November 24th, 2023

Almost ready for winter

Andrew Gaertner
4 min readNov 24, 2023

This week we finished mulching the garlic with straw. It took 60 bales to cover the 3500 square feet of garden beds that we have planted to garlic. Each bale had to be separated into chunks and then those chunks had to be teased apart to make a fluffy blanket. It was a big job and it was followed by two more big jobs.

The next thing was to remove and bundle up 4500 feet of drip tape from the field. I have been procrastinating drip tape removal for about seven or eight weeks. Drip tape is flat plastic tubing that has emitters every 12 inches. When attached to a water source, you can have water seep into the ground all along your crop row. It is amazing. But it is a pain in the ass. I usually avoid setting out drip tape and hope for rain or use the tripod sprinkler. But 2023 gave us an 8-week drought right in the middle of summer, and we would have been lost without drip tape. So now I am faced with the hassle of bundling it all up to be used next year. It took many hours, and my arms felt like they were going to fall off, but that job is done.

We needed to pull the drip tape because certain fields needed to be tilled and planted with winter rye. Rye is an amazing grain because it can survive in the harshest of climates. You can plant rye by throwing seed out on the icy ground and it will sprout in the Spring. We like to give it a small advantage by tilling the seed into the top two inches of soil. So Wednesday I threw 400 pounds of rye seed over several acres, one handful at a time. Then I tilled it in using my neighbor’s big tractor and 6-foot wide rototiller.

That was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Bim, Bam, Boom.

Thursday was Thanksgiving, and my partner and I joined family for an amazing meal, the Packers won, and I composed a whole suite of Medium essays in my head about #Landback. I am deeply ambivalent about Thanksgiving, mostly because it is part of the mythos about the United States that coincides with the attempted genocide of Indigenous people. Just that.

I listened to the podcast I recommended last week. The guest gives listeners the big picture, and it is more than a little scary, to me. I will have to listen to it again and summarize it for you all.

Little Bear. Why so serious?
Getting a bale of hay for sheep I noticed a band of light illuminate the dust I kicked up.
Polly the Polish chicken.
The chickens tumbling out of the coop in the morning.
Spreading rye seed, the sky caught my eye.
Frost on the Prius on Wednesday morning.
Moonshadow of the silo on the roof of the barn.
Watermelon radish!
Little bear is now allowed to be out in the rest of the house. Franni is reluctantly tolerating him.
The sheep are still enjoying the dwindling pasture.
Franni is non-plussed by Little Bear in her space.

Writing news: I published my December genealogy essay. It was boosted! Woohoo! Thank you, editors of Medium!



Andrew Gaertner

To live in a world of peace and justice we must imagine it first. For this, we need artists and writers. I write to reach for the edges of what is possible.