June 11, 2010

remay tales

I had a tragic comedy here last night on the farm involving remay, or agricultural fabric...for non-gardeners that is a lightweight woven fabric that covers crop to prevent insect from landing and feasting or spreading disease and is an organic farmer's standby for salad greens and other sensitive things (carrots if rust fly is troublesome, for eg). It also speeds growth.

The remay on my old farm came in the long roll of 500 feet and we had these length of beds. One day coming home from market I witnessed a small wind tunnel that had grabbed an end and sucked it high (100 feet) into the air. I had a good view on the road above the valley where the fields lay as the tractor with loader full of rocks raced to the scene and helpers jumped and ran and tugged to get the long white sheet out of the wee tornado and constrained from whipping out the wee seedings.

Wind plays havoc here too, but have yet to see a tornado (just hurricane remnants), and yesterday's show was just my own damn fault: I was in hurry, it was late and I hungry and little Buddy was barking at the birds down in the creek - poised for trouble. It was time for dinner and the evening dog excursion...but I had one last task to do and I was rushing. I had weeded all day and the last task task was to till up the old salad and spinach beds to free up some space to plant. The garden is getting tight now for the tractor, so I eased into position, let down the tiller and set the pto in gear. I was focused on steering my old rig clear of the dill and beets in the beds on either side of the wheels, but I misjudged where the tiller dropped - I caught the remay end of the adjacent bed. I didn't notice for a good 20 feet. It had yanked the fabric off the turnips, lifting the little roots with it and rolled up neat on the shaft of the tiller. Amazing it rolled up clean and even and only tore where the tines ripped it the first few turns.

The turnips (Hakurai japanese salad)were ready to pick and were surprisingly undamaged. Buddy had to wait whilst I cussed and laughed and unrolled remay from the tiller (and then dealt with the turnips). On retrospect designing a tool that winds up a roll could be inspired here. Ditto with harvesting.

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