It’s busy in our nursery and orchard during the spring and summer, so we try to get as much work, especially infrastructure, completed in the fall and winter as we can. And that often puts us up against the weather. In Humboldt County, the soil can get pretty clayey and clumpy after the rains and we have been getting plenty of rain. I won’t go into how grateful I am the rain has come, it was only mid-December and the well was still impacted by our summer use. It actually scared us, really shocked us; and now we are instituting any number of water consciousness techniques across the ranch. One of those is the new rigid PVC pipes we are laying in the orchard. The previous pipe system was black poly with endless metal clamps, and endless leaks.

Soon to be buried PVC pipe in the orchard.

And this brings me back to the weather.  Around here, you have to take your nursery labor as you find it and this winter, starting in January, I was lucky to find two very hardworking young men from my local university, Humboldt State. I couldn’t wait on the rain – the job just seemed too big (7000 feet of pipe to lay) and I had the labor – so, the boys and I slogged ahead. Turned out, like a lot of jobs, it was more intimidating in anticipation than in execution. The boys could really only work on the weekends, so we have done a portion of the job each of the last few weekends. Now we have the ditches dug (damn, do I hate trenchers), the pipe laid, glued and the emitters screwed in. Next weekend, I hope to be covering the ditches. We have managed, mainly, to get the work done during dry spells in the weather. It is hard to sling mud – anyway you sling it. The boys are out in the field as I type this (working on a Sunday and in the rain, bless them) inserting the last of the emitters.

I can just see those smother crops I can grow and mow now, poking up through the meadow grass.

Ah, life is good!