It is September 22, the first day of autumn, the leaves on the trees are beginning to change color, so are the colors of the corn and soybean fields you see in rural Wisconsin. Today is also Baby #2’s due date…Oh yeah, and it’s 84 degrees outside and we have the air conditioning running…
Although we had our big harvest (strawberry picking) in mid June, we’re getting ready to harvest almost 40 acres of soybeans here at Mayberry Farms in about one week.
The way this farm has been setup throughout the past 40 years is with small (ranging from about ~3-6 acre) fields across the 60 acre farmstead. This has its advantages such as: 1) when a field has strawberries, our customers can literally drive right up to the field and do not need to be transported around the farm for picking 2) we can rotate fields easily and systematically through a rotation and use additional crop such as soybeans.
Soybeans are a great crop to grow in conjunction with strawberries because they put nitrogen back into the soil and strawberries like nitrogen. So do other crops such as field corn which is why you may see a field in soybeans one year, and the next year it is growing corn. Rotating crops each year also helps reduce the spread of diseases and pests in fields.
Another great crop to plant in a rotation on a strawberry farm would be wheat which we are going to plant immediately after we harvest the soybeans. Wheat also fixes nitrogen and helps provide nutrients to the soil. We also will be able to harvest the wheat next July and use the grain as an additional income source and the straw that is left, will be made into bales which we will use to cover our berries in the fall of 2018.
Harvest is a busy time of year for farmers, both of us grew up in farm families and know what to expect. Early mornings, late evenings, meals in the field, and social activities put on hold. We experienced this already this year during our first strawberry harvest and since we’re also more experienced parents this time around, here are a few things we’re doing to help us prepare for this exciting time in our farm lives.
- Meal prep – we spent a lot of time preparing enough freezer meals to get us through the first month and our deep freezers (yes we have two) are filled with everything from chicken pot pie to hamburgers along with frozen veggies and sides.
- Communication – we talk a lot about what our needs will be individually and for our family during this time. Although we’re not completely sure what to expect when it comes to having a two year old and a new baby, we know we have to keep ourselves and him on schedule as best we can.
- Recruiting help – we’ve got Grandma Clark prepped and ready to go when it is time for the baby to arrive. Including what to do if we go into labor in the middle of the night, during the day, or when she’s at work. We’ve covered all our bases.
- Enjoying every minute – life is about to change as we know it when we become a family of four. We spend a lot of time savoring these precious moments with our first born and with each other as husband and wife. Some people think being in the country or on the farm is boring, but for us, we’ve been able to slow down and truly enjoy each other and our family.
We’re all anxiously waiting the arrival of our second son, as well as the arrival of cooler temperatures and combines in the field.
Stay tuned for baby news as well as progress on harvest 2017.