Most of the potatoes are being harvested this month. Two different harvester machines are being used, the new one requiring a new, more powerful tractor in sloped lands.
Potatoes are medium-sized, good average of not-damaged, full-developed tubers. Harvester machines leave the potatoes spread on the ground. First selection is thus made on the plot, by hand.
Tubers are carried on a tractor, brought to a storage place where they will be selected again, and disposed in a right environment (light and temperature the most important factors).
|Varieties and season|
According to family tradition first potatoes were cultivated in these plots in the second half of the XIXth century. The ones shown here in the middle of the picture (plants with more flowers) correspond to our local variety. Although heavily hybridized, it still gives a low yield. However, it has been kept reproducing vegetatively by the tubers year in, year out.
Nowadays most of the plots are cultivated with Kennebec (left and right sides at the picture). All of them have sprouted and developed properly except for some flat areas where too much rain, soil too wet, did not let some seed tubers to sprout.
The weather has been quite good for the plants. This is an excellent soil for tubers to grow.
The little recently-born robins and wrens are already jumping through the shrubs and trees. The wood pigeon and turtle dove are still incubating in their nests. First early season potatoes have been harvested. For this mid-season crop it is all going on bellow ground now: the ends of the stolons have already enlarged, the tubers are growing yet.
|U-turns and the same place|
Let's be more precise. 360º means the same place, no change in direction. I was using the concept of turn = cycle, so the idea of 360º appeared to me more clear as context was end of a line and beginning of a new one. Obviously to describe the maneuver a U-turn is more accurate, meaning 1/2 a cycle, that is 180º.
An accurate definition rather than doing the maths is the most difficult task !!! :-)
There could be some implicit paradox when I describe the way I did the U-turn. When I refer to length of tractor + plough in terms of diameter it is to express that available area was less (or equal at its best) than the one required for a perfect turn. I was referring, again, to area rather than motion. I should state that apart from using only one brake some back and forward was unavoidable. :-)
All this is to say that I have been plowing land enough to review these and other concepts. For instance, I was trying to relate production per acre in terms of world needs to feed the whole population of this planet. I even rounded our local acre to easily calculate areas of surfaces such as that of Mars or Titan. I was dealing with the exoplanets when I finished the whole land available for this season... :-)
I did so many turns that it is allowed, even if only once, to make a turn = 360º (yes, that means the same place) in order to more accurately check that bunch of primroses I needed to estimate the total number of flowers in the border.
Well..., please don't tell me you still need those :-) things :DDD
| y=mx + c|
Using only one brake to turn around 360º within a diameter less than length of tractor plus plough for each one.
I try to keep the most important thing when you plow, being able to focus on it once I have felt confident enough with level of depth and width.
At that point the mind can arrive to say it in English and try to understand German, as if homonymy within a verse. And do not feel so: the wagtails arrived quite soon, as usual.
Come on Ksab! It is only one. Left this time!
As a means of a balance of the year, the main issue has been mechanization. New tools to carry out the same tasks, parameters to measure efficiency. I must admit, although perhaps I shouldn't make it explicit, that there is some kind of emotional attachment from my side towards farming and forestry activity. Hence, sometimes my views are too much traditional, and rely on a priori statements. Of course I try to avoid them but that doesn’t mean I am able to do so all the time.
When I talk about mechanization I refer mainly to tractor driven tools.
I support innovation, of course. Particularly with the approach of Mr.why-don’t-we robotize-it-all whatever task is to be done, my brother, Adrian. This is the way I regard with more possibilities of bringing new and more efficient solutions in terms of farming as a whole.
Meanwhile, this year, if everything goes as expected, I’ll drive some even bigger and stronger machines to perform the same tasks the small ones were, in my humble opinion, doing quite efficiently.
|Just a brief note on weather|
Quite rainy these months... fortunately the sun came from time to time, enough to allow the plants to grow: a good combination of rain and light. May be a little bit too much for flat lands, where water could stay and damage the seeds. The sun has come again, on time.
|The land is ready|
The soil has been ploughed. Now it is a matter of weather and season.
Crops are rotated in order to make the soil more fertile. The land is resting: plenty of turnip tops everywhere. Most of them are used in the typical seasonal dishes (with meat and potatoes they make a great soup!). Left leaves and seeds will be used as a natural fertilizer to the soil where potatoes will be grown.
From time to time growing and working with potatoes is my main activity. For the past two years I have been living abroad so I haven't been so involved in farming as I did on previous years.
I regard myself as a farmer as far as potatoes are concerned. Of course, my interest in potatoes goes further. From edaphology to food processing.
Potatoes are just amazing to me. Their possibilities. In a world were starving is still a main global concern, it happens to be one of the best (if not the best) sources of energy for a healthy diet.
The Solanum tuberosum adapts quite easy to different enviroment conditions and I expect it to play a leading role in the human exploration and colonization of our neighbour planets.
Its organoleptic proprieties and a relative lack of tradition in our gastronomy (it is just some centuries ago that it became part of the diet out from South America) make it a source of new discoveries for new dishes and food.
So, if you have a good recipe you want to share, I very much welcome it.