A week in the life of a farmer

Dear Readers………


Today was gusty! The wind almost knocked me over a couple of times in the field. In the afternoon, the North Star crew planted onion seedlings (baby onion plants that we grew from seed and nurtured in the greenhouse). We loaded a truck with Transylvanian Red onions and drove them over to the other side of the orchard, where Ike used a tractor to mark parallel rows in which to plant the seedlings.

We planted hundreds and hundreds of the seedlings today, and we have many yet to go… it’s fun work though. We crouched over the beds toting piles of onion seedlings, quickly pressing their fragile roots into the ground. We stayed close enough to talk while our hands were busy; the conversation ranged from the sacred atmosphere of the greenhouse to the perfect doughnut (Bavarian creme, I learned, is a controversial one).

Tomorrow, we will break into a Tree Planting Team and an Onion Planting Team (“and go to battle,” John suggested when he heard this plan). I foresee some tractor action in my future…


Just kidding! Everybody worked on the onions again all day. We laid irrigation hoses as we planted, so the onion babies could stay hydrated in their fragile state right after they went in the ground. We just barely finished by the end of the day, but MAN did it feel good to see Claudia plant that last little onion seedling.

We’ve got five varieties planted, and a little bit of a sixth planted as a test run; we’ve never tried growing it before. If it grows well and we like the flavor, we’ll keep it in future years; if not, we’ll keep experimenting with new onion varieties.

In the evening, we had the farm crew over at our house for a popcorn fest (homemade honey cinnamon popcorn!), and watched an amazing documentary about how corn has taken over the food industry in America; it’s called King Corn, and I highly recommend it!


Planted trees all day, fell into bed immediately after work and pretty much stayed there until 8:30 pm, when I fell asleep. Don’t judge.


We planted 8 baby walnut trees this morning. They won’t bear nuts for years, but it’ll be worth it when they do. In the afternoon, Ike taught us to graft! Grafting means attaching one tree species to another, resulting in delicious varieties. I’ll do a whole post on that soon. It’s incredible that so many of the small muscles in our hands go unused until we do some specialized skill, like grafting, that requires very particular hand motions in repetition. My hands will be sore tomorrow…


Grafting all day long. It’s a good thing that Ike tells excellent stories; he kept us well entertained.

For the last hour of the day, I got to prune “suckers”– low branches that suck the energy from the main trunk– on the pear trees. When I lifted one of the severed branches to my nose, I caught the scent of perfectly ripe, sweet pear. It never occurred to me before that a fruit tree holds the essence of its fruit inside. And it makes perfect sense.

I hope your weekends, dear Readers, are as satisfying as the smell of fresh pear and spring grass.

Laura Beth


3 thoughts on “A week in the life of a farmer

  1. Pingback: Blog • North Star Orchard

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