Sunday, August 3, 2014

You're Not The Only One

Ah, that title sounds like the start to a beautiful love song, doesn't it?  And love is like that .. the wondrous feeling that you'll never be alone, and that you're not the only one who may be going through challenges and tough times.

But the beauty to that sentiment is never more true than on the farm.

As I've discussed in many a blog post these last few months, everything growing (or attempting to grow) on this hill has been affected by a summer of weather-weirdness.  Our tomatoes have been especially hard hit.  They have arms but the blossoms have blown off. The ones that have stayed have produced tiny tomatoes that are incredibly slow to ripen.

But what I never realized was that maybe it was just not our little hilltop outpost that's suffering.  

We had some contractors here the other day, working on an outbuilding Big Ag is constructing, and it turns out the foreman is something of a hobby farmer himself. "So how are your tomatoes doing?" he asked me as we visited the other day.  When I informed him of the weather-related maladies we were having (due mainly to the winds we face up here, I thought), he told me that he didn't know a person in the entire county who wasn't having the same problem. 

That's right, he said the entire county was having the same problem.  I could have hugged him.

The next day, I worked at the winery, where there is also a vegetable garden which grows tomatoes.  And just to check the validity of this "entire county" thing, I took a break from pouring and went outside to check on our winery tomatoes.  They too all looked like crap.

And for some reason, this made me feel a whole lot better. In part because of a kind of "we're all in this together" camaraderie -- we can all lament the loss of our tomatoes, which is a lot better than when you have a crappy crop, but your neighbor's crop is absolutely perfect and you don't understand why.

The other part is because at least you know you didn't do anything wrong. It wasn't your soil, not staying on top of insect or bacterial pressures, or too much/not enough watering.

Sometimes you're not the only one, and there's nothing you can do about it. Except take comfort from your neighbors, who are in the same boat with you.

You don't want to wish anyone harm, but in tough times sometimes it's nice to have company.


  1. So true. Two years ago when we were in our nasty drought, there was a strong sense of community among gardeners, as we were all suffering together! We were able to joke about our crispy hedges and sad trees rather than hang our heads in shame.
    So sorry your tomatoes are poor this year. Perhaps, hopefully, you'll also have an unusual autumn and they will thrive then!

    1. I remain hopeful! There will be some fruit, it just won't be a banner year as it usually is. And the drought here is so bad, people are calling brown lawns "the new green;" it's a status symbol that means you've stopped watering as a nod to the environment. : )