Good news, bad news. Same old story. Rain, rain, rain. Farmers are always complaining about the weather. Not enough rain, too much rain. Too cold, too hot. Yada, yada, yada. The good news is that with all the rain we've had and are continuing to have (interspersed with a few occasional moments of broiling hot weather), most of the veggies are still surviving. The outdoor ones are struggling a little more than the indoor ones (inside the greenhouse-tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers). We've had some crop failures, but some are doing pretty well. And so it goes. My good friend Ed Csenge (who helped us install our rainwater collection system) keeps kidding me that we should go to the deserts of Saudi Arabia and install rainwater collection/storage systems. We'll change the weather pattern there and make a killing. I told him I feel like a general fighting the last war, in that we should have put in more rainwater DRAINAGE, instead of STORAGE.
On the biochar front, we had a week of excellent training and breaking in of the new retort. That's the good news. The bad news (not really bad, but part of the process) is that during the second run the retort decided to put on a little show for us. A gas overproduction resulted in a little overheat of the cooling/heat recovery system.* So we're going through some modification of the retort and plumbing system to make it all work more efficiently. The other good news is that we produced two batches of pretty good biochar. Yay!! (Each run starts with about .8 of a cord of wood and ends with about a yard of biochar.) In another week or two, we'll be back at it. Biochar is something we are very committed to, for all the previously mentioned reasons. For those of you who might be interested, here is a biochar conference that looks very interesting. We are planning on attending it too.
More redux: more infrastructure building. This week we have been building a cold storage unit for harvested produce. I'll talk about it more in the next post.
*This reminds me of a something I used to hear in my previous life as a professional pilot: "Flying is hours and hours of sheer boredom, interspersed with fleeting moments of stark terror." That's how Ron looked like he felt about the last biochar run when the cooling water steamed off.