Two days ago I arrived at our farm to find all of the hydroponic tower plants limply hanging out of the tall white towers. I knew it had to be a power issue. It wasn’t long before I found the problem. Our free range, rescue donkeys had snuck into the area and accidentally unplugged the timers. By the time I got there, the crops had most likely not had water for several hours.
This isn’t the first time we've had something like this happen. We’ve experienced the malfunctioning of a timer, a power cord getting unplugged and a power outage. Previously we’ve plugged everything back in and run it consistently to allow the veggies to perk up. And it’s worked.
The timer normally ensures a five minutes off and one minute on watering schedule, but with the heat, we knew it was better to give the plants consistent watering. So we decided to run the nutrient water without the timer until the plants began to recover.
My husband, Houston, called me from the farm Tuesday evening to say half or more of the pepper plants were still hanging and wilted. These plants were full of jalapeño and shishito peppers, so I knew we had to harvest them immediately. Later that night, using the tractor’s headlights, we picked off all of the peppers from the affected plants. Some plants looked like they were okay, so I opted to wait till daylight to harvest from them.
I knew I couldn’t wait too long before preserving everything we’d picked, so today my friend Trudy (see this column in the July 31, 2021 issue of the Corsicana Daily Sun) and I were once again canning. Since I had trouble finding the right size jars, Trudy came to the rescue again, telling me I could buy her some jars next year when the stores stock them again. We worked from 9:00 AM till 4:30 PM, with a 15 minute lunch break. On our feet all day, we turned out jar after jar of jalapeño pepper jelly, cowboy candy and a new recipe of pickled shishito peppers, using black peppercorns and mustard seeds.
Just like the last time when she taught me the canning process, we shared stories - she about her summer vacation and me about experiences on the farm. Now after arriving home and unpacking all of the preserved goodness, I’m realizing that physically tired as I am, in every other way I’m encouraged, energized and inspired.
My wish for you today is that you have someone who pours hope, wisdom and understanding into your life, all while sharing their time and presence - someone just like Trudy.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column “Finding Myself in a Small Town,” in the September 11, 2021 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.