07172021 Bramblings berry mold

Berry mold.

By Becky Nelson

There aren’t many quick fixes in farming. We seem to be struggling constantly against some pest or condition, and none of them heal or recover from adversity in a minute. When a tractor breaks down, it is a process to diagnose, order parts and repair, all while hay lies waiting to be cut or dried or land lies dormant waiting to be tilled or planted. Patience is needed.

When an animal gets sick, it’s more than a second before the illness can be diagnosed, a veterinarian acquired for a visit and medicine to be administered. That course of treatment may cover days or weeks, and lots of interference with daily routine is encountered. Patience is needed.

Economic glitches or disasters may occur, and it won’t be just a day to recover. Expenses for new or replacement equipment or big repairs can make a big hole in the books that is hard to adjust. Patience is needed.

One such setback is occurring in the raspberry patch. The wet and humid conditions have led to a lot of mold this year. If you have a backyard raspberry patch and have been picking of late you have noticed the same. Any overripe berry or any berry with a little injury whether from bird, bug or bump is quickly affected by opportunistic mold spores. Here at the farm, the cure is to try to keep the row as cleanly picked, but in the height of the season with hot weather ripening the berries rapidly, we need to resort to spraying fungicide to retard the spread of mold. In your personal patch, the best cure is to keep the berries “clean” picked so no overripe berries or dinged berries are left to get moldy and spread the mold to neighboring good berries. It is a process. Patience and attention are needed.

I have noted that the world outside of my little circle seems frustrated and angry. I have relatives who work in the restaurant industry, and some customers have been anything but understanding when they have to wait for service because of staff shortages or their favorite meal is not available because of supply chain shortages. Shortages on the shelves in grocery stores, convenience stores, retail outlets, parts stores…there are shortages because we are struggling to fill our employment slots and work longer hours with fewer employees to crank out products to meet demand. The recover from shutdown cannot take place overnight, and patience is needed.

We are so conditioned, I think by the electronic age, to immediate gratification with a click of a button that we have forgotten how to be “human” when what we want is not available when we want it. We need to relax. We need to re-learn patience.

Day by day. Words in one of my favorite songs, and wonderful words to live by. Dry weather, wet weather, cold weather, hot weather. The weather has been all over the place, much like our lives of late. It is hard, but we need to be patient and start living again day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and give our neighbors and those that work for us the same respect and patience. I think the year of lockdown and “unusual” living patterns has shell-shocked all of us and we are having trouble bouncing back to normal. We need to chill. We need to relax. Everything does not need to be done in the next five minutes, and we need to be patient with one another as we try to travel the new pathways that life is unfolding in front of us. We cannot “recover” in a nanosecond, and we need to give each other time to heal, regain our civility and enjoy life and each other. Take the time to treat that mold that has grown in our personal and professional lives over the long, stagnant lockdown days.

Becky Nelson is co-owner of Beaver Pond Farm in Newport, New Hampshire. You may reach her at beaverpondfarm1780@gmail.com.

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