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  • Writer's pictureRyan & Ally Gerken

Blessings From a Badger

We planted our hemp seeds in late April early May and they were not due to the field until June. Initially Ryan had planned to have two friends come to town to help him with this part, but thanks to Covid we had to cancel that. We were, however, still planning on our sister and her boyfriend coming so this was an opportunity to bribe them into helping us - and we did! We basically spent the entire time they visited planting.

I absolutely dreaded the idea of transplanting 8000 plants BY HAND from the trays into the field. Looking back though, it was incredibly fun. First the view from our property is 360, so you have access to all the San Juans’ plus the Snow Caps of the Rockies... It is the best home office one could ask for. Silence surrounds you, unless you have to hurl three little girls out- which we did most often. I had found several old tires on our property and had decided to recycle two of the GINORMOUS ones to turn into sandboxes for the girls. We strategically placed one by the hemp field so that we could multitask! What a great idea - until…

I don’t know how long it took us to do this or when the tires actually made their way to the field but sometime during the weeks of us planting the sandbox was in full operation. We didn’t have a lid for either sandbox so each day I would casually scrap the tops with a rake to make sure there were no snakes! There weren’t BUT I nearly died when the scorpion came to surface - I live on a farm and I know I need to make some adjustments to situations like these but when the second scorpion came out to play - um NO! Needless to say the sandbox near the hemp field is now visual art!

We prevailed and Ryan and I ended up rotating between playing with the girls and planting in the field. Ryan would dig me three rows of holes and drop in the hemp plants then I would go out and bury them in the dirt. Even with help this took us maybe four plus weeks to finish. And again my husband, the honest perfectionist, ended up having to do a ridiculous amount of paperwork for the regulatory agency because - well, he likes things perfect and he’s an honest man. Many folks will ignore the “minor” details within the hemp industry because they are time consuming or expensive. This is especially true now that all the regulations are in limbo while we wait on final rulings - farmers and processors are taking full advantage of the lack of oversight.

Anywho, Ryan was expecting to see about a 50% loss to 1. male plants 2. animals and 3. weather its a normal part of the job BUT what he wasn’t expecting was walking out there every day to nearly all the previous day’s planted hemp plants decimated. We had a true problem with prairie dogs, and it was not looking good at all. I know Ryan was scared, I know Ryan was angry, and that’s when Ryan wanted to buy a gun!!

Ugh, “our people don’t kill things'' I reminded Ryan - “heck we barely eat meat!” Never-the-less we clearly had a prairie dog infestation and it was either going to kill our farm or we would have to mitigate the problem. So we now own a shotgun...

The funny thing is, a few weeks after he bought it, I noticed there were no prairie dog sightings as of late. I mentioned this to Ryan and he agreed. P.S. Ryan is not a professional hunter by any means, he was clearly not the reason they were gone! A few days later however, we see a badger walking out in the open right down our street.

WE HAD A BADGER MOVE IN - if that ain't the best blessing ever! Nature took care of the problem for us! Unfortunately it was too late for our 2020 harvest, typical for 2020! We will hold hope for 2021 that things turn out better.

Until next week…

Be Kind. Be Positive.

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