We do repair work and we plan.
Admittedly, our days are shorter and more time is spent in barn, greenhouse, or huddled at the desk, than in the manic heat of spring and summer.

Much of our time is spent cleaning, inspecting, inventorying, and repairing the various tools and resources of our trade. For example, the walk-in cooler and barn shelves are stripped, all surfaces bleached, and the shelf contents examined. Some contents are discarded, others neatly organized, and still others put in the “try to fix this” pile. A careful inventory of supplies we’ll need to replace or restock is taken, accumulated and sorted by priority. We know we can’t buy it all, so we create a hierarchy of need.

We take apart every piece of machinery to clean, oil, and reassemble. We spend cold, rainy afternoons sharpening blades, oiling tines, replacing filters, pumping endless tubes of grease, and splicing out cracks and splits in our hoses.
We gather together in early fall to reflect on the past season. Taking stock of our assumptions, the yields, the weather, and analyzing what we should do differently next year. How much of a problem was the result of our errors and how much was due to the wild vagaries of nature? Again, we take what we know of the past and hedge it against the future. Trying to predict and protect against the swinging extremities of the Southern clime. We arm against nature’s harshness with our wit and grit.

After reflection we begin the plodding work of remapping fields, endlessly updating gigantic spreadsheets, fine tuning formulae, counting each seed in stock and comparing our bounty against our need to determine what is to be ordered in January. Then, turning to the online seed catalogs, we calculate the best value of seed to money spent. We accrue an extensive shopping list of seeds for the year, hoping to minimize the need for emergency, mid-season purchases.