Sweet Potato Change of Plans and a Drone Visitor

It has rained almost six inches here over the past two weeks, beginning the day I picked up the 650 sweet potato slips I’d ordered from a local nursery. All that rain made it impossible to work the soil, so most of those slips are now in a bucket, destined for the compost pile. Most, but not all. Changing plans, I planted as many as possible in the raised beds where the lettuce and tatsoi had been. I had intended to plant carrots there for the fall, but will have to shift those plans around too. Instead of hundreds of sweet potato plants in the garden, now we’ll have hundreds more purple hull pea plants instead.

There I at least two lessons in this I reckon. First, when weather fouls up your planting plans, try to shift things around and make the best of it. Second, it’s better to start your own slips (as we used to do) so that you have the flexibility to draw them just before planting.

Yesterday morning at dawn we had a film crew on the farm, working on a project for our local hospital.

film crew

I’ve often thought that if I ever saw a drone flying around this place, I’d shoot it. Instead, when it finally happened, the drone shot me.

me and drone

The reaction of the animals was interesting. At first the goats ran away and hid on the other side of the barn, cautiously approaching once their curiosity overtook their fear.  The chickens stayed in their coop the whole time, presumably taking the thing to be a strange new bird of prey. A young buck deer watched us from a safe distance, seemingly fascinated.

13 comments on “Sweet Potato Change of Plans and a Drone Visitor

  1. Laurie Graves says:

    I don’t know why, but this post made me chuckle. Picturing you with a gun, blasting away at the drone. Oh, boy!


  2. avwalters says:

    We’ve often commented about what kind of a reaction we’d have to a drone over the property–not far from what you’d thought.


  3. Scott says:

    I’m glad I didn’t have to get my blood pressure up thinking of someone trespassing via drone on you. I’d probably shoot one down too.
    Too bad about the sweet potato, I’ve never done many sweet potatoes, just one plant. Maybe next year.


    • Bill says:

      I’ll go ahead and share the entire poem I quoted above:


      I am away in a quiet valley,
      am busy at my quiet work
      in this comely small cup of country
      exactly fitted to my mind,
      my mind to it exactly fitted.
      It is enclosed by slopes and trees,
      filled full of light and air and wind,
      fulfilled by time and wear and weather.
      My work is gathered of air and earth,
      the history of the local light.
      I’m not going to tell you whether
      or when I’m coming back. Don’t wait.
      Don’t try to call. I have no phone.
      There’s not much left I want to shoot,
      but I would like to shoot a drone.


  4. Dani says:

    I had some Jewel (orange flesh) sweet potato slips at the beginning of winter which I didn’t want to plant because of the cold. I shoved them in a (flower) pot of water and they are happily send out roots in anticipation of Spring.


    • Bill says:

      Things are drying out rapidly now. These slips are a waste but maybe I still have a chance to plant more!

      We used to save the small potatoes, then bury them under rotted sawdust in the spring. That would give us all the slips we need. This year I didn’t bother (slips here are $7/hundred).


  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Bill – I was in Oxford waiting to go into Christchurch Cathedral for a Service … when a drone buzzed low down over the building … I was somewhat surprised … but the meadow, gardens and river are nearby … the filming must have been interesting to see – cheers Hilary


  6. Phuong says:

    That is a great price for slips, but it’s too bad that so many had to go to waste. I’m glad it’s drying out for you, and you were still able to plant other things instead.


    • Bill says:

      I’m being stubborn/persistent. Yesterday I bought 400 more. The weather has turned dry so I’m hoping to be able to get them planted today!


  7. Val says:

    Drones bother me (not that I’ve seen one closeup) but I recently saw a video of a guy who was flying a tiny indoor one in his sitting room and his cat was watching it like it was a ghost sparrow! I wish you well with your sweet potatoes – I love the American white sweet potatoes we sometimes get here in the UK.


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