Farm facts

Fish Story

With this spring’s flooding, small ponds and sloughs abound in every low spot, connected to the Winooski River through previously unrecognized relict channels and natural swales.

On my return trip from Easter Island (a field so named for aerial appearance and distance) last week, I glanced over at one of our new watering holes, musing on the veracity of fish tales told by neighboring Pitchfork Farms’ Eric Seitz of large stranded fish in the 2006 spring floods.  Seconds later, surprise eclipsed my doubts as I noted ripples with a definite fishy look.

Hopping off the tractor, I raced to the edge of the slough, and saw three large fish swimming in my direction.  As they lazily approached in the shallow water, I was impressed by their length (20-24”) and girth.  Dark gray, with rounded scales, my initial salmonid ID was clearly amiss, and I guessed at their type:  carp.

Apparently carp head for shallow water in spring to spawn, and the back channels of the Intervale, with the tantalizing taste of produce in the water, must have seemed like a breeding paradise.  Given that a few of these larger sloughs rarely dry completely, could we be witnessing the beginning of our own Intervale fish farm?

New Tractor -- your ICF co-op member equity at work!

While it's hard not to get down about the weather, shopping for farm equipment is always a pick-me-up for farmers.  Most fun are the occasional winter research trips to the vegetable region of Quebec, due south of Montreal, centered around St. Remis: part shopping and part leisure, seeing the latest thing up north.  Of more consequence and worry are the big purchases like tractors, where will have to live with the features, performance, and cost for a long time.  This time around our acquisition was somewhat less fretful:  using co-op member equity we were able to shop for and purchase the tractor without an immediate need for financing.  Don't know about the ICF Cooperative membership?  Click here to find out more.

After plumbing regional dealerships and farm equipment search engines, a suitable machine turned up on Craigslist, just outside of Binghamton.   A car trip and a test drive later, we made the deal and are the happy new owners of a lightly-used 2004ish Zetor Super 4341, known to us now as the 'Super Z' (not to be confused with other tractors the 'Z', the 'Super C', or the 'G'!)   This euro-styled, 56 horsepower tractor will pull work from both our smaller and larger utility tractors to plant, mow, pump, and prep fields in addition to moving compost, snow, and bulk pallets with the loader bucket and forklift.