Santos Family FarmSantos Family Farm

by Joe Santos

Those who know me from the various farmers markets we attended last year probably heard me complaining about how farming had taken a toll on my back. I was just waiting until the season ended to go to a doctor. I tried a local chiropractor, but I quickly decided the pain, cramping, and numbness I was experiencing was beyond what a simple “adjustment” would take care of. I did the obligatory dance with doctors, specialists, and our insurance company (good thing Maria still has a real job so I’m insured!) and I got an MRI. Sure enough, I’d damaged a disk and it was squashing my spinal cord causing the problem. I had surgery just after Christmas and it was another miracle of modern medicine! I feel infinitely better with no more pain or numbness. Unfortunately, I’m not supposed to lift anything heavier than 15 pounds for 4-8 weeks. On a farm that’s pretty much impossible. The surgeon warned me to take it seriously though, otherwise the disk will rupture and I’ll have to do it all over again, or worse – he’ll just fuse the vertebrae together. Ugh. Fortunately, we are surrounded by very supportive people who put the “family” back in family farm. One of my sisters – Chris – came up from California to help out for a couple of weeks.

That’s a good thing, because around the middle of December we had a storm blow through the area with a lot of wind and rain and it tore up the plastic on one of our high tunnels (basically a cheap greenhouse.) Fortunately, this stuff is replaceable (it only has a four year lifespan.) I bought a new roll of plastic – 32 feet by 100 feet and almost 200 lbs. The trick is to pull off the old plastic, then spread out the new stuff, position it, and then reattach it. Not easy to do when I’m not supposed to lift anything.

Fortunately, it actually turned out to be much easier than I expected. It’s like making a 20 foot wide, 10 foot tall bed. Don’t try this on a windy day though.

Here it is, all done and with 20 yards of composted chicken manure fertilizer. Just in time to transplant our snow peas and snap peas for the Spring.

About Joe
High Tunnel