Monday morning I had no choice but to get up and face the week. I got to the farm early, and started out with an easy strawberry picking session to warm up my fingers and joints, and experience the love of the wonderful berries from within. Plus, Ella absolutely loves fresh berries, and I can never resist bringing a bag home for her when I can. Around 6:30, Ed made me some breakfast and we met for a harvest meeting. I just wanted to pick peas all day. Leave the thinking and organization to someone better qualified.
Pick peas I did. I started with Danny in the outdoor plot and we worked side-by-side, discussing our shared state of 30dom, identity, change, and the bittersweet richness of aloneness. Our conversation was peppered with a backdrop of music and literature, as is characteristic of Danny and me. After a while, it poured and we got soaked.
Next stop was the hoophouse, to pick more peas. Hours of solitude found me engrossed fully in peas, before Polly and I connected on the outside beds. She ran through her catalogue of pea-reflections – a monologue which was strangely comforting and refreshing. “I always pick peas… I’m just so much faster at it; I can pick over 15 pounds an hour… it’s a high value item, so it’s actually a big difference in value for time… Peas are just so crazy – beans just grow under the leaves, but peas are everywhere, even in the ripening of growing sets… you just have to want it as bad as the pea; it’s just a matter of… can be a psychoactive experience…” She’s thought a lot about peas. At the end of the day, we all met back in the outdoor plot and picked more peas.
Tuesday afternoon, I got the call that the van was on its way with our first round of CSA boxes. I loaded up Ella and rolled to Farmshed, where I was working our pickup site. I sighed to myself and took a deep breath as our first member approached the door. Pull it together man; you’re the face of Rising Sand Organics… Not face, really, so much as bridge of nose to forehead, as I was covered with a bandana. Fortunately, Ella was there to smile a much prettier smile on our behalf, and I even got to see some friends. Zach – a fellow musician and 5th Avenue resident. “Zach, how’s your garden looking man!?”
“Dude, I’m not doing one; I needed to make space for my huge boat!”
Another lady identified as a friend of the blog, and gave me a small Hungarian Cookery book – a legitimate and invaluable resource, and wonderful gesture.
Kathe, the professor who’d accompanied my London study abroad semester years ago, entered with her husband. “Tim?!” she asked excitedly. Somewhere along the line, she’s taken to calling me Tim. I decided to let it ride. “Yeah! How you doing, Kathe?” Moments later, however, she remembered that my name wasn’t actually Tim, and I felt awkward about having affirmed that it was. Overall, though, it went off without a hitch, and we loaded up and left unscathed.
Wednesday, I totally spaced on bringing farm lunch, and spent the early morning picking berries again, before working through field management and workshare delegation with David. “Okay,” I asked for the umpteenth time, “so after composting, they’re gonna come mulch while you finish hoeing, and I’ll harrow? Then we plant beans?”
“Yeah, but B2 needs compost too, remember?” He seemed to be losing patience, understandably, so I apologized for my spaciousness and disappeared into the earmuffs, behind the handles of the BCS. Finally garnering some momentum, I pulled the drip lines out of the harvested plots and mowed the lengthening grasses. Plot one looked nice; plot two looked nice – ready to be composted, harrowed and planted anew. Upon finishing the second plot, I kept the mower running up the walkway, along the edge of the plot. Which was dumb. I ran over all the drip lines I’d just placed there, mangled most of them and wrapped them all halfway up into the rotary mower. I stopped and laughed maniacally as David looked on from atop the hill.
Later, now on the harrow, I tried to do the quick and dirty turnaround at the end of a bed. It’s heavy, and, not lifting high enough, I caught and twisted the plot headline into the cultivator. Sighing, I shut it down, blocked it up, untangled, and noted my incompatibility with practical practices. The headline was offended, but didn’t seem damaged. Shortly after lunch, I packed it in and headed out. It seemed like I’d done enough damage for one week. At least they can’t really fire me…