Marina and I once took a trip across the country staying at farms and working for our room and board. We wanted to get out and see America for ourselves and staying at farms seemed like a cheap way to do it. Marina’s father Rich built us a wooden sleep platform that fit in the back of her pickup so we could stay in there with the cap on and store our stuff beneath us. We had about $2000 – our intentions were to rough it.
We never intended to become farmers as a result of working on farms, it just happened. We dug the hard work and all of the great people we met but also the food, the animals, the books, the music – we found our groove.
Our bodies transformed, my hands lost skin so fast I thought I was molting and my wrists locked up so bad from milking goats that I lost all feeling in my fingers. I was not used to hard work and felt as if the bones in my body were reorienting themselves among the muscles, painfully locking in to some new ‘active’ mode.
Marina of course just freckled out in the sun, her hair growing orange gold. That was always how it went too; I would gash my hand and get stung in the face by bees and Marina would just become more tan and strong. I twisted my ankle and fell hand-first into a cactus out in Utah and Marina deftly plucked the spines from a prickly pear so we could eat it for dinner.
Once, while we were in Pennsylvania at the Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School of Country Living we both got burned by lye. Lye is used to make soap, which we did for hours on end while listening to early Neil Young surf rock, drinking coffee, and eating yogurt with berries.
You have to pour the lye with gloves on and be real careful not to get the stuff on you – basically you need to treat it like molten lava. But things happen, you get lye burns, life goes on. Anyway, my burn came in the shape of a ragged scar across my wrist; terrible pain, really ugly mess.
Marina got burned in the same spot and when it healed it was about one fifth the size of my own and in the exact shape of a sunflower in a pot. My mind was blown, I end up with a gnarly red rash across my wrist and she gets what looks to be a small tattoo of a sunflower in a pot. Lovely!
Farming is hard work, but so is a lot of stuff. Our hours are long and the work is never done, but this can be said about your profession too. We are all busy hardworking people doing something to get somewhere, moving forward by the will of our minds and our bodies – and we all deserve good food to power us on. This week we have just that.
Your share includes some very nice salad mix, Russian Kale, summer squash, green beans, cucumbers, cherry and salad tomatoes, garlic, basil, cabbage, some Hungarian Hot Wax peppers and a flower bunch just because we love ya.
A mix of green and yellow beans
salad mix with borage and nasturtium edible flowers
Cherry and salad tomatoes
patty pan and summer squash mix
hungarian hot wax peppers
Until next time – increase the peace,
Old Wells Farm
Our Foothill Farm Alliance monthly gathering where we take turns hosting farms and their apprentices to talk about farming methods and eat good food.
Big thank you to Marina’s cousin Paul and his girlfriend Hannah who volunteered on the farm this week!