Hard Work Sweetened by Languid Moments...I close my eyes and store the memory of the moment, to bring out when I need it, like a old favorite photo.
The last few days have been a steady maddening pace! Monday is my morning to catch up on the business end of farming, with all the emails, scheduling, and general paper work, so let me reflect as a way to share the events here on the farm.
Every day begins with a long walk with the dogs around the farm,as we check fence lines, and any wildlife mischief that occurred during the night. This usually uncovers some discovery, a turtle laying her eggs in mud, or a invisible scent that makes the dogs crazy. Hand weeding every day for several hours to keep the beds/fields at their best, although right now the tomato field is out of control with grassy rows. I just cannot seem to get it all mulched.
Then, harvesting the night, or morning of market days.
Hours of picking cucumbers,zucchini,cabbages,beets,radishes. Lifting heavy boxes, and baskets, is building my biceps and I do not even have to go to a gym! Then weighing, making Produce Boxes, labeling, and wrapping to go straight to a large cooler until driving them out to market or to families eager to have delicious vegetables for their table. Delivering to restaurants, families and to Whole Foods Market is a accumulation of all my work. I bring a beautiful and very high quality product in ...to the raves of smiles of the chefs, families, and the great Whole Foods people. It is so gratifying to know people value this delicious food and the work it takes.
In the middle of all of this, are hawk attacks which require me to bolt down to the pasture with dogs running madly along with tongues hanging out, to shew (I do not think that is a real word) the hawks away. Hawks are VERY persistent and try something everyday. THIS is going to be Emmy's job, however right now she is very much in training. She loves the chickens, but I cannot tell if she likes them and thinks they are her pets, or if she wants to eat them. I am told it takes 2 years to train a pup to be a reliable livestock/chicken guardian, so it is a long process.
Mowing and trimming the grounds takes way too much time, but necessary to prevent SNAKE habitat! I almost stepped on a COPPERHEAD a few weeks ago at the chicken barn late one night. So, hours of mowing, dripping with sweat is part of the farm. That reminds me I need to mow down at the gates!
The hen house has to have new bedding, and general "housework" everyday. Feed, grain,and fresh water every day keeps the hens healthy. Egg gathering now is complicated (as part of puppy training) with Emmy sitting in the hen house at my feet as I collect eggs. This is interrupted several times with "sit/stay", and "leave it" as Emmy becomes a little too interested in a hen. A broody hen helped with a sharp peck to her nose yesterday as she got too close..helping with the training process I hope. Wheewww I hope I can keep this guardian dog training up!
Ah yes, the delicious fresh meals! Famished from all the hard work, there is nothing like throwing what ever is extra, or going bad from the garden in a pan and eating it! The English Peas have given up to the hot sun, so last night I ate the last of them cooked quickly in olive oil and garlic over fresh pasta. What a feast with Pomegranate Green Tea. Lovely. Here is a photo.
Hot, dripping with sweat, and tired from hours of physical labor, I sit in the cool of the shade, and am so thankful for this place of solitude, and beauty. The scent of the now heavy laden Gardenia Bushes, and huge Magnolia blossoms drifts in the hot air. The drone of a small plane overhead, and the gentle breeze on my face is a solace to my soul. I close my eyes and store the memory of the moment, to bring out when I need it, like a old favorite photo.