Hey so guess what… it turns out, I really love peeing outside! I usually visit the potty first thing in the morning and last thing at night, as I’m sure many people do. Living in the yurt with no bathroom inside, my roomie Alice and I have to walk outside anyway to get to our composting toilet. But we’ve pretty much adopted the policy of using that guy only for #2 and just taking a pee in the grass/bushes like our canine roommate Russell does. When I am just rolling out of bed and/or when it’s dark and sprinkling in the evening, this does not sound like the most fun thing and I often feel a lazy wish creep into my mind that there was a bathroom in the house. But then once I throw on my boots and get out there, the cool air feels good entering my lungs, my eyes refocus on the mountains at the horizon, and my brain pauses for a second in its usual spin cycle. Zen meditation while popping a squat. I think I may continue peeing outside even after I move out of the yurt! My coworkers at my next office job better watch out 😉
The yurt has been an adventure in many ways. We have been learning patience and to appreciate the small things. Our original wood supply was soaked to the core and we struggled with sizzling “fires” that produced very little actual heat. We acquired dry wood and then had to tractor it out to the house. But now being able to sleep in warmth under just one comforter warrants Alice and I having a little dance party in celebration! Our refrigerator broke so we’ve been living out of a cooler. There is running water but not hot water yet, so a warm face wash involves heating water on the stove. We can’t drive out to the yurt yet in anything besides the farm Jeep (and even that is a bit of a gnarly ride), and the walk in to the barn takes about 15 minutes, so you don’t want to forget anything critical when you come in for work in the mornings. All that said, I am truly not complaining! I’ve loved the feeling of badassness at having to work to make our lives comfortable. And now it’s all coming together and the place feels like home. Next week Alice and I are going to build a bunk so that we can stack our beds and make room for me to set up my drum set!
Guests over for a yurt dinner! The first of many I hope!
Work itself has been going great these first two weeks. I love it love it love it. They’ve been taking it “easy” on us with a start time of 9:00 am! And we generally get done right at 5! Clearly this is because the ground is so wet it’s impossible to do much besides work in the greenhouse… it won’t last forever so we appreciate it while it’s here. Some tasks so far have been: transferring hundreds of tomato starts into larger pots, pressure-washing and packing up a few hundred pounds of parsnips for restaurant sales, assisting with greenhouse construction (loved it!), and transplanting a few thousand row-feet of cabbage and lettuces into the field with the Oaxacan crew (damn they’re fast!). Early-season stuff. Learning the ropes.
Potted up tomatoes for sale. Sturdy little guys!
Although on the whole I’m thrilled to be back in the farming mode, still there’s been a real mix of feelings in me these past two weeks. Excitement to be getting dirty again and working outdoors and working & strengthening my body / soreness and tiredness from overworking my body. Happiness to be in a new place and expanding my connections with new people / sadness and deeply missing my Bainbridge crew from last year as well as my Seattle friends. Intimidation at learning new living skills / sense of accomplishment when successfully completing new-to-me tasks.
The main thing, over and above these others, is the way I’m having to work to keep the bigger picture in my focus. I love growing vegetables and get a visceral sense of fulfillment at watching the plants spring into existence, working to help them grow, and knowing how to harvest and serve them. But on the scale of production that this farm does, there are an awful lot of mundane, repetetive, less pleasant tasks that have to be done to make it happen. I am just one small cog in the machine at this farm. While I certainly don’t feel like “just cheap labor,” I am also not going to be making many important decisions but rather doing the legwork as instructed by my mentors once they make the decisions. I can do my best to fully understand why they make decisions the way they do and use my smarts to take on more responsibilities where I can. I will take pride in our products as I will have worked to help create them. But I’m definitely noticing my yearning to make the jump into doing it on my own. What could I make happen purely by my own decisions instead of acting out someone else’s? How much I would want to throw myself into my own operation! How much joy I would feel at selling beautiful veggies that were 100% mine!
So what gets me excited right now is thinking about doing it on my own. I planted seeds for my own garden last night after work – mainly herbs and some quinoa. I’m running an experiment to see if I successfully saved arugula, cilantro, and dill seed from my own plants last year. I planted the seeds I saved next to commercial seeds of the same variety to compare germination and growth. Fun fun! Building greenhouse doors on Friday made me think, I could do this on my own. I’m watching various Oxbow procedures closely and comparing them with what we did on Bainbridge, with an eye to how I would do the same on my own farm. I’m hopeful that this year will solidify my knowledge and instincts about vegetable growing and give me a jumping-off point to starting my own business or somehow making my own way forward.
Making new doors for a hoophouse.
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