Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June Update

Some people sit through their lives under fluorescent lights and buy their exercise at the gym. We have sunlight, a broad fork, and the wheel hoe in our favor.

Howdy folks! It's been a wildly busy few weeks up here in the gorgeous Champlain Valley, between farming and kidsitting and squeezing in some summer in between. I made a really fun Dancing Porcupine Bath Salts blend last week for the CSA pickup, and have some other nifty ideas up my sleeve for this week's market - like essential oil bubble wands for the kids. How cool will those be?!

The farm is so much fun - and so much work. Even though I'm only there a few days out of the week, my life revolves around that plot of land like it tends to do around good and growing places. And this is such a good place. When I'm here, I think about Dave's farm in Pennsylvania, and Julie and Onassis's place in the Mayan jungle, and I feel a joy I've only ever felt outdoors.

It seems so simple, so naturally obvious that this is the way to live. There's a satisfaction that comes from a day well-lived; a sense of rightness that coats your bones when you're earning new muscles honestly. Some people sit through their lives under fluorescent lights and buy their exercise at the gym. We have sunlight, a broad fork, and the wheel hoe in our favor.

The girls laugh at me every Thursday night when I come home because I'm too tired to do anything other than flop down and cuddle one or the other to sleep. Sometimes I have enough energy for a shower, but it's rare. It's an irony in my life that I spent months getting rid of my jungle calluses, only to start earning farm ones as soon as I came back to Vermont.

So what are us interns doing when we're not skinny dipping during lunch breaks, camping during thunderstorms, or eating fried chicken for breakfast? Well for starters, we're learning a lot! Our bosses are great, constantly explaining the whys and hows of farming to us, and patiently sharing their knowledge and experience through every new activity and chore. Unlike other folks who take on interns, they haven't quite figured out the whole "delegate the drudge work to your indentured minions" thing, and work side-by-side with us until we know enough to do things on our own. After the first group day, we all piled into their pickup, and they took us to the lake for pizza and beer. And when we finish a really big project, they're quick with praise, gratitude and a high-five or hug. They always welcome visitors, but do me a favor, ok? When you do come, please don't tell them they're doing the boss thing all wrong. We've kinda got a good thing goin', if you know what I mean.

Besides learning (or during it, I should say), we're busy weeding, hoeing, laying beds, shoveling pathways, sowing seeds, weeding, planting seedlings, watering, sorting, harvesting, washing, packaging, checking the new beehive, tending the sheep and chickens, moving fences, learning, and weeding. Followed by more weeding. And bringing the one Escape Chicken back to her coop.

All of this leaves me on the bank of the pond during lunch time, toasting my muddy feet in the sun and contemplating the blackbirds as the swoop, preoccupied, through the cattails.

"Best. Summer job. Ever," I tell them, but they're too busy nesting and feeding and singing to each other to respond. It's ok. If they weren't so focused on their own perfect lives, I'm sure they'd agree.

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