Imaginary announcer: “Ms. Riv you just earned Masters degree and huge pile of debt, what are you planning to do now?!”
Ms. Riv: “I’m going…to a farm and do manual labor for free!”
Ahem. I decided to go back to the farm I volunteered at last summer for a few days of farm work. They don’t pay you, but you get a free place to stay with food and structure and exercise. I see it as an all expense retreat.
Monday morning 7AM into the car all packed and ready to go. Crappy clothes, towel, sheets and soap. Lots of soap.
It was not the picturesque day you want for farming
It poured the entire drive, thundering and lightening and contined as I sat in their parking lot looking for where I should run for cover. I saw their café was open so I made a break for it and met Reina and Laura who immediately gave me a hot coffee and warmed up scone while we watched the storm down a bit. I don’t like to drink coffee and I’m trying to stay away from wheat, but when people offer me homemade food I can’t say no.
Once the storm lightened up did we over headed to the garden center
The rows of freshly cut lavender made it smell like a bakery
Reina gave me a golden tomato that tasted like straight up candy, but ate it up too fast to snap a pic. Hopefully it will not be my last golden tomato. I met the Garden Center manager and got right to work weeding. Hoorah. I was rolling around under tables on top of rocks pulling out weeds from the rows of tables in quickly soaked jeans and wellies.
It was a flash back moment to the hours we spent in NoLa laying flat on your back squeezing into tiny corners of the attic awkwardly positioning your arms to get any kind of elbow grease to scrub. This was somehow less dirty
I hate weeding, but it’s like how a kid behaves better with teachers than they do at home. Since it was a new place and at an ever exciting farm, I didn’t mind it all. I weeded for about an hour before switching to filling and covering these seed trays.
A whole bunch o seed trays
Lunch came at noon where one of the farmer apprentices has made us a frittata and cucumber salad. Lunch is cooked by the staff and breakfast and dinner is on your own, but you can “shop” for whatever veggies you want to use. Lunch is my fav. And this was delicious. I ate around the sausages, but I think one must have snuck in because my stomach did not agree with how delicious lunch was a couple hours later. Harvesting mesculin was painful.
After lunch I leaded out to the farm with some farm hands and to bunch arugula for dos hours. I’m learning so much Spanish.
This muppet kept coming up for quick snuggles. There are two dogs here at the farm who apparently hunt for rabbits, fox, deer or whatever else tries to step onto the farm at night.
We moved across the farm to start harvesting mesculin.
Mud rivers throughout the fields I soon remembered that there was a hole in my wellie.
Dag. S’gonna be a wet week.
The views aren’t bad tho
After a few hours we hear Ernesto (farm share manager I think) say the sweet words “no mas.” and we got to move inside to wash the fresh mesculin before calling it a day at 6PM. Ernesto brought me into the cooler room to gather veggies for my dinner. I took some cucumbers, a zucchini, daikon, mesculin and peas to make a very odd combination from what was on hand. I brought nothing to supplement my meals. I plan to work hard for free so I plan to eat their food hard for free.
All they had to put the veggies over was oatmeal an so it was savory oatmeal with salt pepper and hot sauce. Then I put some almond butter in it bc I knew I would still be starving after. Strange, but it worked and it filled me up. One part of the addiction I feel to farms is how you are eating for fuel.
This is my room. I got a bed this summer!
Last year my accommodations were a lot less to write home about. I shared this mattress with a bunch of ants, a couple spiders and one tick. I slept on my towel each night:
This time I wisened up and brought my own sheets to sleep on, and a mattress off the floor?? Five star farm livin. For dessert I went outside and picked some mulberries off the tree.
The housemates are interesting. I think one is baked right now as I asked where the cutting board was and she exclaimed “I’m waiting for my boyfriend!” Ok…then I asked if there was olive oil and she took out every condiment they own telling me they’re all for me. And then sidled up next to me while I was sautéing my veggies and said “thanks for this” What?
She then disappeared upstairs after tearing into an avocado and leaving most of it, pit included rolling around on the coffee table. The same coffee table the other housemate was sitting near pouring Capn’ Crunch into his mouth from the box. We were watching wrestling and cartoon network. Surprise. Until he fell asleep and keeps waking up intermittently talking in his sleep. I texted my sister to see how far away her house is, but another housemate came home who is very normal and alleviating my disdain for being at this dilapidated, smelly house right now. It literally takes one second, one person to change my outlook on something. I am le impressionable. And now to bed bc I was supposed to read all night and get to bed. Work starts at 8AM. Farm sleep!