I had been wondering a little how I could spend days at a vegetable farm (Terralumina gardens) and never do anything with vegetables. That all changed yesterday, we spent quite a bit of time harvesting. I helped harvest three types of kale, green beans (I didn’t help with the purple or yellow, but they were harvested too), cucumbers (pickling, slicing and lemon varieties), squash, collard greens and zucchini. My wife and kids spent a lot of time harvesting potatoes. Cucumber and squash plants are pokey and difficult to get at.
I also tilled a bunch of soil yesterday. They are preparing for a fall/winter planting for plants that will thrive in the cooler weather. An additional part of tilling was to loosen the topsoil to make it easier to get to the clay subsoil. There are plans to use the clay subsoil to build cob houses on the property where more interns can stay. Since nobody here has cob building experience, we are going to start by making some clay pots and bricks and experimenting with what we can do with the clay that we have. Next week we’re going to make an oven that we can use to make bread and pizza. And hopefully at that point we will have figured out enough to start building structures.
Did you notice that I said that we used the clay from the subsoil? That means that the clay is under the topsoil. That means that in order to get to the clay, you have to move the topsoil. I envision myself spending a lot of time with a shovel moving topsoil and digging in clay.
Waking up at 6am to harvest for market and being out in the field until dark harvesting more resilient crops makes me wonder how this family did it before we got here. They only had three people who really participated in the harvesting and it seems like they would have had to spend a lot of time out in the fields harvesting crops. They are an amazing family.
I had a couple of favorite parts in the last few days. I have really enjoyed getting to know another family. We share meals, we work together in the fields and talk, and we just spend a lot of time together. I feel like I know this family better than many people I have known for years and I’ve only known this family for four days. While it has been a learning experience and taken some adaptation, I like being interdependent with others. When you think about it, we are all interdependent, but we live our lives like life is all about us. This is a new experience for me and philosophically I love this ideal of living. In practice, it is taking some getting used to.
My ultimate favorite thing that I have done in the last couple of days is working with my wife and kids harvesting. My kids all helped for two or three hours. There were times when the boys could get right down into the crops and pick stuff. Other times the crops required cutting for harvest or were too delicate for the young hands and the boys were great transporters. As the adults harvested, the boys would run up and down the aisles taking the crop to the end of the rows and putting them in boxes. Even Micah (19 months) would take repeated trips up and down the aisles carrying squash and he had a huge grin every time. One of my greatest joys in life is working shoulder to shoulder with my family… maybe they will come teach classes with me.