Five stories

"I showed up around ten o'clock for my environmental studies class assignment.  I had a hard time waking up, and the sun felt really intense even by mid morning.  A woman showed us around for a while, and I tried raw kale for the first time.  It was actually pretty good.  Leafy tasting.  I volunteered to thin apples before I knew what it meant, and I was happy I did: I got to be in the shade most of the morning, just cutting baby apples off the branches to make better fruit.  I even climbed up into some of the trees, and for a few minutes I forgot all about my classes and final projects-- the sound of apples plopping onto the tarp, light filtering through the leaves, birds chirping nearby.  What a relief."

"It was my first day on the farm.  I came to FOOD for Lane County to do community service for my veterans assistance program, and they directed me here since I have a bit of a green thumb.  I ended up in the onion field, pulling weeds out by hand.  At first there was a group of students with me, but they all disappeared after a while.  I didn't mind-- having my hands in the dirt, soaking up sunshine, all alone with my thoughts and those onions.  The volunteer lady came over right as I was getting ready to take a smoke break, and she screamed half way down the field.  I got up to see what was the matter, and she was laughing by then.  Some little bird was practically growling at her from an onion bed.  It was crouched over a few spotted eggs, screaming and spreading its wings wide.  We gave it some distance once we realized what it was so upset about.  What a trip!"

"Today was my third day of work here.  I didn't really know what to expect, working with a group of strangers.  I usually don't really get along with people my age at first.  But they're all really friendly, and no one is trying to cause drama, and I'm starting to really like it!  We moved a bunch of plants out of the greenhouse with Ted, then started transplanting peppers, corn, you name it.  I had to go back to the tool shed to get more sunscreen a couple times-- it was frickin' hot today!  Michaela was there, asked me how I was doing in the sun.  She reminded me that I'll get my paycheck today.  I'm really excited buy my own clothes, and help out my mom more.  Finally!"

"It was funny, when I found Ted and Michaela out in the field and apologized for missing last week, they both laughed.  Ted was like, 'That's the beauty of being a volunteer, man-- you can show up whenever you want!'  No worries.  It was great to be back.  After harvesting lettuce with some sorority girls and hoeing a couple beds, I helped load up the truck and trailer.  It was overflowing so we had to save some stuff back in the coolers- I've never seen that much lettuce in my life!  The market leftovers were ready to load, too, and I got to dig out a bunch of veggies to take home: spinach, salad mix, a huge bunch of beets...  Michaela suggested steaming the greens to eat with the roots.  I'm gonna see how it turns out later today."

"I wandered in on the wrong end of the farm, I guess.  A young lady led me through the orchard to a little red shed and introduced me to the farm stand people.  I think they were starting to close up, but they still let me shop.  Oh, the strawberries!  I had to get a few pints, and found lettuce, beets... a bunch of things, really.  Even these funny light green zucchini.  Marvelous, all these veggies and friendly faces, that orchard and the sunny fields.  I wonder what they'll have next week.  I had to keep asking for more bags, so much produce, and for a moment locked eyes with the woman getting them for me.  'We have the same eyes!' I said to her.  She seemed in too much of a hurry to make much of it, but it was true.  Exact same, I tell you, that brightest of blues."