With all the daily to-do lists and weekly goals and pushes to finish big projects in farming, I often forget to look back at-- and especially to really appreciate-- my successes. This morning, I would never have guessed that I would be looking back on the day with pride and joy. I was in a sour mood. Lately I've been focusing on some of the things I don't have, and it had caught up to me by this morning. I could have crawled back into bed and given the leading to others, hid in the weedy onion patch by myself and sulked in my ungrateful thoughts all day. Even on the brightest morning meeting up with the most positive people, sometimes I'm just caught like that, blind by choice to the good.
It didn't last long though. I was quickly swept into preparing for a 5th grade field trip, keeping them all busy for a couple hours, and on into the day. And now, somehow, I'm thinking back to all the little things I got to offer, teach, and show to an usual mix of people on the farm:
Spinach. Fresh-picked leaves handed out to 28 fifth-graders, eager to try. I explained that the spinach is really flavorful here because our soil has so many nutrients in it. They said it tasted amazing.
Potatoes. We dug around a sprouting green potato "seedling" in the field to see how potatoes grow from potatoes. Most of the class had no idea that the eyes were new sprouts, or that they looked so alien-like as they came alive.
Fish meal. Several of the students joined me in making a batch of potting soil, and near the end we were mixing up the fertilizer together. They said it smelled funny, and we talked about the main nutrients that plants need.
Shallots. This was a train-the-trainer moment. I quickly demonstrated to Sophie how to peel and bunch the overwintered shallots we'll be giving to the CSA tomorrow. She then led a group of young students in cleaning a few totes of them, ready to present in our little tote boxes at drop sites around town.
Flaming. I got to train Sophie and Phil to use the flame weeder in the afternoon, probably the most dangerous tool on the farm. One at a time, I showed them how to operate it, be as safe as possible, effectively kill all those tiny weeds in the potato patch in a split second at an easy walking pace. They both got it, and finished every last bed before day's end.
Rolling tour. My grandparents drove out to Oregon from Ohio to visit this week, and they came down with my parents in a pick-up truck at the end of the day. I was expecting to show them around by foot, like I always do, but they decided it best to travel the long uneven distances in the truck. I got in the driver's seat, my dad perched in the bed, and we crept along the grassy roadways to check out everything that's growing. I was happy that they, who have lived for nine decades on this planet, were impressed with this little patch of land in a corner of Springfield.
Sometimes I forget what a privilege it is, to be the one offering lessons and insights and flavors to others. At least today, I remember.