May morning photo journal

May morning photo journal

I arrived early today to finish revamping a little herb and flower garden near the farm stand, and to document all the beautiful crops approaching harvest.  I've been struck dumb a lot in the past couple weeks, walking through a field, looking down to notice how fresh and thriving the [insert broccoli, green onions, carrots, peas, etc etc] are looking.  It warrants another photo journal, since the brief evening one I did about a month ago caught nothing of this sort.  It's really time.  We're on the verge of harvest season.

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Pruning tomatoes

Pruning tomatoes

We finally pruned and trellised a bed of very overgrown bed of tomatoes in the greenhouse today.  Tomato pruning is one of my favorite farming projects: it takes some thinking and decision-making, you get to handle plants intimately, and the intoxicating resin leaves my hands black and my nose bizarrely satisfied.  

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Eighteen hands

Eighteen hands

Eighteen hands on the farm.  Holding coffee mugs, slathering sunscreen over bare arms, gesturing and waving in the morning.  Hands to open bolts first thing, and different hands to lock back up at day's end.  Hands to hold ladders, tie knots, write bold black letters on white sticks.  Hands always moving, and eyes watching to keep them moving right.  


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Winter's passed

Winter's passed

I think we made it.  Through winter.  I mean, I don't think it's coming back.  It hit me, not earlier this week when I was sweating in a T-shirt or burning the back of my neck in the summery sunshine.  It hit me this evening, when I was walking my friend's dogs in Westmoreland Park, looking toward a rainbow stretching up from a field of camas and buttercup, realizing I was wearing only a thin sweatshirt a few hours after a thunderous downpour.  Just a few weeks ago, such a rain would have chilled me to the bone.  There wouldn't have been any tulips to catch those droplets, or steam swimming up off the freshly tilled fields as the sun shone through the thunderheads.  There's still a couple weeks until the average last frost date here, but this feeling of relief-- six months in the making-- is too great to let that sway me.  Winter's passed, I say!  We made it.

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Closing time photojournal

Closing time photojournal

For all those times I thought to take a photo, I didn't take one until I was making the final rounds of the day: closing up the high tunnels to trap in heat, watering in the army of eggplant and pepper starts we potted up, soaking up the harvest. 

A short photo journal of the end of a sunny day in April: 

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Tomato scars

Tomato scars

I still feel like a mad scientist, and I'm still in awe of how the only evidence of being severed in half ends up a dainty scar, soon to be nearly invisible near the soil level.  I suppose tomatoes aren't the only organism that shows such resilience.  I wonder if, like an ache from a bone broken in childhood or the deep quaking of long-ago heartbreak, these tomatoes will remember the day I cut them in two and made them whole again.

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The farm works its magic

The farm works its magic

Fifty fraternity members, a few returning volunteers, the first volunteer I've worked with in a wheelchair, a former intern visiting, an unannounced journalism student wanting to take photos of my daily farm life, and only me to guide everyone through our many varied projects.  Amid what could easily devolve into chaos, the Youth Farm worked its magic. 

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Winter abundance

Winter abundance

After some time of my detailed rambling about how to find the last of the Napa cabbage, I hesitated after mentioning collards.  They're behind the greenhouses, hidden amongst a sea of overwintering (and very similar looking) cauliflower.

"Why don't you just come with us?"

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Twenty one degrees

Twenty one degrees

The tomatoes have sprouted.  The greenhouses are full of tender leafy greens.  Eggplants and peppers are trying to germinate over specially heated mats. And the forecast is calling for a low of 21 degrees Fahrenheit tonight.

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