A week in brief

A week in brief

This is why I've been forcing myself to write every day: because when I set out to document and reflect on an entire week that's somehow slipped past me, the task seems impossible.  There are so many details and conversations and colors and projects that happen in one hour, let alone one day-- and forget one whole week!-- that to try to encompass the whole will be woefully inadequate.  Nonetheless, I guess, I'll persist.

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Animal encounters

Animal encounters

Two animals ended up in black trash bags by the end of the day.  For all the plant life we nurture and control on the farm, there usually isn't much animal life to speak of.  Richard's two "guard" dogs that live on site might have something to do with it.  There are rodents off and on, lots of snakes, a stray cat or two that lay low and scurry away whenever I spot them, and all manner of spiders and insects.  But big animals (besides the human variety) are rare.  So to have two close encounters in one day overshadows any of the other highlights of the day I can imagine.

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Squash bugs

Squash bugs

I feel like I'm walking across a recently abandoned battlefield, where the only remnants of life are a few greedy scavengers trying to find pieces of gold in dead soldiers’ pockets.  Or something like that.  We're checking for any last survivors of zucchini and summer squash in our greenhouse beds.  They had a great run-- about six weeks right at the beginning of harvest season-- but they're crashing faster than I'd imagined.  Leaves are flopped over and sticking to the black plastic underneath from the thick juices of aphids and squash bugs.  We find a handful of stunted, deformed fruit from both entire beds, deposit it half-heartedly in a crate, and quickly move on.

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The last day before harvest begins

The last day before harvest begins

There's nothing and everything special about days like these, when the sun finally breaks out in the late afternoon and our backs are waking up for the week and I have no idea what to write about because any single moment could become an entire book if I explored it.  I'm searching to find the most magnificent part to share, but it's all magnificent.  It's all normal and wild, monotonous and exhilarating, tiring and energizing, frustrating and peaceful.  It just is.  And it's all really, really good.

So here.  Here's this most majestic, perfect squash blossom to top off this most sublimely imperfect last day before Harvest Season begins.  

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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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Garden symphylans

Garden symphylans

Our visible achievements always get the glory and recognition, but for me the invisible is just as important.  And for all the conversations about life, learning about plants, skill-building and muscle memory developing in everyone's bodies and minds, I leave the week with persnickety obsession with what we have yet to accomplish.  It's such a relief to look backwards, see what we've done, hear feedback from people about how they've grown.  Maybe even more than the plants have.

Sometimes, that growth is wildly uneven.  We grow and learn only because the plants don't thrive as expected.  Take the first round of spinach from the greenhouse. 

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