Farm life is especially busy this time of year. We are moving from spring, when we can only grow radishes and greens, into planting for summer in all its abundance. Tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, beans, and winter squash are now in the ground. We are still hoping to plant corn but we may miss our window with everything going on around us. I spent most of Friday on my knees transplanting yet more lettuce, pulling old radishes gone to flower, and sowing Provider beans. At the end of these weeks our bodies hurt, all that sun exposure keeps us from thinking clearly. A cold beer becomes an absolute necessity.
I don’t say any of this to complain. Instead, I write this hoping to give a realistic perspective of farm life. It is not all sweet baby animals, perfect bunches of red radishes, and baskets full of rainbow-colored eggs. We are guilty of this. A more accurate depiction would definitely involve much more insect damage, bunches of perfectly good vegetables without a market to sell to, and goat escapees.
Yesterday, I visited the farm even though I had no weekend responsibilities. I gathered a big jar full of wild rose petals for future use in batches of soap. It felt so good to be aimless on the farm for an hour, without the weeks-long to-do list in mind. I was literally taking time to smell the roses. I noticed things I had not noticed before: just how many buds were on a single stem, how to hold a rose without touching its thorns, and the stages at which the buds were most fragrant.
Though we grow vegetables to make money, it’s time spent in these peripheral zones that make farm life worth living. We do this work for the love of plants, animals, this Earth and the people who inhabit it.
As the season wears on, I hope I can do a better job of remembering the following.
- Stretch to honor your body and the work it has done.
- Take a second to look at the clouds. (Thanks, Shannon. 🌤)
- Don’t forget to plant flowers.
- Walk your farm/garden without a to-do list in hand.
- Cook great food with the freshest vegetables you can find.