Week 11: The heart of the farm keeps beating

By Ethan

I want this week’s newsletter to be short, but impactful. The last few weeks have been hard. I have been sore and tired…and grumpy. This week marks the end of four weeks of chores after hours and weekend responsibilities. The past four weeks have reminded me how lucky I am to share these responsibilities with my class, and that one day all of the responsibilities of the farm will be up to us.

One of the things I like to talk about with Carly and our fellow trainees is the feeling we get when we go down to walk the farm alone. Many of our rotations on the farm come with those weekend responsibilities and after-hours chores I mentioned above, but the feeling I’m talking about only really takes place when you choose to go out of your own curiosity. Instead of walking around with a list of to-dos, we watch the fields with a sense of wonder. This is the time to make the observations that we struggle to find time for in a regular workday.

I chose to come down to the farm today for that very reason and I noticed a few bright orange California poppies had bloomed in our insectary beds. I watched bees pollinate our summer squash flowers. I felt the intense heat of the sun while I listened to the wind travel through the poplar trees. It kind of felt like a weight had been lifted, and that while I may get bogged down caring for so many plants and animals throughout the week, this place has no trouble living without me. Only then did I realize how hard some of our days have been.

We feel the weight of burying chickens, the frustration around broken equipment and leaking irrigation lines, the anxiety of produce without a market. These concerns are real to us even though this isn’t “our” farm because we know that these same things will happen on our farm and we know it will be a lot more difficult without a team of trainees and teachers to have our backs. It’s tough to remain hopeful when each day we learn how many ways things can go wrong on the farm.

If you’re not careful, these thoughts can take over your moments of peace as you walk the fields alone. Maybe it’s luck that I’m more often accompanied by a sense of quiet wonder instead. Or maybe the fact that I’m celebrating all the best parts of what that I’m doing before worrying about all the things I have to do means I’m finally doing the right thing.

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