Each day I say I’m going to sit down and write, and by 8pm each night, I have stopped thinking and can no longer cohesively piece together all the little gems I was constructing throughout my day.
Although I am proud to say I wrote that whole paragraph without any spelling mistakes :)
Day 3 on Ploughshare Farm is over. By 8pm I really just want a glass of milk (which is WEIRD for me), or a caramel, and unfailingly a beer, also weird.
My story is not unique and I’m not interested in trying to make you interested in it. I’m another girl who left life in New York City for the quiet and dirty life in the country, who got tired of the noise and crowds and changed it for long days in the field and hands ruined by dirt (seriously, it’s only day 3 and my hands are done for). That’s the gist of it. If you want details, you can read “Dirty Life” by Kristen Kimball or “Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer” by Tim Stark. Their stories are mine, and mine also theirs.
So I find myself on a farm in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota, about 3 hours northwest from Minneapolis/St. Paul, and 1300 miles from NYC. This is the first farm I applied to, the first I heard back from, and the first I visited, and it has just worked out that way. Gary, proud owner and our commander in chief, a man with an unnervingly Minnesotan accent, just so you get an understanding, says everything is about a week early. There are 2 beds of arugula in Center Field that are coming along significantly and that is worrisome. Now we have to starve them, basically, or we will have too much, too early.
The days are long, but it’s 8:30 and we’ve been done for an hour and Gary is still out there doing something. There is a frost advisory tonight, Spring is not yet guaranteed. And the days are only going to get longer as more and more move from the Mothership (main greenhouse) to the Halfway House (Hardening off house, to get plants ready for the real world), to one of many fields.
So just for an example, today, this was our To Do List:
- Irrigation- Fields B1 and B2
- Transplant onions, scallions, leeks
- Plant peas
Doesn’t seem like a lot, but consider each bed is roughly 300 feet, and there are somewhere between 4 and 6 beds of each…
Some can be done on the cultivator, which you sit in a sweet chair riding inches above the ground behind giant spiked wheels punching holes filled with fish/bone meal/molass water. Some things, like the leeks, have to be done by hand, and I’ll say tomorrow is going to be a hard start— 5 more beds of leeks to hand transplant, and if you didn’t know this, leeks are planted by each individual hair thin thread, 6 inches apart. Someone do the math for me, but that’s a shit ton of leeks.
I’ve been thinking about this farming work for so long, and knowing that I’ll love, or thinking that I know I’ll love it, and it’s so gratifying to be here, on day 3, and have not hated a single moment. It’s like when I got my nose pierced. I wanted it so bad that the parts that should’ve hurt didn’t.
I learned how to set up irrigation in the fields, and if I though Cayuga’s ratchette strap situation was bad, I was 150% wrong compared to the state of the rachettes in Ploughshare’s barn. I placed a dozen 40 foot long irrigation pipes and learned that the caps on irrigation pieces are called Male and Female parts… really. Because one is wider and one goes into that wider one… It’s hard not to make those jokes throughout the day…
Yesterday I learned that the barn cat, Skunk, a stunted vicious affectionate killer, shouldn’t be in the greenhouse anymore because apparently cat poop is toxic to pregnant women. All of these things!!!!!!!!!!!! What else can I say? I’m so happy to be replacing the space in my head reserved for anger at my noisy landlord with information like this.
Leaving New York was hard. I left a lot there, material and emotional. I couldn’t bring my boyfriend bag, but I could bring my cat, and I’m so glad I didn’t throw in the towel at his antics back in Brooklyn because he is a CHANGED MAN. Also fatter. Some things I thought I had shaken off have followed me here, but they are at a distance, and not nearly as high priority as the peas and leeks that need planting tomorrow.
The sunset is beautiful. And there are ticks