Barbara was a professional cellist for most of her adult life. She played in the LA Philharmonic and with musicians like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. She was in the orchestra recordings for movies like Forest Gump and E.T. and now she plays with a local orchestra…ya know just for fun. 20 years ago she married Bill and moved to a farm to spend her days gardening.
“You just need to be able to read plants and know how to water them”, apparently that’s all it takes to be a good farmer. Such a simple statement for someone like her, but so much more complex for a brown thumb like me – she tells me I'm a natural with the plants…I’m not convinced. Here’s my one tip, when you water your plants don’t be a afraid to spray the leaves directly so they get rustled up a little, it mimics the wind and will get your plants stronger more quickly. Other than that, I have nothing for you in the way of farming advice. I’m sorry to say I didn’t ask a lot of detailed questions because most of the information wouldn’t pertain to my real life so instead I asked them questions about their lives and I made some new friends and gained a lot more than a farming experience, I gained some peace.
I’m home now in my concrete world full of the people I love, my cats, a fabulously full schedule, my warm bed, the persistent buzz of a city full of activity & lights and a few new herb plants that I’m trying desperately to keep alive. The reality is I can’t live in a golden valley surrounded by nothing but hills and oak trees and earth, but I think I can find a way to integrate some of the serenity that I’ve found into my wildly active life. I can thrust my nose into the soil of my tiny plants for hours on end and bring myself back to my peaceful hours in the greenhouse, Trever might leave me, but at least I’d have my plants. I can wake up early and drink my coffee gazing at the serene train station while listening to the peaceful sounds of train whistles and grinding metal wheels. I can enjoy nature by looking directly up in the sky as that is the only unobstructed space around me, but boy is that blue blue.
But really, the truth is I love living in a city. I like the hustle and bustle, and people and things to do. But in the middle of it, I can make a choice to allow myself off the hook sometimes. I can let myself sit and relax and be unproductive for a few moments, to make time to be outside finding hiking trails and spaces for peace. And then in a few months I can go back to the farm and love it all over again.
In August or September they have their tomato harvest dinner and they bring in chefs to the farm to cook a fabulous meal at twilight. You eat under the open sky and sleep in a glamping tent in the orchards and maybe do a little wine tasting in the area the next day. They have a similar dinner on August 1st to celebrate garlic. I will be at BOTH. Obviously.