I started the day with a woman called Claire who works here at the farm. She has her degree in Sustainable Farming and did interesting things like moving to Ecuador for two months to study their farming. In Ecuador they eat sustainable whole foods that aren’t processed, preserved or sprayed with pesticides, just because that’s the way food is made. They don’t have access to chemicals so the food doesn’t have chemicals. It’s not yuppy, it’s their only option. We spent the day transplanting orange mint and arugula so they would grow bigger. We seeded peas and told stories and asked questions and learned from each other. I ate the mint while I worked. I dug my hands into dirt without thinking twice…then I saw a black widow and put on gloves cause really, I’m from Orange County and I’m not that tough.
At lunch Bill invited me over for bread making. He is everything you want a farmer to be. He is knowledgeable about his trade and works tirelessly to create a sustainable way for farming. He went to a conference a few months back to meet with some Berkley students who are researching how it is they can get young people back on farms making a living, avoiding the dreaded industrialized farmer takeover. He cares enough to fight for a different way to work the land. He invited me into his home and taught me how to make sourdough bread, then cut me a slice toasted with homemade mayo, Dijon, spinach and avocado. He brought me a book list for readings I might find interesting and loaned me one about urban farming. He brought me over some fresh eggs the perfect shade of grey/blue with bright orangie yolks and I fried them with some thyme I grabbed from one of the greenhouses. He’s generous, kind, interesting and I wish I could be their surrogate granddaughter.
I’ve realized in my time here that with open space and silence I’m affected really deeply. I would do things like watch the wind move the grass, or the clouds change shape. I would listen to the pattern of a birds songs or the crunch noise from the sheep pulling up grass. I contemplated nature and earth as this big strong living being all connected like one body with different parts - everything has its little job and together it’s exquisite. I stared at an apple blossom because it looks like a tiny peony. I rode a bike with no destination and I climbed a steep mountain that didn’t have a trail. I sat in Bill & Barbara’s kitchen while they told me stories about farming and their life together. I held a book and never read it. I didn’t need input. Just to look at the purples and golds of the hills was enough. I felt like all these layers fell off when I got alone. I don’t ever want to be lonely and am so grateful for friends and family, but sometimes the busyness keeps me from awareness. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert but I felt that when I got alone, as hard as it was, I felt more. I thought more. I cried over nothing, and I prayed more because God felt like he was everywhere. So, either I’ve gone a little crazy, or this has all been really life giving. It feels fresh, like eating a kale salad or the way I feel right after a good run.