I've met old hippies, aging yuppies, evangelical families with 10 kids and construction companies called "Southern Comfort" (so many possible jokes). Whilst washing scallions, I blithely chat about the Greek election (knowledge courtesy of BBC World News via NPR), Microsoft's new tablet (I didn't know anything about it, but my conversational BS skills carefully honed in the early-morning hours of waitressing for leatherfaced fishermen), mob violence and the occupy movement, the history of democracy, and new age religion and meditation. Give me a bamboo forest, and I'm reasonably capable of making you some really nice fence posts given a machete and a handsaw. I can fix a throttle cable on a lawnmower, and yesterday I sort of learned how to gas weld. I'm a pro with hoe, and I know which weeds are edible though I can't remember their names or if I do I can't remember what they look like.
My week configures itself from a gentle routine of endless weeding under hot afternoon suns, spraying neem oil for pests and fish emulsion for fertilizer, and transplanting little lettuces. Our biweekly harvest days crown this routine, marking our time into little midweek festivals, celebrations of the work of our hands.
Drive out to the farm on Tuesdays and Saturdays around eight o'clock and you'll find me rattling down the farmdrive in the back of our beater, arms up over the weathered-wood railing and half of my rear end poised on the wheelwell, bracing myself against the gravel ruts we failed to fix last week and trying not to end up splat over all the chard. Watching the sun rise behind forest with a truck full of the heavy, earth smell of fresh kale, broccoli, dill, lettuces with their little bottoms still muddy from last night's rain and the chinese cabbages with disgusting earwigs scrambling out of them, hair tied up and hands dirty--that's the best part of the week. I'll have already been up for a while, and my back will hurt from the hurry of leaning over vegetable rows with a knife in one hand a bushel basket in tow: the work of months culminates with a little snip and a rustle in the already-growing pile of spinach. You might think that that would be sort of sad and anticlimactic. But, nay, rather the farmer when he is in travail hath sorrow because his planting season is come: but as soon as he his delivered of the harvest, he remembereth no more the anguish for joy that a salad is born into the world.