Friday, July 2, 2010

Weeding is a form of meditation

The other day Mckenzie emailed me and mentioned gently that it looks like I'm a little behind on weeding and planting and would I like to meet with her?  I'm glad she positioned her question nonchalantly because I was very sensitive about the pathetic state of my farm.  I forwarded the email to my husband because he hasn't been to the farm in a while (he got a new job) and he was really clueless about the state of things.  Her email was the wake-up call he needed so he went with me to the farm after a long day of work even though he was exhausted.  We managed to go without the kids so it was kind of like a date.  We sat across from each other and planted our pepper seedlings.  It was romantic.   The only thing that would have made it more cliche was, perhaps a love making scene.  But that's never going to happen.  Too freakin dirty there.  No pun intended.  He said that we went faster if I dug the holes and he pulled out all the seedlings from the tray.  I know he just wanted to do that job because it's the fun one.  I didn't care though.  I like all the jobs. 

After seeing the disastrous state of things, he's made it a higher priority for me to get to the farm.  In life you have choices.  And every thing you do is , whether you like it or not, a choice not to do other things.  I learned that from this candid black woman at a conference for pre-med students at UMASS med school.  During the question & answer section this one girl was saying she wanted to be a forensic pathologist but she couldn't take advantage of this scholarship because of bla bla bla and she couldn't take this pre-med class because of bla bla bla.  And the awesome professor totally set her straight and explained that if she wanted to be a Med student she had to find a way to do it.   I've been thinking a lot about this concept because farming is really displacing a lot of other things in my life.  I haven't been to the gym in weeks!!!!  The only reason I'm OK with that is that I'm still getting a fair amount of exercise walking and biking around town and working on the farm.

Today farming displaced church.  This, of course, is a source of guilt because I do try to follow the commands of the Lord and one of them is to observe the sabbath.  I spent a good deal of time contemplating the situation as I weeded in the peaceful field by myself.  Weeding is meditative to me.  It is a form of rest to me.  So how could this be breaking the sabbath?  In this day and age, getting up and dressed and dragging the kids out the door to church seems as much like work as every other day in which we do the same thing to go to school and work and errands.  So how is that a day of rest?  So, even though I am not against Sunday church service, I think it is a bit of a mistake to insinuate that attending church meets the qualifications of a sabbath observed.

 As I sat there weeding, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata went through my head.  It's a beautiful song, but when you only a know three bars of the song, like me, it gets old fast.  After the 10th run through your mind you kind of want to bash your head in.  I also kept thinking the word "nematode" over and over (microscopic worm/parasite) for no particular reason.  Normally my mind is always racing with ideas and thoughts.  Perhaps it's good for me to sometimes think of nothingness.

By the time I left I had gotten all the weeding caught up.  It was the most gratifying feeling ever.  Especially after the previous week in which we were falling behind and I had nightmares that I had accidentally pulled up all my carrots. 

Speaking of carrots, I've eaten a few of them.  They are itty bitty.  One might even mistake it for a weed.  But... and this might seem obvious, but to me it is fascinating... it tastes like carrot.    How can something so small capture a taste essence so perfectly?  I also brought home a bunch of fully grown beets in a basket.  The pride you feel in home-grown produce makes all the time and money investment worth it.  And I don't even like beets.  lol.  Well, I'm starting to like them now.  The only experience I have with them is every Easter when my mom serves pickled beets.  I never touch them (and I eat everything).  I can imagine how it became an Easter tradition though- back in the days when there weren't super-markets.  Easter came at the end of winter, so there was nothing but pickled/canned/dried produce left to eat.  Nothing fresh. 

When I was speaking with a Portuguese neighbor, I told him I was going to plant watermelon and he immediately protested that it was too late.  These immigrant gardeners really know there stuff.  I knew I was in trouble when he said that.  So I came up with a brilliant plan b.  I have decided to drive several hours north to a farm in New Hampshire and buy a crap-load of strawberry plants.  I have to call them first and see if they will bear fruit this year or not.  I only want the ones that will.  Sure, it will be more expensive than the watermelon seeds would have been, but there's no way I'm just letting all that land go to waste and I really had my heart set on fruit.

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