Rosy and I spent all day stacking logs in the heat. After the first hour Rosy was ready to change things up and do a different chore, but I wanted to keep going. After another hour we both needed a break. Rosy caught her second wind and we kept going. It became a mission to stack three cords of wood, and by the end of it we were a sweaty mess standing proudly next to our mighty tower of chopped wood. Wood stacking, I believe, should be an initiation for all new farmers. Another chore has been salvaging some planted trees from a swarm of blackberry bushes waging its slow war on everything that isn’t a blackberry bush. Rosy borrowed a machete from Johnny with great gusto and proceeded to gut the property of the vicious blackberries that have, in general, been taking over the Northwest for many many years. She’d cut and I’d rake everything up. Rosy, with a machete in her hand is a sight to behold! I try my best to get out of her way when she goes a-swinging. Then after a hard day of work, we’d find a comfy spot out on the patio and peel garlic that’s ready to be ground up and stored in mason jars. These are just little samples of some of the work we do here.
Looking back prior to this, whenever we'd move back into the vegetable garden, I’m pleased to get back on track and focus on the agricultural side of things. Yesterday we dug up garlic, peeled them back a leaf or two and laid them out to dry. We then mounded potatoes in the evening, and that means as the potato plant grows, they’ll get partially covered with dirt so that the potatoes can form and be dug up later. Each plant has its own form of magic and it’s exciting to see how each plant functions. When we first arrived, we dug out some trenches in one of the green houses and piled them up with fresh compost. The mounds formed were to become new homes for tomato plants. Diana explained that there are two forms of tomato plants, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate means the plant will grow to a certain point and indeterminate means they grow and grow and grow. We then hung up some twine to the roof of the green house and this is used to keep the indeterminate tomato plants from falling over. Diana told us that the amount of tomatoes produced would be an absurd amount and that made our mouths water.
I try to soak up as much information as I can, but I try not to worry too much about that but more so about the experience itself. I’m interested in the culture of farming, the lifestyle, and the rewards that come with it are self-evident in the food we eat. Tonight we had an excellent dinner. The meal was a final hoorah as we begin to wrap up our short time here at the farm. It was chance to chat with everyone because we all have our own lives and so conversations become short and spread out. Every once in a while you gotta herd us all together. We had salad with wonderful greens and edible flowers from the garden. Different kinds of meats and giant portobello mushrooms that got grilled. We drank beers and told jokes. We sat and watched these three baby ducks stumble around and gobble up slugs. They were here when we first arrived and are the main attraction for us every day as we’d sit down to take a break out on the patio. They’re here mainly for their duck eggs and just watching them grow is a powerful sight. It’s been a trip to see these beautiful beasts go from fluff to feather in such a short amount of time.
Tomorrow is our last day and it will be a very busy one just like today. We’ve taken in a lot of Olympia. We enjoyed the company of Maya, the farm’s guard dog, and the way she’d follow us from chore to chore. I tried to savor the calm that would come to me in between the drops of sweat. I told Rosy it's crazy to think of how much this place has changed, two weeks ago we came in as strangers in a strange place, and on Friday we’ll leave as friends.