Wednesday, September 23, 2009


There's a common question that arises on farm tours about five rows on to the 10 acres when I have to bend over yet again to try and decipher the bleached-off name of another form of squash.

" much farming experience did you have before this?" While the squash has started to help the identification process by producing in abundant quantities (eight-ball, geode, crook-neck, zucchini), the answer remains:

Pretty much none. I've never farmed, and barely even gardened.

We weren't chosen for this program based on our agricultural qualifications (and perhaps that's why, though he allows us to change the plates on the swanky Italian planter, farmer Paul has not even suggested that one of us interns take a turn driving it yet). A month ago I could not have told a squash from a zucchini, much less known what size any form of summer squash should be when harvested (my apologies to those I proudly presented with very-large-and-therefore-tough-and-bland zucchini in my early days).

I knew I'd be on a pretty steep learning curve with farming, but didn't realize how many other things I'm vastly unqualified for that I'd be up to. Take today for example. After weeding one row of carrots and harvesting another of zucchini (tasks I'm pretty comfortable with at this point)I set out to tackle the corner of the shed that will eventually be a chicken coop. I'm kicking myself for not taking before and after pictures because it was a mess - cob webs, dust, dried leaves, rat droppings, and the rat himself (who kindly waited until I had removed his box home to make his presence known). This is the sort of dirty job I would once have left to my dad or someone else. But I figured it out, and I did it, and that shed is now the cleanest it will be for another 20 years (bring on the chickens!). After lunch, at the request of the birthday girl (Erynn!) - I taught a yoga class (number of pupils: 2). My yoga qualifications - 2 years of taking a class at college. I still can't even do a headstand... Then to round off the day...a few hours of translating various documents from English to Spanish, a pretty dismal prospect for anyone that's tried to have a conversation with me in Spanish.

One of the many perks of intern-dom: the space to take on things you've never done before...and the sore muscles to prove it.

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