My summer on the farm went by in a blur of sunrises, dirty nails, and tomatoes.  It's been a little hard to believe that the harvest season is finally over, but seasons always change.  Thank goodness.

Don't get me wrong!  I really did love the farm, but something in my bones knew it was time to rest.  There is a season for harvest, and a season to lie fallow.  Now, in these first weeks of November, we've had our first heavy snow and the last crisp leaves just barely cling to the branches.  
photo courtesy Mo McKenna
Autumn has a muted tenor to it...
a softening of summer's garish colors and hectic pace.

The months bringing home 20-pound boxes of tomatoes and bags full of hot peppers are done, as are the weekends spent feverishly canning salsa, pickled jalapeños, tomato sauce...

Here I am - the farm hand - in all my sun-hatted, latex-gloved, pea-picking glory. 

My mouth isn't usually shaped like that, for the record - I was trying to say something clever, like that I'm peeved about all these peas, and the photographer caught me mid-pun...

It's summer, folks, and the overabundance of harvest season has begun.  For you, maybe this means delight at the farmers' market, or a surge in home canning from your garden's cornucopia of veggie-goodness. 
For me, this means picking peas.  Lots of peas.  Or, as the Mexicans would say, muchos pinches chícharos!

After a 14 hour day last Friday, which culminated in 5 hours of all hands on deck to pick every single ripe pea on the field, sugar snap peas (as delicious as they are) have become our collective nemesis.

The peas are nearly done with, but June is just the beginning... I'm bracing myself for the tomato harvest - it's gonna be a doozy.

Life as a farm hand sure does take up a lot of time - so much that I've got no time to talk about it! 

Farming is already an overtime job... I also work as a professional modern dancer two days a week, plus I spend wonderful days with loved ones, then I spend the rest of my free time doing all the homesteading projects I normally write about!

Phew.  It's tiring just to write about it.  So, my apologies for the lack of brilliant, insightful, and helpful posts - I'm too busy living!  And that's a great thing. 

My challenge to you today, dear reader, is to pick one project / action / idea from the vast web of inspiring blogs, then shut off the computer and run with it.  Have fun!

What have you (yes, you!) been doing to:
use your resources wisely, gain skills, heal yourself & others, connect with the Earth, reach out to community, and take creative action?

I want to hear about it!

Fall garlic in our western fields
It's hard to believe it's almost June.  I've been a farm hand for a month now, and it's already changed my life.

What to say about my first month farming?  There's so much - things I didn't expect, new skills I've learned, parts of myself I feel growing as I work with the soil.

You've already seen a typical "day in the life" from my Farm Girl Diaries: Week 1 and Week 2 - so I'll give you a deeper insight into life as a farm hand on an organic veggie farm

Last week on Farm Girl Diaries: 
It was my first week on the job at an organic veggie farm here in the Rocky Mountain Foothills. 
I dirtied my boots, iced my knees, practiced Spanish, and found out that if we don't get rain, my job is in serious danger!  Yikes.

This week...

Free vegetables are one of farming's biggest perks.  Of course, drought and job insecurity are major drawbacks, but those veggies are damn good.

This week in the Rocky Mountain Foothills, we have arugula, bok choy, braising mix, green garlic, pea shoots, radishes, and spinach.  We have much more than that, really (walking onions, lovage, sorrel, and turnips), but this is what I brought home:

It's official - I'm a farmer! 

Well, a farmer's assistant, anyway.  And pretty soon here, I'll have the farmer's tan to prove it (okay... it's a freckle line - who am I trying to kid?)  So here's a run-down of my 'breaking-in' on the organic veggie farm, here on the Rocky Mountain foothills - it's really a 7-day stretch over two work weeks.

Coming up on this week's Farm Girl Diary - new friends, local food politics, Spanish-language learning, major drought drama, and a lot of planting! 

Sexy bad-ass Lauri Newman, my new inspiration
photo by Hannah Combs
Alright folks, I have a confession:  I stretched the truth on my farm hand job application.

I believe my exact words were, "I know how to lift properly - 50 pounds shouldn't be a problem for me."  Well... lifting 50 pounds shouldn't be a problem for me.  But it is.

In reality, I am a lightweight, petite woman with low upper body strength.  As a dancer, my core strength and flexibility is great, but my upper body is... 'delicately' muscled. 

So, in an effort to be a valuable member of the farm crew, I made a plan:  Farm Girl Bootcamp.

Red Wagon Organic Farm
I just got offered (and accepted) a full-time job as a farm hand at Red Wagon Organic Farm.

Who knew?  When I was a kid, I never liked helping my mom in her veggie garden (I blame the Michigan mosquitoes for that), though I did always love to eat peas fresh from the vine. 

Then, when I was 20, I was a guest at an off-grid organic (& bio-dynamic) farm.  When I ate freshly picked herbs from that land, I could feel their life force radiate into my veins.  I know that sounds strange, but there's an incredible difference between fresh, local, lovingly-grown food and trucked-in, several-week-old produce from the grocery store. 

Since then, I've become passionate about local food

Well... I'm going to be a farmer.

_"...keep our shape soft and our plans mobile..." 
~We'Moon 2012 Astro-Overview

Life has a tricky way of shifting shape, so we must stay ever fluid and change our shapes to suit.  Sudden changes in plan have led me to seek a live-in internship on an organic farm across the country.

My heart is pulled towards the land, and the I'm filled by the possibility of my own growth alongside young tender shoots.  Here are excerpts from my personal statement - I hope it inspires you to move towards your dreams.

"... Several years ago, I was a long-term guest at {an organic, off-grid farm}.  My time there was transformative.  {There}, I learned to move to the rhythms of nature, the cadence of the sun, the smell of wind across freshly turned soil.  I crave this immersion, the connection to the land that farming creates.  I’m called to simplify my focus and lifestyle - I want to sweat and get my hands dirty, to build a stronger community through shared work, and to learn the skills needed to better serve my planet. 

... I want to actively build a network of wonderful people, and I am drawn to those who are drawn to the Earth... I dream of building a homestead based in permaculture, where my family can grow in symbiosis with the Earth... Earth is the basis of all my future goals, as I believe that the health of our planet is of fundamental importance - all human acts of goodness and inspiration rely on a thriving home planet."

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