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.
Days 1 & 2:
Low point: They wouldn't let me work! I didn't know what to do with myself... Don't worry, I figured it out real quick!
Highlight: Blessed rain! If this keeps up, I may even have a job in a month. Fingers crossed...
Cucumber seeds are fragile little divas, all high-pitched, "Oh goodness, no, that's the wrong end... oops! I'm so featherlight, I just couldn't help but fly away!"
Yes, if you work in the fields long enough, seeds start to develop personalities.
Low point: There was a grisly murder near the zucchinis. I think a bird got tilled under our plastic mulch sheets, because the squash field is littered with mangy feathers and smells like a rank carcass. Charming.
Highlight: We got to come back to work! I didn't expect to miss crouching in the sun for 9.5 hours at a time , but it's nice to be back.
Today, I harvested loads of white turnips and easter egg radishes, then washed them all.
After lunch, I painstakingly weeded baby spinach, then poked a ridiculous amount of holes in black plastic mulch, preparing to plant more cucumbers. I even planted a few cuke seeds towards the end (persnickety as ever), until I got burnt out - figuratively and literally (nine hours in the sun is a long time!)
Low point: It was so hard to wake up today... 5:30 am has never felt so early before. These days, I consider 5:30 as sleeping in!
Highlight: Good conversation and laughs with a new friend. I was essentially partnered with one other girl all day - we moved between each project together. She was a little reserved at first, but by midday we were having meaningful conversation and by the end, we were giddily giggling over rows of black plastic!
I harvested broccoli rabe, red baby kale, and mustard greens, then bunched them all on-field. Let me tell ya - bunching is a lot harder when it's windy and your fingers are numb beneath thick gloves.
After that, I washed arugula and green onions for the rest of the day - and for the record, it's no picnic having your hands submerged in water for 5 hours when it's only 50 degrees out.
Low point: My poor, cold fingers. But you were probably gonna guess that already, huh? It wasn't too bad, actually - during washing, I had on thick cotton gloves underneath waterproof latex gloves, which helped a lot.
Highlight: I successfully told a joke in Spanish! Thanks to the expertise of a dear friend, I made two native Spanish-speakers laugh. It's not funny in English (it's a Spanish pun), but here it is anyway:
Two men on a beach
y uno dice, "No nada nada?"
and one says, "You're not gonna swim at all?"
y el otra dice, "No traje traje!"
and the other says, "I didn't bring a suit!"
It was my first day working market and we showed up at 6 am to set up shop - what a cold, grey morning. The food truck was an hour late (dead battery), so we hustled to set up everything in time. Literally, we ran. Good thing I've been working out.
The fast-paced market day flew by: weighing and bagging loose greens, maintaining our beautiful display (one of the top three best-looking booths at market, for sure), answering folks' questions about the veggies, and working the cash register.
After a 6-hour market, we broke down our tents, put it all back in the truck, swept away the wilted veggies, and went home. All the evidence gone, like it never happened.
Low point: My mental math skills are a little rusty... working the cash register was kind of stressful, and I don't do math well under pressure. There was one particularly embarrassing exchange where I tried to give a man $1.50 in change when he paid $5 for a $2.50 bunch of radishes. Ugh. Then our calculator broke, of course! Luckily, my mind sharpened up quickly.
Highlight: Everything. Seriously. I loved working market. At one point, kick-ass manager commented, "You're built for market!" I really am.
My top 4 highlights, cuz I'm not gonna choose:
- Free coffee and sausage from local vendors - made a BIG difference in my attitude.
- Chatting with enthusiastic customers about how to make radish green pesto, pea shoot salad, and braised greens.
- Giving away our leftover veggies to grateful and surprised market workers - I felt like the Arugula Angel.
- Getting to take home all sorts of delicious fresh vegetables, plus a random hemp ice cream sandwich that a grizzled old hippie of a vendor traded for mustard greens!
Whew! Second week down. I'm still praying for rain, because I want to keep this job!
Up Next - Farm Girl Diaries: First Month Insights
Do you have any questions about my life as a farm hand? I'm happy to share!
You might like:
~ Farm Girl Diaries: Week 1
~ Farm Girl Rising
~ Farm Internship: Drawn by the Earth
~ 10 Commandments of Radical DIY
Natural Mothers Network, Healthy Home Economist, Real Food Forager, Prairie Homestead, Mind Body and Sole, and Frugally Sustainable!