It’s the first day of Fall.. I can’t believe it! I keep thinking about how time surely does pass by quickly in the summer… waking up with the sun and getting to bed as soon as the moon and stars pop out amongst the jet black sky gives you the chance to fully live each day but just as the vegetables start to die back and begin their time of rest – I too feel that way… But it has been a very successful farming season this year. Much drier and sunnier than last year which made for some very happy crops and even happier farmers and farm fresh food lovers.
As some (or most) of you know I spent the summer season at Farm Girl Farm alongside Farmer Laura and 3 other apprentices; Vivian, Sara & Val. My time there gave me a whole new farming experience – specifically to the CSA. FGF is a 70-person CSA nestled in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. While the planting, growing, harvesting and care of the plants were all second nature to my being – the business side – the CSA, the markets, and restaurants were all fairly new aspects to me. We had about 3 or more acres that we were farming – just the 5 of us and we made it happen. At the peak of summer we’d spend the majority of our time in the fields harvesting but from May until the end of June we spent most of our time turning soil, planting, weeding and getting crops healthy to harvest. We worked long, grueling days (especially when the hot summer sun showed up). I was the designated tilling machine and tilled up two fields worth (and more) of soil with my bare hands and our little tiller. It wasn’t easy (farming is some of the hardest work out there) but at the end of the day you went home satisfied knowing/feeling all of the hard work you put in.
But just as important as the hard work is finding ones limits, creating boundaries and establishing a balance. We can all push ourselves to a certain extent but even then there is only so much we can do. I learned a lot about myself this summer – especially that even I have limits – as much as I like to be self sustaining and aware there comes a certain point when our bodies and even our minds hit a climax – where it becomes too much, when balance is lost and hard to restore, when motivation slowly dissipates and fatigue steps in. But if you are in touch with yourself you will feel the shift- the change- and reflect upon it. This is how we learn and grow. Perhaps this is why I love weeding so much – it gives me the time in the day to think about things and reflect – to “weed” out my thoughts and my life. I did a lot of self reflection this summer and feel good about all that I’ve been through. Living and working in the Berkshires was a great experience for me… I accomplished a lot through farming, was subjected to a new culture, town and simpler way of life and established some pretty great relationships along the way…
It almost seems like forever and a day since I was living in Western Mass but I cherished my time there and feel like I have really accomplished a lot for myself this year. The end of the season is always a bittersweet time but after farming for almost 11 months straight I am getting ready to give myself a break for a few months this winter. I don’t have much to show for all my hard work (monetarily speaking) but I feel like all my experience is leading me closer to a much bigger goal and to accomplish that goal I have to take care of myself, be inspired, restore balance and just be. But until then I want to share some summer moments caught on film by most trusty camera, my pentaxK1000….