I always thought this date seemed magical.... 7/21/77. I am 34 today. That is not so young and not so old. I am sure that I was aware when I was a child that I would grow up to be a woman, but it was only just a few years ago that I hated being called "Mam" or "Miss". I was a girl. Or rather just called "Girl" for a long time. Today is forecasted to be hot, in the high 90's with high humidity. It is unpleasant. My mom already called me to go through our ritual. She tells me the story of my birth. It was hot and she was sitting in the kitchen rocking in a rocking chair sweating. My dad was in the garden waiting. It was 100 degrees as they sped to Albany Med in a car with no air conditioning. I was born later that day, at 5:14PM, after a crack of thunder, after going into distress and being taken by C section from my mom who could still feel the knife. And I was perfect. Which usually means scrawny and ugly, but entirely pure in that. And my Great grandma Rosie, who I don't remember said, "Look at her tongue. She's going to be very smart." And my father's father's hands were so big, he could hold my entire body in just one.
I grew up into a special little girl. Aware of injustice. Aware of good and bad, innocence and hypocrisy at a very early age. I did not like other children. I was very shy. I could not ask for things. I hated money. I spent my entire childhood outdoors. I was very athletic. I did very well on my schoolwork, but I did not care to socialize or be a part of the class. I doted on my teacher. I did what they asked, but could not really see other schoolchildren as fun. Looking back, I am sure I had some tough times. One teacher told my parents I would never be normal. I was 7 at the time. But the teacher after that one told me I was just right. How cool is that? I am aware that I am still not normal, but I am quite capable and am really enjoying my unique existence. I am thankful today to be teaching and have the chance to help children feel safe and nurtured. So off I go to school.....
I woke up to Chris gently wishing me a happy birthday with a card, some coffee, a whole bowl of berries plus our first blueberry, and 1,000 worms that have moved into my house to eat our kitchen waste. That is the best morning a girl could ask for. Perhaps a dip in the Victoria Pool and dinner on the town will round out the day. The farm can swelter without me!
Thanks to everyone for thinking of me on this day!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Funny how when I stare at photos of the farm covered in snow, I can hardly imagine it was ever that cold. Today is 90 plus and humid and I am getting ready for a monster weeding project. I have been out and about, flitting around with some newly discovered free time, reading and knitting and swimming, and even going out for a brief jaunt on the Long Trail last week. I am truly blessed to have a little time to myself even after school to tidy and organize, harvest and cook. It is berry season here at the farm and we are eating and freezing raspberries, black caps and strawberries. Hopefully we will add blueberries to that list in a year or two! I am a fruit bat by nature, so I could wipe out 3-4 pints of fruit in a few minutes if I allow myself to!
Chris and I had two very different visitors last week at the farm. Larry, who we hiked a couple thousand miles of the CDT with, and Kafi, a friend of mine from Union. Larry lives in his van and surfs and snowboards depending on the season while working odd jobs in between to fund his love of wilderness. Kafi is in a PhD program for public health and works at Pfizer in the city. It was a lot of fun to have them both and to give them a glimpse of our lives.
Kafi and I after treating ourselves to a mineral bath at the Saratoga State Park.
Lunch counter Larry, long may you run!
Then Chris and I found ourselves with a couple days off together. Chris has not hiked the Long Trail, though I am somewhere near Smuggler's Notch northbound, so we decided to head to the southern terminus together to begin at the start and work our way north in a few stints. We parked cars at either end and hiked the 60 miles from North Adams to Manchester. We were definitely tired after 4 days of hiking with two dogs (we were dogsitting for a friend). The last night in the stinky tent with two stinky hikers and two stinky dogs, I was attempting to clean my muddy calves with a Wetwipe when Chris asked me to marry him! I said "Yes!" of course and the rest is history. I found it completely perfect and romantic that he proposed to me at my worst. I was tickled pink and proud. I've been proud to be at his side since the moment I met him. I will never forget some lady hikers in Oregon thought we were a couple way before we were. I remembered feeling so pleased by that. Here are some photos of our journey.
Chris relaxing with Finny
Aaren, Stella and Finny at Stratton Pond
Stella and Finny waiting for us to pack the tent and GO!
We are looking forward to a month of hard work, Chris at his new job at Kitware and me at summer school with my Head Start kids. I am living for the moment when we get on the plane to Colorado to see my little sister as a new mom! I hear that she will most likely have the baby early, as she is at 8,000 feet in Gunnison, so I am prepared to get the news any time in the next couple weeks! While out there visiting, we plan to hike the last 115 miles of the CDT from Wolf Creek Pass to Spring Creek Pass, thus ending my 10 year goal to become a Triple Crowner. I know that technically, I already am one, but there is this little piece of the trail, one of the most beautiful and majestic stints of all 3 trails, just flapping about like a loose end. I will feel so proud and joyful to officially accomplish such a lofty goal.
For now, the summer is flying by. I am teaching myself how to sit. How to do nothing. How to let weeds grow without allowing them to affect my self-esteem. How to smile. How to be calm enough to listen to other people. How to have friends again. These are no small tasks. I gave my whole life up for farming. I am still swimming in produce, I just give it away, eat it or compost it. I went to the Farmer's Market last Friday night and noticed the lack of customers. I saw a young couple, much like Chris and I, with a table full of beautiful produce that would end up being packed up on a truck and wasted, composted, frozen...? I felt the stress on their faces. I secretly wanted to be them, but I also secretly felt a sense of relief that it was not me going home with a full truck and empty pockets. I am still looking for ways to make a living farming, but I am aware that I am not alone in this. In a perfect world, I would be the tycoon sitting on an empire of soil. But I am just the beggar now, sweating myself into oblivion in the privacy of my backyard with my hand out. My hand is full though, very much so, as this farm provides plenty. As for the future of the local foodshed here in this county, I seriously wonder what is going to happen.