I am settled in! It’s incredible that though I’m only twenty minutes’ drive from Cambridge, I feel like I’m in the back country. There is no library in Lincoln, Mass. There is one restaurant. Lincoln’s only grocery store is closed due to the roof falling in under the pressure of snow this winter. Lincoln is teeny tiny though, so it’s only a ten minute drive to any of these things in neighboring towns.
The cabin that I share with two other farm apprentices is nestled in a clearing that overlooks Farrar Pond:
It is beautiful, to say the least. I’ve been staying here alone– the others move in on Monday– and I am not in the least afraid of the dark or the quiet. The cabin has been around for years and years, and it has retained all of the warmth of previous residents… from the marbles that are tucked in drawers and windowsills, to a bookshelf lined with old hardbound classics, the cabin feels like home.
I jumped right in to work on the farm. After only two days of work, my body is sore all over, and my fingernails are perpetually dirty. I love it! It’s not like farming is always a blast– yesterday I lugged a heavy bucket of fertilizer through rows of tomato seedlings for about an hour, and spent the next couple of hours on my hands and knees planting them in the mud. Farmers, like classical musicians, have no sense of when to stop and take a break. Also like classical musicians, farmers can go from despising their work to loving it in a nanosecond.
After lunch, I thinned carrots until the work day ended, which is highly enjoyable. Thinning carr0ts involves both weeding around the adorable green carrot tops that have just begun to spurt from the ground, and pulling out one of the those sprouts whenever there are more than one an inch apart. It’s tedious but also mindless and easy, so it allows for great conversations.
I got to pick my first Drumlin Farm vegetables yesterday. After work at around 5:30, I headed out into the fields and picked some radishes, turnips, spinach, and parsley. The radishes are so juicy that they seemed more like fruit than vegetables, and the parsley has an amazing sweet tinge on the edge of the robust herbal flavor. Like my coworker Greg said, there’s nothing more incredible than the joy of picking vegetables alone in the fields after work.
I love that life here after only 2 days feels completely natural. It’s almost like NYC never happened… it’s already a hazy memory. Here, green bursts of leaves and the physical demands of my job and the wonderful new people around me fill my consciousness. I can already sense that weekends will also be amazing. Today, I’m having Shabbat lunch with Anna and her friends, going to a yoga class (much needed!), and then showing her the cabin tonight and the farm tomorrow.
Another thing to note about farmers: EVERYONE is a cook, and a major food appreciator. I can’t wait to learn from everybody here. As promised, here’s a recipe (more or less) that I whipped up for dinner last night:
Slice potato, garlic, onion and cook in olive oil, stirring frequently. Add broccoli, cut into very small pieces. Add a mixture of tahini with a bit of water and curry powder, mustard powder, fennel seeds, and cumin powder, and a little bit of soy sauce or Bragg’s. Eat in a wrap or over brown rice.
PLEASE write or call me! I can check my email several times a week, and you can send me letters! AND you can visit me! I’m happy to answer any questions about farming that you might have, though I feel a bit clueless right now.
With love from this sore but satisfied farming apprentice,