Last Saturday we went to an open house at Concord's Gaining Ground. Gaining Ground is a volunteer-staffed organic farm which supplies produce to local food pantries. We've personally sampled their cabbage, squash and raspberries, so we were excited to take a look at the operation. When we arrived a hand-full of volunteers were planting garlic, the last crop to go in this year.
Dan helped spread marsh hay over the garlic while the boys and I wandered about the farm. I enjoyed messing around in an empty bee hive - I've read so much about bee keeping but never actually handled the frames before. The children liked seeing the tractor (obviously) and were amazed by the wide array of tools being stored outside.
In the pavilion where the workers eat their lunch there's some kind of swing hanging from the rafters. It sinks with a spring when Harvey gets on, so I feel like it might be some sort of scale.
We chatted with some of the farm bosses and then explored a field they are allowing to lie fallow. They preserve the soil on their 17 acres with a combination of crop rotation, soil-fixing plants, and animal assistance. I asked if they used pigs to help with some of the invasive plants species and the farmer told me, "You'd be amazed at how much poison ivy they'll eat."
Even though our children were not their happiest or walkingest selves during this trip, I found the visit to the farm incredibly refreshing. Just being on a big farm, looking out over beautiful fields and all those tool-filled junky parts in between, it breaths peace deep into the restless parts of my soul. I know some people wish they could live by the ocean, and when I visited the painted desert with Oona she said "This is MY COUNTRY!" I'm not very moved by the ocean and less so by the desert, but set me up in a nice farm field where it smells like poo and the horizon is obscured by a row of trees and I feel like I've come home.
But lest I get too wistful driving back into the suburbs, I took a picture of the chore list they had posted in their volunteer pavilion.
Spread compost in back 1/2 of middle field. Take the irrigation out. Paint composting toilets. And I shudder to think of what is indicated by the single line that just reads "barn." Yes, I may long for a farm one day, but my list of chores is plenty long as is.