I had a great first week on Luxy Farm!
Even with the bad weather I enjoyed the whole week. And I believe I have to attribute this to the wonderful people I am surrounded by. Johnny and Daizy are great people and their lovely daughter Ayla is one of the cutest things in the world. Also the other intern, Chloe, who I work alongside, is awesome and we get along really well.
The work itself has been fun as well (I use the term fun loosely of course) and everything is new and exciting right now. Johnny will show us how to do each new task and then off we go! We were so happy at the end of the week to see some of the seedlings we had planted at the beginning of the week sprouting already!
We started off the first week trimming the onions, shallots and leeks. After which we then thinned them, which is less easy than thinning some of the other plants. Whereas the cabbage family sort of looks like clovers when they sprout and we were thinning them from 2 or 3 down to 1 (easy to see), the shallots are thin and tall and get tangled all together and we were thinning them down from about 5-6 to 3 (harder to see).
We then watered the greenhouse (which we do daily pretty much), which is good work for the shoulder muscles because you’re holding the hose about 2-3 feet above the beds which are already about 4 feet off the ground. And let me tell you it takes a while to water the whole greenhouse, especially at the moment seeing as we are beginners and are often rechecking to make sure we have watered enough. Note: it is better to underwater and water again then to over water and drown your plants/seeds.
Most of the week we seeded extra veggies, including: lettuces, peppers and rutabaga. The two most physical things we did all week would have to be removing the plastic mulch from 5 rows of beds and dealing with the sandbags when covering up the garlic in the field. The plastic mulch had been out over winter and mud had begun to creep up on both sides so as we were pulling it up out of the ground it would begin to collect twigs and all the mud in the middle making it much heavier and therefore harder to pull out. We had to start clearing the mud from the middle of the pile if we hoped to keep pulling it backwards. The rest was easy in comparison, rolling up the plastic mulch and the plastic pipes/tubes that had been underneath. But let me tell you, we both felt like a beer after doing that.
We also had to pop garlic bulbs (which were planted before winter) back into the field that had popped out, due perhaps to the contraction of the earth, but we aren’t quite sure. This of course we did on our knees and so on my trip home this weekend I stopped at Canadian Tire and got myself some knee pads. A smart investment I’m sure. After having done this we then covered the beds with row cover, which you don’t want to be doing on a windy day. Unfortunately, it was pretty windy the day we did and so we would walk a few feet and then crouch down with the row cover as the wind picked up and made a sail out of it. We would wait for the wind to calm down, walk as far as we could and repeat until we got to the end of one row of beds. From there the row cover unfolded to cover all 5 rows and we weighed it down along the perimeter with sand/gravel bags that weigh approximately 20 pounds.
I felt like we ended the week with a bang. We got to use power tools in the morning! Which I was pretty excited about because I like the idea of building things yourself. We had to make more tables for the greenhouse because we had seeded 15 trays (each 72 pockets) of rutabaga earlier in the week and had run out of table space. Johnny did the cutting of the wood and we assembled the legs. It was nice to be able to say at the end that we had helped construct the tables!
The last thing we did on Saturday wasn’t necessarily fun, but I couldn’t help but laugh while doing it. There had been left over carrots, squash and garlic from the year before which had remained outside in one of the sheds and had by that point, become very moldy and stinky. Fortunately for me, I had just started a cold and could barely breath or smell, however poor Chloe could smell all too well the awful stench that came off of the veggies. We dumped them all into the tractor which Johnny took into the field to dump and then we had to clean all the baskets they had been in. That means I had to put on a large, down to my toes, yellow rain apron. Chloe took a picture. I’ll have to get it off of her. I basically looked like Dexter and felt like a butcher. I used the hose to pressure spray all the yucky debris off the baskets, keeping my mouth closed (for once), to prevent backsplash. It was a wet and yucky job but I had fun doing it.
And so that was my week! We only had to start work at 8AM (which means I slept until 730AM) and we finished work at 6PM the first night and 530PM the rest, even finishing early on Saturday at 3PM. At the moment there is only so much we can do while we wait for the weather to get better and the fields to dry out and warm up. We will eventually start our days at 7PM and work 8-10 hours. We get two 15 min breaks throughout the day and 11/2 hours at lunch.
To some it might sound like slave labor but it really isn’t. Even though I’m not a morning person, I’m able to get up because I’m excited about the day ahead. It doesn’t even feel like work. I’m simply getting up and doing what needs to be done. Again, I have to stress that I am lucky to be working with such amazing people. It makes the job and the time that much more enjoyable. Chloe and I can easily work side by side in silence but we also have a lot in common and enjoy listening to each other’s stories. Often, we also listen to CBC on the radio, which I rarely did before, but will continue to do in the future.
It was a great feeling to finally get settled in to our trailers and make dinner together one night and cheers to a good day of work. On Friday night we joined Johnny and Daizy and Oma (Johnny’s mom) for dinner and spent the night talking and getting to know each other. I think it just goes to show that what really matters in life is not where you are or what you do, but who you are with. Surrounding yourself with good people and enjoying time with those people will result in happy memories no matter what.
So I had a great week being physically active, eating fresh spinach, kale and garlic and getting to know some great people! I am looking forward to the weeks ahead and sharing it all with you. Stay tuned!