Return to America

It’s been a while, I know.

After the Milford Track, we flew back to the North Island and rented a car for our final hurrah. It was a luxurious (for us) time of relaxing, sightseeing, and reflecting on our trip. It was also the last week we would spend together for the whole spring and summer.

Not 24 hours after leaving Auckland and arriving in San Francisco, I boarded another plane to Oregon; Pat, to Massachusetts. I was going to spend this farm season on an organic vegetable farm in Blachly, OR, while Pat was pursuing timber framing on the East Coast. We knew we could weather a few months of long distance, and so far, we have. It hasn’t been the most fun, but we are both enjoying our work.

This season at Horton Road Organics has been phenomenal in terms of learning; the farm, however, has experienced one disaster after another. During an unusual heavy snowstorm just before we apprentices arrived, all five of the greenhouses collapsed and needed to be rebuilt. The strange weather has continued all season: wet spring, extremely hot summer. Add some changing market conditions and you’ve got one weird season.

The rhythms of the farm are as follows: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings we harvest. On Tuesday mornings until a few weeks ago, we transplanted starts into the fields. Other time is spent washing and prepping veggies in the pack out and weeding. Early spring was spent doing a lot of farm maintenance (blackberry pruning, greenhouse cleanup); late spring and early summer were planting and weeding times; and now, as we transition from the full-on mode of high summer, we’ve finished planting and most of the weeding and our days are dominated by harvest.

We partake in the farm bounty, and after a solid year of eating trail food and travel food, my body is so thankful. Fresh salads, leafy greens, carrots and beets and radishes, peas and green beans, celery and onions and corn and tomatoes and garlic and winter squash… I still feel overwhelmed with all this abundance. It is delicious.

In another month, the farm season will be over and I’ll be reunited with Pat. We’re setting ourselves up in western Mass, at least for the next year or so. I dunno, I just got a book on the PCT from the library…

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