May 20, 2008

Running for it

I started on this day with my first jog through Zephyr Valley. What was once my iPod that filled my head with music during my runs has now been replaced by chirping birds. The driveway to the farm itself took nearly 10 minutes to jog. The dogs were on my heels as I left, and I think they’re slowly getting used to me. The jog was beautiful and peaceful.

Today was the first day I officially got dirt under my fingernails. We picked asparagus in the morning, reminding me of my family back home picking wild asparagus in the local ditches, and my brother who proceeds to pickle them. This experience is going to make grocery shopping completely different now that I see that somebody had to chop every single sprig in the bunch. It’s just something you’re never forced to think about. The five Mexican brothers that work on the farm showed us the ropes. The language barrier was overcome by their ability to show us what is ‘bien’ and ‘junke’.

I got to talking to one of the guys, Olegario (Ole for short) , and attempted a conversation in Spanish. If things were understood correctly, he’s got 7 children back home in Mexico. He asked me if I was married, and why not. He told me he likes to work on farms in Minnesota better because we don’t use chemicals. And then they had to make fun of me that I was wearing ‘zappatos’ (tennis shoes) and not farm boots. They’re really fun to work with. After we picked the asparagus, we packed it into 1 pound bundles to put in the cooler.

Evan, the farm’s handy-man who is my age, drove another summer worker and I up to the Lacher Ridge where Featherstone has another plot of land. This ride was of no-speed I had taken before. These are nowhere near straight-roads mind you. Evan warned to be cautious of random cows or sheep crossing the road throughout the summer.

Once we got back we had a staff meeting and were free for the evening. I made a dash to Winona to get some groceries from Bluff County Co-Op grocery store where one of the ZVCC members works and where I ran into the girl in front of me at the cashier who worked at Featherstone a few years previous. I picked up some quinoa, pears, grapefruit, yogurt, baba ganoush, lentils, and balsamic vinaigrette. After getting groceries I joined the community meal at the common house, where we had the quiches Tahira, Charisa, and I made with asparagus from the field.

After clean-up I did a load of laundry and worked on a freelance assignment on the porch of common house. It was so peaceful working to the sound of crickets and birds (AND an occasional coyote howl!) Kevin, who lives down the road from me, informed me that the nearby community in the valley has a volleyball league on Thursdays. It sounds pretty intense and serious, I don’t know if I’m quite up to par for them. I’ll keep you posted.

And as an end note to keep things exciting, today I showered for first time in 3 days.

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