The heat is intense. I can feel it boiling up inside me. The sweat drips down my neck to my pant line until it catches on my shorts. I can feel the heat pulsing in my forehead. “Drink water!”, my head scream at me. Then, I do the one thing you’re not suppose to on the farm, I look back at the row to see how far I’ve made it weeding and then I look ahead of me to see how far I have to go. I can’t help but feel defeated. Who ever would have though that I would feel more defeated by weeds than any person or challenge I’ve come across in my life. Weeds can just seem endless sometimes. A fly buzzes around me and I don’t even bother trying to swat it away. The fly crawls up my leg and walks straight over my poison ivy and I have to resist the urge to scratch. I think to myself, ‘weeding isn’t the worse thing you have to do on the farm. Just keep on moving. Keep a steady pace’. It’s true weeding isn’t the worse thing to do on the farm. Worse things: thorn bushes, chasing a baby calf through poison ivy when you’re only wearing crocs… but then again weeding is pretty bad, especially during hell month.
Farmers call the period from mid July to mid August “Hell Month.” The reason this period of time is called “Hell Month” is because there is a million things to do and it’s 90 degrees and muggy almost every day. In this kind of weather we are pushing harder than we have so far, but we can’t kill ourselves. You have to take an extra moment to drink more water and cool down.
The crew and I are getting better at dealing with the heat and the frustration of having an endless list. The girls on my crew and I tend to make up songs about weeding and crack lots of jokes with each other out in the field. It helps the time go by when you’re doing something like weeding.
Anyways.. Happy “Hell Month” to all you farmers out there! Don’t forget to fill your Nalgene!
A typical day on the farm starts off with a 4:45 alarm. It’s already hot when I wake up in the morning, and I’m usually sweating before I start making breakfast. Breakfast is 3 eggs and a slice of toast with peanut butter and honey (the eggs are from our farm). Then the farm crew and I go to the Taylor’s (the farm owners, our bosses) house for morning meeting. They give us a list of things that need to get done during the day and we typically all have a slightly different list. Then we go do morning chores which is taking care of the animals and making sure they have enough food and water. Chores get done 3 times a day.
Lately we’ve been doing a lot of harvesting. We have so many veggies ready! We have radishes, turnips, arugala, lettuce mix, lettuce heads, pac choi, tat soi, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, and our green house tomatoes are all turning red so we will be harvesting them shorty. Harvesting is easily my favorite farm chore. The past few days we have been doing a lot of tomato trellising, because they grow so fast and could always use a little support. There is blight in the area, but none of our tomatoes have it yet (fingers crossed). The day usually ends with speed weeding, and crushing as many beds as we possibly can.
The day usually ends around 7, or 6:30 if we’re lucky. The most frustrating part of the day, at least for me, is how long the lists are and it’s impossible to ever get it all done, but we always try our hardest. All in all I feel that I’m made for farming. I like falling and rising with the sun. I like how satisfying it is to eat the veggies that I seeded, transplanted, cared for, endlessly weeded, and harvested. I like being sore when I wake up, but knowing I’ll forget about is as soon as I get out in the field. I like knowing exactly what I’m putting in my body, and helping other people do the same. Farming is not easy. It’s easily the hardest thing I’ve done. On my one day off I want to hike or surf and keep being active, but my mind and body is usually fighting me because I’m ready to just collapse. In the end farming is worth it. I hope to work on a new farm next summer that is different from Devon Point Farm. I think it would be interesting to do sheep and goat dairy, and maybe a farmers market (rather than a CSA share). Whatever happens I’m excited that I’ve found a passion in sustainable food and farming, and I look forward to the adventures my passion will take me on.
The farm crew and I got a second off of the field and took a trip to Buttonwoods farm Griswold, CT. They are a part of the Make a Wish foundation. This year they are helping over 200 children’s wishes come true. They have volunteers come and harvest the beautiful sunflowers like the one’s in the picture. They sell the sunflowers for $10 a bundle and that’s how they raise the money. It’s a gorgeous farm! And they have really good ice cream! Which I shouldn’t have had because I can’t have dairy, but I couldn’t resist (you have to pick your battles right?) Buttonwoods also had a large beef cattle heard, pigs, and produce. They are a big fan of their pesticides though! At Devon Point Farm we’re not such fans of pesticides. It was awesome to get to see another farm and see how what they are doing is different from what we are doing. I hope I get to keep visiting different farms in the future. The more farms I see up and running, the better sense I get for the kind of farm I want to have one day, or if I want to have a farm at all.
Part of Devon Point Farm (where I’m interning) is helping out with farm camp. Farm camp is for young kids who are interested in learning more about farming! It’s a great way to educate kids on where their food comes from, and for them to get hands on experience with crops and with farm animals. Farm camp goes on for 3 weeks from 8:30- 3:30 and each week there is a new group of kids. Part of interning on the farm is helping out with the kids and teaching them what we have learned about farming. The kids love feeding Ruby, the calf in the photo, lots of clovers, and Ruby loves it too!
The crew and I participated in Rooster slaughtering on the farm. We had too many roosters.. you can only have so many. The farm allowed the roosters to get big enough so we could get meat off of them, and when we no longer had a place for them they had to go. It was sad, but it also needed to be done and was a good experience. Before farming I would have been appalled by something like this, but the reality of farming is that your raising animals for food and you’re on a tight budget. This does not mean that I approve of animal abuse of any kind. Animal cruelty is not okay, and when animals need to be killed it should be done in a kind and quick manner as we did at Devon Point Farm.
Once the rooster were slaughtered we plucked them and stripped the meat off of them. This was messy and smelly. We were all lucky it was done at the end of the day because we were all anxious to shower when we got done.
Here’s a picture of the barn. This is where the CSA takes place every tuesday and friday. This is an older picture. We now have carrots, turnips, cucumbers, and squash that are ready and in making CSA members happy! We also have had snow pea and snap pea picking. So much veggie stir fry’s and salads!