After days of foliar-feeding with seabird guano and cleaning out the horse paddock, I wonder how odorous I am to others (non-farmers, at least). It's almost like the dirtier we get, the less frequently we all take showers. I've always leaned more towards savagery than civility, and living here I'm surrounded by enablers… we all eat with our dirty hands, eat stuff off the floor, only shower a couple of times a week even though we spend every day in the dirt (or worse) and sweating, etc. Britney and I were joking around the other day about how we must have at least triple the population of internal parasites than the average American, with our hands always in the soil and our habit of eating vegetables straight out of the ground, still covered with dirt.
Lately I've had this creeping feeling that I'm going to want to stick around longer than the length of this apprenticeship. There seems to be a lot of opportunity here, mostly because there is such a great network of support; I've seriously never experienced anything like this. There's this guy Jeff who owns this great gastropub on the water- all local brews on tap, and an incredible menu which is also made with mostly locally-sourced ingredients (including from the farms that I work on). He gave each of us a $50 gift card to his bar, and also took our picture to put on his menu with a short blurb about what we're doing out here… he's even letting us use his small sailboat whenever we want to! The farmers out here all help each other out, even though they're all technically competing- they all really believe in small-scale local agriculture, and want to see its success.
We've also been saving tons of money on groceries by being involved in the farming community here. Mike Paulson is another local farmer who is friends with Brian and Betsey, and we'll see him around the farm every once in awhile… anyway, he gave me 2 dozen eggs and 3 bars of handmade soap yesterday at the farmers' market, just to be nice. Betsey gave us 4 bags of braising mix and 2 bags of spinach that were leftover from the market (with still more in the barn that we can take), and just a few days earlier had given us 3 chickens and a huge box of potatoes. In the last week, Brian has given us pork chops, bok choy, carrots, beets, radishes, salad greens, and a chicken. He'll also give us eggs and beef sometimes. (Note: everything is organic and pasture-raised) We'll be starting to milk the cow soon, which means we'll have access to fresh milk for making yogurt and butter. Huzzah! We'll be getting even more produce as it gets warmer and the season comes into full-swing.