Saturday we attended the Open House/Field Day at Our Father’s Farm, the first of a series of these type of events to be hosted by the farms in our Chemical Free Farms of Southern Virginia alliance. Our event is this Saturday and we’re hoping for good weather and a nice turnout.
The wet cold weather continues to slow down our gardens, but fortunately we were able to get a lot of our spring vegetables planted between rains and snows. We have broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, mizuna, sensopai, joi choi, radishes, carrots, spinach, lettuce, onions, turnip greens and mustard greens on the way. It’s beginning to seem likely, on the other hand, that there will be no English peas or beets this year. We still haven’t planted our potatoes and swiss chard, but we haven’t given up. We had an orderly progression of cool weather veggies all planned out, but Mother Nature did not consent to having them pan out that way. So be it.
Whatever happens in the spring, there are blooms on the strawberries and summer planting begins soon. We play the hand we’re dealt. It’s all good.
My first job off the farm was working at a fast food restaurant. As soon as I got my driver’s license, I got the job. Along with the paper hat came mimimum wage ($3.35/hr), a substantial increase over what I was getting paid to work in the tobacco fields.
In Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlossberg describes fast food jobs as teenage rites of passage in our culture, at least among those not sufficiently privileged to start out working at their parents’ country club. In 2001, when the book was published, 2/3 of the fast food workers in America were under the age of 20.
Not any more. Per an NBC news report of last week, today only 16% of fast food workers are teenagers. Over 750,000 fast-food employees have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
Most fast-food workers work part-time.
And they’re still paid the minimum wage.
The serious question is whether you’re going to be a warrior community and live by piracy, by taking what you need from other people. I think the only antidote to that is imagination. You have to develop your imagination to the point that permits sympathy to happen. You have to be able to imagine lives that are not yours or the lives of your loved ones or the lives of your neighbors. You have to have at least enough imagination to understand that if you want the benefits of compassion, you must be compassionate. If you want forgiveness you must be forgiving. It’s a difficult business, being human.
Wendell Berry, 2004
(from an interview with Rose Marie Berger, published in Sojourners)
Lately we’ve been getting a couple of beautiful warm days between each rain event. The rain keeps soaking the ground, to the benefit of perennials (and to the frustration of farmers anxious to plant annuals).
The redbuds and dogwoods are in bloom, as are the cherry, pear and apple trees. Our new fig trees (one is pictured above) have awakened too.
There are flowers blooming everywhere and the world that was gray and brown is now turning a verdant green.
Wet or not, it’s a beautiful time of year.