Summer Intern Paul Minor ’17 fights vampires with garlic at Nothing’s Simple Farm in Walla Walla, WA

paul-and-garlicI sleep in a tent and I bath in a creek, but I could be dirtier. I usually change my socks. Now don’t get the wrong impression, not all farmers are as dirty as the root vegetables that we harvest. My superior, the venerable Theodore Cizewski, sleeps in a cozy bed and takes full advantage of his indoor plumbing. Even the farm dog (Elsa) sleeps indoors! But I embrace my place among the plants.

In the mornings I rise to the hooting of birds. We (Farmer Ted, Anna Brown [other intern], Elsa, and I) labor under the cool sun for a couple hours before one of us cooks a big pot of oats which we all eat. Every morning: oats, raisins, cinnamon, peanut butter, and for the lactose indulgent, milk.

I am proud to announce that I changed Theo’s oat preference. Upon my insistence we tried steel cut. After just one bowl Theo was sold. Truly I tell you, these days he is a steel cut oat eater through and through. But of course this summer we all are.

After breakfast we venture back out into the not so cool late morning sun. We grow lots of leaves. By volume lettuce is our largest crop. But Nothing’s Simple Farm has a great deal of variety, which is required to run our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project.

This means that each week a tote bag is delivered to our members, usually filled with 3-5 varieties of crops. These crops include Pablo Beets and other root vegetables, lettuce and other leaves, and coming soon, the crown crop of Nothing’s Simple: Tomatoes!

Let me tell you, there is a great satisfaction in seeing these bags in the houses of my friends. When I do I’m like,

“Yo! I picked that,

And I washed it,

And planted it,

And loved it oh so special just for you!”

Invasive California potato beetles are a serious problem for Washington farmers. Luckily we haven’t had too much trouble.

garlic-raftersBut we did have a Vampire infestation. So we planted all this garlic. I’m just joking. Vampires aren’t real. We love to joke at Nothing’s Simple. Here there be much joy and merry-making. This isn’t to say we lay about rubbing Elsa’s belly all day.

Fueled by these good vibes (and plentiful oats) we toil and turn zucchini filled soil with zest and zeal the whole day through. Actually, I just work a half day, but Theo works very hard! It has been a good challenge for Theo and I negotiating our relationship on the farm.

As a point of interest, I hung garlic from the rafters to cure them. After about 10 days it will be ready to go.

farmers-marketWhere will it go? The CSAs, local restaurants, and our stand at the Farmer’s Market.

Farming is fun! Especially when you only work part time like me. I’m particularly enjoying observing my friend Ted manage small-business-owner syndrome, communal eating, beets, and actively using my body through my job.

As the season continues (we are about a third of the way through the CSA), I hope to become an ever more oiled cog, and also gain a better understanding of the whole machine and not just the functions that I perform. One way we have devised to do so is by reading some of Theo’s farm books. This is the first one I have started.

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