Saturday, April 25, 2009

Will Work for Vegetables

I was farming yesterday. Yep. That’s right. Farming. I even learned how to drive a tractor. Well a lawn tractor, but considering we use a reel mower on our lawn at home I thought it was a pretty big deal.

My friend L and her husband K converted part of their acreage to vineyards in 2007. They are now getting ready to add small crops of vegetables. Yesterday I was at their farm, Sleeping Cougar Acres, to help out. (The cougar isn't really sleeping, but that's another story.) In exchange for occasional work on the farm, L is going to share some of the vegetables with me. I'm quite excited that I'm going to get to know exactly what goes into growing the food I eat.

I was nervous when I got up yesterday morning. It's been years since I helped on a farm, and the last time it was a horse farm. Somehow I didn't think it would be quite the same. (Once I got there I discovered that both farms require shoveling steaming horse poop. Fortunately, that doesn't deter me in the least.)

As it got closer to time to go I started to wonder if I’d be a help or a hindrance. I didn’t want it to become a situation where it would take L less time to do something herself than to explain it to me. I shouldn’t have worried. L and I always get along well when we work together, and we usually have a good time while we’re at it. Our work together yesterday continued in that tradition.

Our original plan for the day was to move, reassemble and fill some raised beds. We had even hoped to start transplanting the plants from the greenhouse.

We got as far as moving the frames for the raised beds when L decided our time would be better spent helping K. They had rented a mini excavator for the day, and K was using it to scrape up patchy sod and weeds in the vineyard in preparation for planting more a more suitable type of grass.

L realized that K would make more progress if he concentrated on scraping while we hauled away the weeds and other debris. L fired up her tractor, Leon, and showed me how to use the lawn tractor. We spent the rest of the afternoon hauling debris from one end of the farm to the other. I never did figure out how make the lawn tractor/trailer combo back up where I wanted it to go, but I had a blast.

Today, I was up at 5am. Do you think farm life is contagious? I don’t think I mind if it is. My introduction to farm work went so well that I’m looking forward to going back, but I think I'll wait a few days to see if my muscles stop aching first.


  1. Sounds like fun - at least driving the tractor does! I love the idea of exchanging work for produce... not only to you get to enjoy the products of your labour, but you learn new skills too!


  2. It was fun Bookgirl. And judging by my aching muscles I'll never need to hit the gym again. Though I don't actually go to a gym, which is probably why my muscles ache so. They're not used to the work.

  3. Sounds like fun to me! I would love to have a farm!
    Did you know that you can have chickens do the tilling for you and also fertilize and remove pests at the same time? It's a wonderful thing!

  4. Hi Robin. No I didn't know that. It does sound wonderful. I'd like to know more, but I'm not sure L and K would go for it. The farm is called "Sleeping Cougar Acres" for a reason. They used to have goats...

  5. Uh-oh...what happened to the goats? The cougars woke up and that was the end of the goats?

  6. That's pretty much it Rosiecat. While I was in Toronto dining goat roti a few years ago, a cougar was at L's dining on one of her goats. It was rather sad, as the goats were pets. With the wildlife out at her place (bears, cougars, eagles, raccoons etc.) I'm not sure the chickens would stand a chance!


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