I’m not even sure what all has happened in the past two weeks since I last updated. The first week of July is a complete blur of spring mix washing and weeding, and pruning tomatoes. I don’t remember what else happened, until Friday. That’s when Emma came to visit! And about 20 minutes after she left on Saturday, Mom, Dad and Kathryn came to see me and have dinner in Sylva! On Sunday I played for another contra dance in Sylva, at the courthouse. We had 12 musicians and probably about 15 dancers. That evening, I went to Waynesville for the 3rd concert in the Swananowa Chamber Music Festival. The Enso quartet (whose violist is the viola professor at ECU – who knew I’d see her up here?) played the Debussy quartet. So much good in one weekend.
This week was soaked. Previously, any rain here occurred in brief explosions. I can’t quite remember when it began to rain – perhaps Tuesday afternoon – but it didn’t stop until Friday evening, only to begin again Saturday morning. Initially, the rain was novel and exciting compared to the roasting heat. When the temperature went down and my boots began to fall apart, I was less thrilled. I did a makeshift duct tape job on them, but the insides were already saturated and still have not dried out. By Thursday I was out of dry pants. Even though I was cold and waterlogged for days, and nonstop rain can ruin some crops, and everything gets generally gross and difficult, I still love rain. I like rainy, dark mornings, the sound of it, and something about the extra challenge of just trying to function in the mess. I’m pretty ready for the sun again, though.
Oh! On Monday evening I went to a contra dance at the Campbell Folk School. The couple who organizes the dances I play at (and who also farm and let us use one of their fields) told me about the dance and we went together. The class of the week at the folk school was for dance musicians, so every night there was a free contra dance. The instructors played on Monday, and they were very good.
I have danced once before, last summer in Illinois. I was pretty skeptical and hesitant about the whole notion at first. I imagined it would be painfully awkward and difficult to catch on. I felt goofy about dancing with people and strangers. After the first dance, I could not stop. It’s so fun. I can not stop smiling ever. I’m not really even aware of myself, outside of the dance (except maybe once I begin to sweat ferociously and worry I smell like a farmer). Everyone is so nice and happy. Monday’s dance was the same kind of exhilaration. Even now, from a distance, contra dancing seems a little crazy and intense, in part because of the way people get so dedicated to going and talking about it. But really. It’s just incredibly fun.
Back on the farm, we processed more chickens Friday. Thursday night, we put on headlamps and backed the truck loaded with big crates into the paddock. The chickens were sleeping, huddled together. Some of them woke up and attempted to run from us, but were too sleepy to get very far. They would be much more stressed and difficult to catch during the day. There’s a strange excitement to the task – the stealth and thievery of it.
Just to accentuate the whole circle of life feeling, before we began processing the chickens Friday morning, Steven went to the post office and brought back these noisy boxes:
We unloaded them in the brooder, dipping their beaks in the water so they know where it is. I’ve never seen chickens so active as when they’re taken out of these boxes. They run all over the brooder, slamming into each other without notice. Several seem to think the water is for soaking not drinking. I took a video. Under all the chirping, the other interns and Steven are talking about how the first several days after hatching, the egg provides all the chick needs to survive. These are a day and a half old. You can hear the pigs on the other side of the wall, too. There are some good close-ups in the last couple of minutes, at which time I was apparently locked in with the biddies, until someone remembered I was in there. You can change the settings and watch it in HD, which takes longer, but otherwise they’re more fuzzy than they should be.
Then we went a killed a hundred of their brethren. I ended the day, with the other females on the farm, by watching the newest version of Pride and Prejudice. What a day.
Here are some more photos. Mostly of our rainbow carrots.
When we got to market on Saturday it was raining and there were only a few farmers there, sitting in their cars. At first we weren’t sure if there was a market. We were the first to set up, which never happens. Eventually it stopped, but we had a lot of time to kill before any customers showed up. So I spent it drawing vegetables on our signs.