i lived in boston for almost seven years and the starkness of the changing seasons was always striking. here in the sierra foothills on a fruit farm, it’s a different kind of striking. to have watched the fruit grow, ripen, fall, and be eaten and sold until the trees were barren was an amazing process to witness. all summer, the temperature stayed between 90 and 105 degrees, and all of a sudden, it’s in the seventies every day and cooling down big time at night. this week, eli and i built our first fire in the woodstove to warm our home on rosh hashana, the jewish new year.
there remains lots of work to fill our days, but until spring, the work is less of a production farm and more that of a hearty homestead. i am spending a lot of time getting my hands and knees dirty in the fertile soil, direct seeding vegetables to feed us through the fall and winter, and transplanting veggie starts that others here on the farm grew from seed in the greenhouse. i hear the planting is easy, and that supporting the plants to grow and thrive is the hard part, so i am trying to keep a steady pace, but it’s very exciting and inspiring to learn more about growing food and feel connected to the process.
i am also learning more about the irrigation system, and helping to keep things humming in that department, especially when our friends who own the farm are away. we’re fortunate to source all of our irrigation water from a nearby lake that is less than a mile away, and it travels to us only by gravity — there is no pump or electricity involved. that does mean that sometimes little fish, tadpoles, or frogs will splash out in puddles when i clean the filter. one of the former owners of the farm used to dump them in buckets and drive them back to the lake! helping to run the irrigation system is wet and can also be mucky and a little gross, but it’s helping me get a better lay of the land, have a broader understanding of how orchards can thrive, and perhaps most importantly, understand more deeply the importance of water. especially in the context of issues like the standing rock tribe’s resistance to the dakota pipeline, and the california drought which results from both climate change and giant, morally irresponsible farms with unsustainable farming practices, as i understand it.
i am hopeful and eager for the change in seasons, and very interested to see what’s ahead in terms of collective visioning and building, creative projects, travel to far away friends and family, and rest.
i’m in that stage where i have started way too many books at once. i just finished brown girl in the ring, and now i am circling between democracy now: twenty years covering the movements changing america, california cuisine and just food, and most recently to throw in some fiction, norweigan wood. i am also reading my friend claire’s zine stuck in place: thoughts on belonging. claire’s description of the zine:
This zine is a collection of personal essays exploring our relationships to home, seeking a sense of belonging somewhere, and how we impact place/place impacts us- while thinking about settler identity and white privilege while living in a white supremacy.
i picked up the zine from a perspective of wanting to learn more about my role as a white settler on indigenous land — an identity i am in the beginning stages of exploring — and think about in the context of my home project. claire is a thoughtful, critical, honest, and humble writer and person, and to be honest the zine is splitting my head open a little bit and filling me with feelings and questions. that’s the good stuff.
finally, i’ve been doing some support and advocacy work for my friend KC, who i have written about before and who is struggling to receive adequate transgender health care (surprise, surprise). he has a very special spot in my mind and heart, and i am hoping to do everything i can to support him getting his needs met. thankfully, i am not the only one looking out for him — he has connections with a couple different bay area groups who do legal work, support work, and advocacy for queer/transgender incarcerated people, not to mention impressing and befriending even prison staff with his heart of gold and commitment to leading a good life, in spite of the odds against him. if you have extra magic, prayers, energy from whatever spiritual practices you partake in — please send some love KC’s way.
thanks for reading & ’til next time!