Thursday, July 16, 2015

Como estas?

Me, I have been busy.  Well, I am usually up to one thing or another, but the Firebird kept on that he needed a job, and my neighbor came by awhile ago and asked if I would be willing to help out at a farm?

Sure I said, the Firebird and I had been puttering about at the goat farm, he stacking the upcoming winter supply of firewood and me taking down 7 strands of electric fence which I installed a number of years ago to  contain long gone cashmere bucks.

My neighbor told me she worked 8-2 doing greenhouse work, and said that I could work as much as I wanted, so figured 3-4 days a week would be a good filler with the goat farm.

Bait and switch comes to mind.  I went in , learned the watering routine for the greenhouse, was instructed in the mass planting of cabbage seed.  The following Monday the Firebird and I were handed an EZ seeder and the brief instructions that accompanied it, and the tidbit that none of them had been able to make use of it.

Relegated to the packing room, we read the directions, scabbed a table together, and proceeded to seed 800, 98 cell flats.. (nearly 80,000 seeds). 

The official too late to seed cabbage day came this week, and we moved on to separate chores.  The backbone of the crew are three Mexican immigrant workers we call "the guys".  The guys have aided the owner in a huge major agricultrual production.  Hay, Oats, corn (field and sweet due any day) zuccini, broccoli, cauliflower, greenhouse tomatoes the size pumpkins, cukes and of course cabbage.  The five of us spent an afternoon planting over 9000 cabbage seedlings (only 100,000 to go, because our 80K are still in the greenhouse and there is at least that many on benches awaiting transplanting)

Everyday brings something new to learn to this experienced gardener...running irrigation tape (although my time at the beekeepers gave me knowledge in big tanks and hoses)  sitting on the back of a planter dropping those precious cabbage seedlings one at a time after yanking them out of the cells by the handfuls by their hair...and failing to keep up, and having my co-worker Pablo tossing plants from his racks into my spots as I frantically try and dump the empty tray, or cherolla, and grab the next one...(think Lucy trying to keep up in the chocolate factory)

And discovering that you can take 3 years of Spanish in Middle school (technically 2 years of Portugeuse and one year of Spanish according to my mortified 9th grade Spanish teacher) and still not be able to follow a conversation by your co-workers....

I can read the notes the owner leaves for them in Spanish, and the youngest, who speaks nearly zero English and I have managed to communicate even though I cannot remember proper grammar I have a pretty extensive vocab that keeps creeping in, and I am great at hand gestures although sometimes I think we have a huge communications gap, mostly due to my horrible pronunciation.

Sometimes I ask teen Pablo, "como se dice....?" and he replies in something that I cannot possibly form my mouth around, and I just say the English word...and hope he is learning English better than I am his dialect and we both laugh.

The other two have a bit more English, so I typically address them in English- occasionally tossing in a Spanish verb or noun or saying. Buenos Dias, Hasta Luego, Hasta manana, Salud, lots of SI, SI...

 I go home at night and call the dog perro, and the cat gato, and the occasional "bueno" or mierda slip out... but I have a long way to go.

Today I had a cell phone call from the mejor, who has the most English.

"We need more broccoli!"

"Broccoli?"  I replied, confused, knowing they were picking squash in a field a half hour away, while I was behind transplanting broccolis and cauliflower.

"NO, Broccoli!!" he replied


Silence on both ends.  Then he called across his field to the Firebird, "come tell your mother what we need~"

(waiting, waiting, waiting)

"Hi Mom, we need buckets, (and hear S in the background, and those green things) and those green things"

I couldn't find extra "green things" or totes, and took them five buckets.  I had to pick  Pablo up from the squash field a couple times this week and the yield was 20 yellow squash and 40 zuccini. Today I got sidetracked waiting for a co worker to wash out the truck to take, and then had to show her how to water the 100K plus cabbage awating transplanting...and showed up with  5, 5 gallon buckets to find the three guys and Firebird had picked 8 totes full of zucc and summer squash and cukes weighing over 80 pounds a tote, and they set them in the truck bed under the cap leaving me to figure out how to get the tailgate shut and unload them back at the shop .....

Then running to the shop to give a coworker a lift back from the garage...the company fleet each have their own issues.  Speedometer permanently stuck at 40, no brakes, bad tie rods, check engine lights, airbag lights, my favorite was the day I had to drive 30 miles back to the shop to pick up more seedlings in this giant box truck...never driven something so large in my life...just, "hey, you go back and get more cabbage...NOW"

and I jump in and take off, never adjusting the side mirrors, andfind myself taking the wrong turn right into a rotary in the state capital.

I would have turned around but I didn't think I could back it up or even take a tight turn.

Let me tell you, you think your life is getting stale, have someone throw you into something that you never considered doing while they have complete confidence or indifference in your ability or lack thereof, and then succeed...

well, that's seasonal agriculture for you.

*wanders off humming 100thousand cabbages to plant, 100thousand cabbages..."