Jul 9, 2009

Dirty hands, good clean fun

Come visit us during farming season and you probably won't end up watching a movie or sitting in an idle circle making small talk. Chances are you'll join us in weeding a bed, harvesting dandelions or pitting cherries. Chances are you'll get dirty.

Yesterday we were joined by 3 dear families who spent the whole day picking cherries off the many branches I cut off the long-neglected top of just one tree. By afternoon we'd split up into a picking crew, a pitting crew, and a third crew making cherry bread and cherry syrup.

Our afternoon break was a walk down to the farmer's market to sell the bread, syrup, berries, greens, and Zekiah's paintings. All 10 of us descended on the market to mingle, sing (I was officially the entertainment), and sell (our biggest day yet - $35). At one point Galen took the visitors down to the river, but mostly they savoured the local community scene (and the fresh gooseberries from a neighbouring table).

After one of Sarah's typical masterpieces involving fresh green beans, scapes, mushrooms, new potato, etc, we enjoyed a twilight visit outside while setting up tents and doing the final cow and chicken feedings. Then with younger kids in bed, we reassembled around the big ol' farmhouse kitchen table and rolled up our sleeves. By midnight, over half a bathtub of cherries had been pitted and put in the dehydrator, freezer or juicer.

All the while we caught up on each others' lives, sang Cindy Lauper classics, dreamed and laughed. There's something about having one's hands busy that opens space for the soul. And something about contributing, being part of a real productive team process that brings old and new friends together in a sticky sweet intimacy. For a day and night we were in on an ancient secret, part of a bold conspiracy to reclaim our food-preserving barn-raising community-celebrating traditions. We were Almanzo's neighbours threshing grain together; Laura Ingall Wilder's extended family making the year's maple syrup then dancing into the night.

So for friends wanting to reconnect with us, share a piece of our lives and Joys, learn a little and contribute a little and laugh alot, we extend our cherry-stained caloused-hands in a big open "Welcome!"

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