Saturday, November 03, 2007

hard work

I’m looking forward to winter. There, I’ve said it. And I’m not the only one.

I wake up at five, but only for a moment. Enough to think – were I a Market farmer, I’d be done loading the truck and I’d be heading for Madison. And each Saturday and maybe Wednesdays too, the early drive would bring me to town, so that I can stand behind my table and hope that customers would understand just how good my vegetables (or cheeses or biscuits or fruits) are.

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By November, I'd be ready to stop. On the second Saturday of the month, I would wake up and think – I’m done for the year. Let me pull the quilt under my chin and forget about the world for another hour or two.

So, I am ready for a break too. Because it’s a farmers' break and, along with them, I’ll be looking out for the cold and studying the frost and the effect of ice on the soil and water, even though I have nothing to lose or gain by it. Except maybe a few photos marking the change in the air.

The Westside Community Market felt different on this, its last morning. Farmers, bakers and cheesemakers, some selling out early. Some collecting gifts from their vendor friends.

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A crazy season of drought, of rain, of bugs – all of it. And for us, the buyers, of week after week of brilliant Saturday sunshine.

It’s such hard work. Dangerous.

Farmer stories, of injuries, of death even.

What I like is selling the plain, simple foods, that common people buy.

Oh, but they’re not plain. Plain is what’s there in the supermarket, in boxes, cans and behind cellophane wrappings. I know plain -- in a rare move, I went to Woodman's late last night. Necessity drives plain. But there's nothing pleasurable about it.

Hard work. Long as my hours are in some weeks, I don’t regard myself as a brutally hard working person now. Not compared to years where I mothered, and taught law, and cooked at home and at a restaurant.

I go with Ed to buy a new fridge for his sheep shed. The old one died. It’s an easy purchase – he’ll take the cheapest model on the floor.

The salesclerk has a mountain load of typing to do to process the sale.
It’s hard work for you to get this ($399) thing sold, Ed comments.
I’m new here, but I like it, the clerk says. I was a stay-at-home dad for seven years. You know, I was in the Marines, I was a farmer before that and nothing compared to the hard work of staying home with the kids.

We drive down Lacy Road, Ed and I. Out in the field, there's a farmer, working the tractor, back and forth, slowly, patiently. Birds swoop down and pull out what they can from the turned soil. November work. Winter quiet. A nice balance.

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