Sunday, August 25, 2013

Share Duty

Weather-vane atop Pennypack Farm Harvest House
Kali and I are shareholders at an organic Community Supported Agriculture farm called Pennypack Farm.  One of shareholders' obligations is to contribute volunteer labor to the farm each year; the farm calls it share duty.

With temperatures in the mid-70s, low humidity, and clear skies, we decided that Saturday (August 24) would be a perfect opportunity to fulfill our obligation for the year.

When we arrived, the farmer asked us to join a group weeding the completely (hopelessly?) overgrown strawberry beds.  Weeds and grasses had grown up so intimately with the strawberry plants that uprooting the weeds often uprooted the strawberries as well, but we did the best we could.
Weeding strawberries; Kali seated on bucket
Kids helped out, mostly by filling the wheelbarrow with uprooted weeds
Then, suddenly, mid-row, Farmer Devin announced, "Let's weed the brassica beds!"  I don't know if he was bored or just realized that the cabbages and broccoli would be coming on sooner than the strawberries, but we dutifully migrated en mass to the rows of cole vegetables - which were much easier to weed.

Weeding cabbages and broccoli
A ladder set aside struck Kali's fancy
When we'd finished helping out, Kali and I treated ourselves to cups of sea salt caramel pretzel flavored frozen yogurt topped with crushed Heath bars and chocolate chips.  It was a good day.


packrat said...

Interesting post as always, Scott. I know a lot about weeding. When my brother and I were kids we had to weed the huge garden my Italian grandparents had in our backyard--I should say the huge garden that WAS our backyard. We had every vegetable and fruit (including strawberries) that you can imagine. My Italian uncle and aunt lived right next door, and my uncle had two fig trees that he would bury before winter, digging large trenches in which to lay the trees down; he'd dig them up again in early spring. My brother and I had to help with that chore, too.

robin andrea said...

The weather sounds perfect for such an outing. Lovely day for weeding and doing your share duty.

Scott said...

I had an uncle who lived about 3 miles from me who had an impressively huge garden every year; fortunately, he had four kids who could help him out with the weeding, etc. My father always had a garden on our postage stamp of a suburban lot, but it was immaculate and I would help him with the work when I was younger.

I've heard of people protecting their fig trees, but I'd never hear of burying them. I suppose in northeast Ohio's winters, the trees really couldn't be sufficiently protected above ground. Makes sense, but it sure seems like a lot of work. In the Italian neighborhoods of South Philly there are a lot of fig trees, but our climate is much milder than Youngstown's, so they can get away with just covering them and protecting them from frost most years--especially in the heat island of the city.

Scott said...

Robin Andrea; It WAS a perfect day to complete our share duty. And, yesterday (Sunday) was almost a carbon copy, so Kali and I completed a 5-mile hike at Valley Forge National Historical Park.