Monday, July 13, 2009

The Farming Gene

These are the hands of a farmer, who creates life by skillfully playing in the soil. You can't see all of his callouses and scars here, but I know them well. I like hands, especially these. Here is a boy in a moment of regret.This son of a farmer had agreed that he did indeed want to work at the farm for a bit yesterday. But then there was this moment of remorse. Jesse has many other passions, beside farming, that make any farming genes less apparent for now.

He does, however, have great staying power. He could have left with me to pick up Gillen. But he decided to stick it out. When I came back, he had seeded six trays of lettuce and was hitching a ride on the tractor to move out the spent tomato plants - not a fun job. Look at his face! At the farm! Not playing a game or running on a field. Joyfully farming. (Also look at our cheerleader worker John, but don't let him distract you from Jesse's new face. Cheerleaders will do that - distract you from the main event.)Then there is Gillen, who inspired this post. He is a farmer. For him, it runs deep. Yesterday, he had gotten up before 7am (after a late night in Atlanta with us) to go to his archery/hunter safety camp. When I picked him up mid-day, he was tired. We got to the farm and he saw that Camp Kingfisher was there (they bring campers to the farm once a month). He leaped out of the car and ran to the field where they were working and stayed there for hours, way after the campers had left.

I understand liking the dirt and nature, and appreciating the abundance of good food, but not the having to farm. I don't have the farmer gene (just a willingness to serve the farmers and to wash their jeans).

This is a bunch of campers looking the way I would have looked if you had told me "for nature camp today, we are going to drive for an hour to a farm and get to do some hard work!"
But every once in a while, despite the heat and the bugs and other realities of outdoor summer work, a camper finds that they have farmer tendency or even farmer genes. It's usually the girls.

I'm so grateful for the farmer genes that inspire this back breaking, vital work. So, we learned recently, is Jesse. We saw a commercial for a devise that allows you to grow tomatoes by hanging them upside down. It's called the topsy turvy. The commercial stressed how much work the farmer has to do and asked why you would want to break your back doing this when you can just let the topsy turvy work for you?

Then a topsy turvy showed up at the farm. It hadn't been working for someone, so Nicolas agreed to try using it in a hoop house. Jesse saw it and started crying. He hates the topsy turvy people, whom he feels don't rightfully appreciate farmers. Maybe, too, he realized he didn't completely like the back breaking work himself. It was powerful to see him so passionately defending the farmer.


mindy said...

Madeline, you might not have the farmer gene, but I'm pretty damn sure you got the storytelling one :) Great post.

gail said...

Mindy stole my comment....:-) you are such a great writer, Madeline AND I can't wait to see you in TWO WEEKS!!! Yea!!!

mrs boo radley said...

We saw those tomato planters EVERYWHERE when we were in Colorado...have seen some here too.

Ode to farmers...
Love them.

Madeline Rains said...

mrs. boo radley, they were everywere?! I wonder if people are finding out about them from this infomercial. Horrifying. Jesse would have to take measures.

G and M, thank you. : ) I look forward to hearing your stories live and in person in two weeks!

Christy said...

My MIL got one and said it didn't work at all. I'm still not sure if I have the farming gene or not. I like the outcomes, just not sure I actually enjoy the work.

Danielle said...

OMG, what a sweetly poignant post. I had tears in my eyes reading it. Thank you.