Pleasant Valley Thursday: Plodding Along

Work at the orchard continues to plod.  The zeal that kept me enthusiastic during my first couple weeks back is starting to fade.  I find myself wanting to forego this week’s PVTh post (as I refer to them in my mind).  So we’ll keep things brief.

Our crew has, once again, expanded.  One of the neighbor boys (whom I have known since kindergarten) has returned after four summers elsewhere.  It’s great to have another person around–jobs go by more quickly.

We DID install a brand new water line that goes from the well out to the strawberry patch.  It was pretty cool–my dad has a trenching machine that attaches to the back of the tractor.  After we laid out the piping, all I had to do was guide it as it went through the tube on the machine and into the ground.  See photo:

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My dad and younger brother check to make sure the machine is working. You can see the hose sticking out on the left. It goes through the tube and the machine buries it, leaving behind a lovely trench.

Other than that, we’ve been hoeing a lot.  We got through all the newly planted fields.  The sad thing is we’ll have to do them again next week… and the next… and the next…

Jobs This Week:

  • Mow around barns
  • Remove frost covers
  • Install new water line
  • Haul plastic out of old pumpkin fields
  • Clean high tunnel (which is similar to a greenhouse)
    • Haul out dead raspberry bushes
    • Spread mulch
    • Trim rootstock plantings
    • Plant more rootstock
  • Clean kitchen in Apple Shed
  • Fertilize all strawberry fields
  • Haul old plastic and drip lines to dumpster
  • Hoe new strawberry fields. (3 days this week)
  • Prep for pumpkin planning
  • Clip flowers on new strawberry fields

At least there’s variety!

Lows:  While hauling out all the dead raspberry bushes from the high tunnel, I made the mistake of wearing shorts and my legs got super cut-up.  Later, we moved plastic out of the fields… but it had rained so we got covered in slime pushing the plastic into the dumpster.  To top all it off, I spent 45 minutes washing moldy baking pans because someone forgot to clean them after our pre-Christmas sale last December.

High: Last Friday, in the midst of removing the frost covers, we had an extra-long break ’cause my dad brought us out for lunch.  Also, today I got to drive to the cities to pick up a shipment of fertilizer, which took up the whole afternoon.

Cleaning out the closet

It’s my first full day at home, and in light of the fact that I will be immobile due to wisdom teeth surgery tomorrow, I’m trying to get things cleaned.

Since returning from studying abroad a year ago, I haven’t been home for more than a week at a time.  Due to this, my bedroom has become a dumping ground, a corner to shove things in as I transition from place to place in life.  After a year, it’s gotten pretty out of hand.

The thing about cleaning out your closet is that I’m not only discovering things I didn’t know I had, but am relearning things about myself that you had forgotten.  Rifling through the pages of middle school notes, sketchbooks, and attempts at poetry make me feel like I am meeting the younger version of myself.  I’m finding things I used to be passionate about.  I discovered a couple passive aggressive letters my best friend wrote me in high school where she apologetically tells me everything she hates about me.  Reading through her words, I think about how much I have changed and wonder if, deep down, I’ve really changed at all.

Confronting my past is actually very useful because my main goal over break is to figure out what the future holds.

Sentimentality aside, it will be great to actually be able to use my closet, desk, and dresser again.  It’s a long process.  The main portion of my room is currently dirtier than it was when I began.  I’m covered in dust from pulling things from corners and shelves that haven’t been touched in years.  But progress is being made!  I dragged my younger brother with me to WalMart earlier this afternoon to buy organizers and I’ve put together three bags of old clothes to donate.

It sure will be great to have a clean room again!

When was the last time you cleaned out your closet?  Did you find anything surprising?

Stolen moments at home

For the past few weeks, the only thing I’ve been looking forward to was the moment I could get in my car and drive away from the tiny college town where I live.  And oh, when that moment came, it sure was sweet.

There’s something incredibly special about being home.  I haven’t spent more than a week here since last January, so my time here seems like stolen moments of peace.  It’s like I get to return to a closed chapter of my life for a short time.  I don’t get to go back to my childhood, but at least I can sleep once more in my bed and cuddle with my cat.

In light of my impending graduation, being home feels more real than college.  In a handful of months I’ll be handed my diploma and sent into the world.  (Assuming my senior seminar does not kill me, that is.)  When I go into the world in May, the first place I’m going to go is home.  I’m going to move back into my old room, work my old summer job, and figure out what’s coming next.

I’ve always loved home.  With life’s uncertainties swirling about me, home is an anchor.  I walk in the door and there is Dad in his work clothes, about to go out into the orchard.  I sit down on the couch and Paco (my cat) makes a beeline for my lap.  My little brother deliberately mispronounces my name and gives me a sarcastic comment as he hugs me too tightly.  My older brother lifts me off the ground, knowing how much I hate it, and spends the rest of the night teasing me.

One thing I love about my family is that we still sit down and share meals together.  Most families these days have let this go, but my parents made it a priority.  There are few things in the world better than gathering with your family around a table, bonding over delicious food and talking about the day.  It’s so much better than eating meals in front of a computer screen with only the characters of The Office to keep me company.

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, so we are bracing ourselves for the sudden flood of extended family.  My mom let me have a few minutes to rest after my long drive, then I spent a good portion of my afternoon dusting and preparing the house for guests.  Hosting is a lot of work, but I know it will all go well.  I’m looking forward to seeing my relatives again.

I’m sure I’ll be posting a holiday themed post tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime, what are your Thanksgiving plans this year?

Hostessing struggles

Let’s just say I’m not well reputed for my hostess skills.  Mind you, it’s not from lack of effort.  I do my very best to make guests feel comfortable and at home.  I vacuum the floors, dust the counters, scrub the bathroom, make sure all the dishes are cleaned and put away, and top it all off with a pan of brownies.

Despite my best intentions, though, gatherings put on by yours truly always seem to fall a bit flat.  Brownies get burned.  I accidentally email the directions to the wrong apartment.  I don’t know how to get conversations flowing.  I don’t know what kind of music people actually listen to.

For my Bible study, we are trying to have a Girl’s Night once a month.  I was so relieved when my co-leader, Jourdan, offered to host it at her off-campus house.  Yes!  I thought.  No baking, no cleaning!  Just show up and have a great time!

Well… yesterday evening, I got a call from Jourdan.  Her Chilean boyfriend was stranded at the airport and couldn’t get a flight home (to Chile) until Sunday.  He had no money and very limited English.  Naturally, she had to go to his aid…

… Leaving me to suddenly pull together Girl’s Night.

Despite past hostess failures, I have high hopes for this one.  The apartment has been cleaned, brownies baked, nail polish brought forth.  We’ve got a stack of movies to last all night.  And, if all else fails, there’s an on-campus Improv show that we can go to!

Here’s to another shot of hostessing.

Wish me luck!