Revenge is sweet like beets

It’s on cold, wet days like these that I am thankful for the standing water in my tub that drains at the speed of a drunken tortoise.  I am thankful for the extra moments of lapping warmth that my numb feet get to soak in.  I stop, and I stand for a minute to enjoy it.  Wiggle my toes in it.  Ahh.


Harvest News

The spinach is back!


We were suppose to be offering it as “baby spinach”, but… after the crazy storm this past weekend, it kinda wasn’t really baby anymore.  More like humungous spinach.  “The spinach got drunk on water,” Gerson said.

Spinach bed post-harvest. This is pretty much how big the spinach was last week, before the deluge...

Spinach bed, post-harvest. The spinach wasn’t much bigger than this last week, and then the deluge poured down over the weekend…

Harvesting spinach this week had a touch of poignancy for me.  Spinach was the very first crop we as interns learned to harvest–pick each leaf one by one near the base of the stem, check underside for ickiness, check for yellowing on the leaf edge, practice a two-handed motion, leave the tiny leaves for regrowth… I remember feeling so sore in my shoulders and back from bending over the beds so much to pluck spinach.  Over the season, my body has gradually gotten used to it.

Dennis and Scott harvest parsley in the sea of green and rain

Dennis and Scott harvest parsley in the sea of green and rain

Big beautiful beets are back, too!

Big beautiful beets are back, too!

Hanne, Gerson, Cass and I reminisced about another wet day early in the season when we harvested spinach.  We took turns going inside the school to run our hands under warm water, and ended up bringing a tote full of it outside.  From March spinach, to September spinach.  The leaves taste of the same heartiness, only rain kissed.  Seasons do come full circle, they do.


Rain gear.  So key.

Monday morning on the bus, farm-bound: Well, I think I’m overdressed.  I had on a long-sleeved shirt, a sweater and thick vest, rain jacket, leggings, work pants, rain pants, and two pairs of socks (one of them being wool).  But as soon as I step off the bus at Argyle St. and into the downpour outside: Nope, definitely did not overdress.

Of course, one does not think too much about making fashion sense when dressing for a rainy harvest day.  After all, everything will be covered by my rain jacket!  And then comes lunchtime.  We ate in the greenhouse where it was warm, and we could dry out some our very wet layers.

Photo by Scott Bell)

My mismatched outfit.  (Photo by Scott Bell)

(Note to self: don’t wear knit sweaters on wet days.  The sleeves get soaked like a sponge.)  Farmer Scott shared this photo on social media–you may have seen it.  See that lovely photo of him at the top of this page?  That is my revenge in the blogosphere.

And then we realized that Gerson has similar facial expressions.

I'm sorry Gerson... I couldn't resist.

I’m sorry Gerson… I couldn’t resist.

Post-harvest on Monday, the Fresh Roots and SOYL teams got together for a team dinner.  “We’ve got towels ready for you to take hot showers,” Marc says as we arrive at their home, cold and wet.  Hot shower, dry clothes, freshly steeped ginger-mint tea.  I’ve never been so grateful for towels, warmth, and dryness.  Thank you, Marc and Ilana!

Fresh Roots + SOYL team dinner :)

Fresh Roots + SOYL team dinner 🙂

Exciting storytime with Ilana!

Storytime with Ilana is exciting!

A lovely evening of colourful food, storytelling, and gratitude.


I sit here on a Wednesday afternoon writing this.  I would normally be at the farm (probably weeding).  But we called off the shift today because of the unpredictability of the rain this week.  It could be angry storm clouds, it could be happy sun.  I was just a bit bummed, as I was all suited up in my rain gear!  (Having learned much from past experience [this week] of the importance of being prepared.)  I even got up early to make myself a hot lunch to bring in a thermos.  And tea!

Self-care, preparedness, weather-wisdom… I’m learning more to appreciate the nourishing value of taking the time to prepare.  Sometimes it’s just small, simple things that require a bit of conscious effort and forethought.  I’m usually in a hurry, doing things last minute, praying that I won’t be late.  But the process of getting ready in anticipation for something–it is part of the whole process of being present in an experience, and being thankful.

To borrow some verse from Hamlet:

There’s a special providence in the fall of [rain]. If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come—the readiness is all.

Prepare for the storm! Find shelter

Prepare for the storm! Find shelter


Only last week were we in t-shirts and sunglasses.  This week, swishy rain pants, boots and what feels like as many layers as we can fit on ourselves.  Could this be the end of summer?

Rain day

Anna, one of the fearless volunteers who came out on Monday despite the rain. She is a trooper!

Anna, one of the fearless volunteers who came out on Monday despite the rain. She is a trooper!

Prior to the start of this week, I felt like I’d reached a point of “Why am I doing this again??”, brought on by achy muscles and battle-weary weeding stamina.  Farmer Scott warned us of this.  With all the work that must be done, and the summer season winding down (rapidly it seems), I was on the cusp of going through the motions, of morning transiting, harvesting, processing, packing, weeding, lunching… routines, set and rolling.  I have to admit that I even had a few faint flickers of anticipation for the end of the season–reprieve for the body from intensity.  

Dahlias battered by the storm on the weekeend

Dahlias, battered by the storm on the weekend

But rain.

Dahlias refreshed and saved

Dahlias, refreshed and saved

Grassy whirlpool

Grassy whirlpool

Monday’s deluge and whooshes of stormy weather marked a turn.  ‘Twas as if the wind and rain washed away the sweat, and dirt, and stagnancy–and gave me a whole new outlook on life!

Okay.  The sweat and dirt are still here; but perhaps it was more like the wind and rain washed away the dust that had gathered on the lenses of my farmer-specs.  And, once more, I can see clearly with curious-thirsty eyes.  The rain, it refreshed me.

Cass, me, Gerson, Dennis, and Scott after a very wet harvest day on Monday

Cass, me, Gerson, Dennis, and Scott after a very wet harvest day on Monday

I feel like something has been given back to me that perhaps was lost or forgotten amidst the momentum of work to be done and time to be chased:

a learner’s posture.

When every new piece of knowledge, every beautiful story makes me want to rush and write it down, to remember.  When I am in awe and wonder that I am plucking such hearty, giant spinach leaves, that half a bed reaps 8 pounds of food; when connecting with friends old and new alike feels like the best gift given and received…

When this was all new.  

Future teachers being students on a field trip to the schoolyard farm

Future teachers being students on a field trip to the schoolyard farm on Tuesday

The rainstorm helped bring me back to such a place.

With just the right amount of cold, wetness, and sobering to the beauty and gifts for giving thanks all around, and above, and in our days… Brought back to a place of inquisitive learning, freshness, and joy.

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My heart leaps for joy to its shiny sheen and song,

Dances in the rain, and

Splashes in puddles with squishy-soaked socks.


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