I love being impressed. A mix of surprise and admiration, relish and appreciation...it's a juicy affirmation of how intrepid, how special humans (or wrens or badgers--I never said I only like being impressed by people) can be. I love being impressed by someone I already know and love even more.
And boy, am I impressed.
My co-farmer Alex has nearly single-handedly completed our orchard addition for 2013. We made a pledge at the beginning of the year--when the weather was very similar to today, cold and rainy--that before the year was out we would add new plantings to our sleepy orchard.
We've got a plan for revitalizing this beautiful swatch of trees and brambles; introducing something new and fast-producing with tasty rewards was one of the first goals to be met. Not only has Alex been systematically cleaning out the orchard (i.e. removing by chainsaw hundreds of tallow trees and other brush that have fortified themselves mightily over the past 10 years) but as of today, he's finished all the gruntwork required to call our 2013 muscadine and blackberry planting "DONE."
(I wanted to include photos of these newly-planted delights, but they were transplanted in cold gray rain, it's been cold gray rain since, and anyhow---they're a bunch of little sticks at this point. When the weather clears up I'll send out a first-class shot of our growing orchard addition.)
Let me clarify gruntwork, and let me convey to anyone out there reading this how....well, impressive the work is that Alex undertook all by himself.
I truly did next to nothing here.
1. Post-hole digging...it's something that is truly beyond my physical capabilities. I look like a stork mixing a milkshake with its feet. Plus, they're clubfeet. Alex on the other hand, churns these holes out like it's his day job. Never mind that it's his day job.
He dug SO MANY HOLES.
2.Rock-hauling...if you followed the saga of digging rocks out of the dirt for our underground irrigation project, you know where we've been mining rocks for this job. Many buckets of these were toted out to the orchard to help secure the trellis posts.
3. Stringing the wire...it's exactly how it sounds, except more difficult than you thought it would be. There was cursing.
4. Mulching....this one I did help with, but let's just go ahead and declare Al the winner of the game, "Who-Can-Pitchfork-Mulch-Into-The-Bed-Of-The-Truck-The-Fastest-And-Then-Unload-It-Again-Twice-As-Fast-And-Then-Do-It-Again." His pitchfork skills far exceed mine. I specialized more in insisting that the fabric mulch layer be centered exactly on the row beds, scrutinizing with my keen artistic eye. At least, that's what I told Alex.
5. Everything Else... like I said, this McFarmer was out in the orchard as often as possible cleaning, clearing, cementing and perfecting this newest project of ours. He made it so I could worry myself over everything else (which I was gonna do anyway) and I didn't have to worry one snit about this. I am thankful for that.
And impressed. Since it's Thanksgiving, I suppose I should put more emphasis on the thankful end, but truly--I'm really, really impressed. Initiative, fearlessness and drive-- those are 3 characteristics I greatly admire in a human, and thankfully, the person I run a farm with has got 'em in spades.
We'll have you out next year to taste the grapes and berries.
I bet they'll taste impressive.