I’m a bit tired. I put on my work gloves and began harvesting squash soon after my arrival Monday afternoon. My drive here had taken me out from under the shadow of New York City skyscrapers, past the industrial landscape stretching from Jersey City and then into the rolling green hills of western New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Soon the rolling hills became more mountainous, with the highway curving around rivers below.
So after the four-hour drive to Spring Mills, PA, I drove up the dirt road to Common Ground farm. Leslie, the owner of the farm, helped me carry my bags up to my room. Shortly thereafter the squash harvesting commenced. Luckily I had my new work gloves to keep my fingers free from the prickly stems of the pumpkins. My French farm comrade Franck (who is called Frank here) and I pulled and clipped the gourds from the vines. After filling the large wheelbarrow we laid the squash out on wooden flats on the back porch to dry. They’ll be sold at the farmers market on Saturday.
Our next task was to plant lettuce and kale. Leslie had marked rows in the dirt where the seedlings, started in the greenhouse in late July, should be planted. I didn’t realize these could be planted this time of year. But they should be able to be harvested in October. I was able to put my planting skills gained from a summer working in the parks department in Portage, MI to work. That summer I had helped plant hundreds of annual flowers along Library Lane and around City Hall. The technique of digging several holes, then placing the plants in the holes, then covering worked quite well with lettuce also. Dig, dig, dig, dig, place, place, place, place, cover, cover, cover, cover. I have to say, my technique did put me ahead of Franck. But that only meant more rows to plant.
After a few hours of work we got dinner ready. Leslie made a delicious soup with potatoes, squash, and kale. We also enjoyed a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. At one point in the kitchen I swept the wooden floors. I felt like maybe I should have been wearing a long skirt and bonnet. And I kind of liked that.