Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why'd you call me a drip?

Was it because I left a pool of rainwater by the back door today? That might have to be it.

Happily, Wednesday is not a CSA distribution day. However, the forecast still gives a decent chance of rain tomorrow. And...tomorrow IS a CSA distribution day.

We've done this before and we'll do it again. A distribution day doesn't get moved. Even if it is raining - or pouring - we still need to get things picked, packed and ... uh... delivered (so much for the alliteration).

So, there are times that we're out in the fields in a steady rain, doing what work we can. Early afternoon today was one of those times. R was trying to get a few things in before the rain came. But, the rain came a little quicker than he would have liked. As a result, he got to experience all of the things that come with this territory.

A small notepad is typically in R's possession throughout the work day. There is a problem with paper and rain sometimes.... Didn't get that bad today. But, it is something to consider for future rain pickings as that notepad often has a number of important items in it that need attention.

Another thing we notice is that the first bit of rain makes the surface of the soil a little slick, so a person has to be a bit more careful moving around. As it rains more, we go to the 'stick to the sole' stage where it is possible to 'grow' three inches in a short period of time. It's not too bad until part of the mud caked on a shoe breaks off, leaving you with an uneven surface with every step on that foot.

A third item that makes things a bit more interesting during a rain pick - the produce is often harder to handle as it can be slick with rain - or mud. Not sure how many times I grumped at the zucchini as it slipped out of my hands, falling back to the ground - only to be in contact with - more mud.

Then there is the issue of wiping hands clean. Usually, the jeans are the defacto 'rag' in the field. What happens when there are no more clean or dry spots left?

Today's rain was accompanied by a cool southeast wind. So, the rain was just cold enough to cause me to cringe a bit whenever rainwater found a new place to go. The first few drops down to the small of one's back can be a little shocking. Of course, once your back is soaked it doesn't matter. But, stand up (out of the 'harvesting position') and you'll find that you DID (past tense) have dry spots on your person.

There are stages of acceptance that one goes through during a rainy day in the field:

Stage the First - you see it coming and you rush to complete whatever you are doing in hopes of getting it done AND getting in before the rain hits. Adreneline rush time.
Second Stage - the rain starts and you rush to get anything undercover that really must not get wet. You feel every drop of rain.
Third Stage - you are damp, but there really is 'just a bit' more to do and you really don't want to leave it (or can't leave it). So, you keep rushing in hopes of getting done before you get too wet/dirty/both. You begin to get annoyed with some of the things listed above.
Stage Four - You can still get a little bit wetter, but there really is no more hope of getting done and in before you have to change to new clothing, etc. The pace slows down, it really doesn't matter how fast it gets done anymore. Part of you accepts that being in the rain can be somewhat pleasant - except if it is a downpour - or lightning.
Stage the Fifth - There is no way you can be wetter - even if you submerged yourself in a pool. You could wring a few gallons out of your underpants if you had to. At this point, you only keep picking because you have to - and it still doesn't matter if you go in. The only thing that stops you is if you will be doing more damage to the crop and field than you should. Even then, you keep picking if there is a deadline to meet. The rain is no longer annoying. The issues listed above no longer bother you. This is likely because you have reached a stage of numbness that is known by CSA growers, truck/market farmers and other folks who have to perform tasks in this sort of weather once in a while.

Today R reached Stage Four. Happily, he got the rows done he felt needed to be done before reaching the next level.

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