For quite a while, I had this blog completely closed and deleted. Due to some personal issues and other things going on, my heart and head just weren't into blogging at all. Luckily I archived all of the new posts just in case I decided to return to it, and well, I have.
For the first time in 13 years at this house, we decided to not have a garden. Both of us love gardening, but at the rate it was growing every year; it became overwhelmed and frankly; too much of a priority. Even the chickens and ducks are gone for this year. We have, of course, left the blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and grapes; but there is nothing else here this year. We decided to take the year off to relax and concentrate on us as a couple, and at enjoying ourselves.
We've spent nearly all of our spare time fishing. We first went out the first week of April, and found a spot with awesome crappie fishing. Lisa REALLY got into it, almost more than myself. We spent every spare hour at this spot for a few weeks, putting over 200 fish in the freezer. After 2-3 weeks of heavy pressure, the crappie were done, and we went after bass and bluegill. Again, most of May was spent fishing. Weekends, nights, and weekdays after work. We fished (and still are) at every single opportunity.
Now that I mentioned work, that's a whole other story. We were working steady up until mid-March, then things started to slow down. Eventually it got to where we were only working 2-3 days a week, then one day, then nothing. Yep. Laid off again. That was the last week of March. No more work, period. He had nothing new coming up until possibly July.
At first, I sat at home or went fishing; looking for work everywhere in the trade and any type of construction. I once again filed for unemployment, but they were dragging their feet. I went places, called, e-mailed, and nothing. I was determined to find work and was close to flipping burgers rather than collect unemployment.
Then, a little over a week ago, I was going fishing during the day at a lake just 10 minutes northeast of here. I noticed a sign on the side of the road at a local farm market "Now hiring full time regular and part time seasonal workers". I turned around, drove in, and got to speak to the mother of the owner. She didn't have any applications, but took my name and number, saying she would have her son call me back. I left there and went fishing, thinking it would be a job that I just might actually like.
I didn't hear anything that day, so I called the next day. I got an answering machine, and again left my name and number, expressing my interest in the job. Again, nothing. I didn't hear back. I called a second time a few days later, but the line just rang. No machine. I was disappointed and just let the idea go, and went fishing over the weekend.
Last Monday, I decided to give it one more try and called again. I spoke to the owner, and he told me to start the next day at 7am. I was pretty excited, and Lisa was happy that I found work. I found it funny and ironic that the very same day, Ohio decided to deposit my first unemployment check. I laughed a bit, and sat out work clothes for the next morning.
That morning, I was at the farm bright and early. I met the owner, and we went back to a field with a few other people. He asked if I had ever picked strawberries before, and I laughed. "Yea I think so. I grow my own". We picked berries till lunch, and I hoed weeds the rest of the day. He asked if I had ever hoed before, and I laughed again. "Yea, since I was about 6 ". That night I was dead tired. I think I was in bed about two minutes before I passed out cold. I normally wake up at least once through the night, but I sure didn't that night.
On Friday, only 2 of us came in because of rain. I had to go fix some plastic over plant rows that the wind had blown. I caught myself out there that day in a strange moment of thought. There I was, standing in a field in the rain, soaked to the bone, covered in mud to my knees....and smiling as I looked across the fields. Isn't it funny that the year I decide to not garden, I end up working on a farm with fruits and vegetables?
Tomorrow starts my second week on the farm, and I haven't loved a job this much since I was 22 years old and started working at the gun shop. I somehow feel at home with this job. This is what I do. The pay may be less than what I made as a pipefitter, but I'm done caring about that. I'll take the things I love about this job over the stress of construction anytime. My sprinkler installation license from the state has expired, and I have no intentions on retesting. I'm done. I'll keep the tools that I can use for other things, but the ones that are pipe specific will be sold or traded off. I'm here to stay.
One of the things I love about the place is it's history. The same family has owned and operated it since 1862. The owner now is the 6th generation on it's now 230 acres. They grow and sell strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, peppers, tomatoes, peas, green beans, sweet corn, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, cabbage, and a few others that I can't remember at the moment. Vegetables are sold at their in-house market, and the berries are pick your own, or also available at the market. In the fall, they do hayrides and bonfires to the public and to groups like scouts and church groups. It's a busy place.
More to come soon. I have some pictures of the place, but I'll wait until I get more to post them all.
I *will* be back!
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