Notes from the Field
This past week was break week for the CASFS apprentices. We are more than halfway through the program, having completed our rotations through the three different sites (Field, Farm Garden and Chadwick Garden). Some people struggled with having to decide in which site they want to spend their final 10 weeks of the program. Everyone's fate for the "Final 10" were revealed prior to break week, and amazingly, it appeared that nearly all were placed in their first choice.
With this somewhat stressful process completed, most of the apprentices scattered to various destinations during break week, leaving 15 of us to "hold down the fort." We were split up among the three sites, and assigned various duties for the week. I was happy to be assigned to the Chadwick Garden, where I will also spend my Final 10 weeks. I had no expectations for break week, so it was a great surprise to me that it turned out to be glorious.
Whereas meals are normally prepared by two apprentices according to a daily sign-up schedule, with breakfast programmatically starting at 6:45AM and dinner at 5:30PM, break week meals unfolded at a languid pace. Multiple people stepped in to cook, and we enjoyed great food. During the day, with smaller work crews at each site and minimal instructions given, our tasks somehow felt more purposeful.
Evenings featured an impromptu game of "One Night Ultimate Werewolf" one night, and a movie in the Farm Center another. Perhaps the highlight was the "Weird Corn Party" on Wednesday night. The note on the board announcing the event simply stated that it would occur in the corn field at 8pm. Since weirdness is embraced at CASFS, it proved to be memorable - think iridescent purple wigs, shimmery gold fish-scale blouses, Quija board, all surrounded by Christmas lighting in the middle of a corn field.
In the Up Garden (as we refer to the Chadwick), Orin described the available tasks at the beginning of the week. Weeding the Bermuda grass and Oxalis that were taking over the Rose & Apple Terrace appealed to me. With the rich moist soil of the Up, the act of weeding provides a certain pleasure. Working by myself, it felt quite meditative and therapeutic.
A section of soil can be forked, and by plunging your hands in it to grab the Bermuda grass, its roots yield in a most satisfying manner to a strong steady pull. Over the course of the week, the slope was gradually cleared of weeds and mulched over, further revealing the beauty of the roses and perennials that inhabit it.
Such experiences help make me feel ever more connected to the land, and the magnificence of nature. I am filled with hope, and everything seems possible.
– Warren Uesato