My hands turned yellow, then green, then almost black yesterday as I crouched among the tomatoes, long overdue for a good pruning. Even this morning, after scrubbing with soap and a washcloth, the bottom of my nails still carry the stain of tomato residue. I am surprised at how tired I am after a full day working on the farm, and I’m reminded of my first summer farming, how I’d collapse at the end of the day, coming home to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and then nap until dinner. Then, I was biking 13 miles to the farm, working 7 hours, and biking home. Now, all I have to do is step outside and I’m at work. The bike ride has been replaced by an 11 month old boy who doesn’t always want to sleep when I am ready to fall into dreamland.
Even so, it feels good. Pruning the tomatoes is a bit like a meditation: snipping away at the suckers, lightening the load of the main stem, and increasing air flow as if to let the plants take a deep, clean breath. Once I get going I find a rhythm and move steadily down the rows, stopping only to stretch out my back for a moment. Later in the season I’ll be reaching up to prune, instead of bending down, as the tomatoes grow higher and higher up their trellis.
Last summer, while I was very pregnant, tomato trellising was the last bit of farm work I did before finally giving in to my aching back and huge belly. I remember plopping down in the field and crying in frustration that I couldn’t do it, while Edge listened and told me again I was already doing a lot of work (growing a baby!). I spent the next week and a half swimming in the mornings at Curtis Pond, napping in the shade, taking slow walks, and reading. In fact, in the weeks before and after Waylon was born, I read 5 books–five!–one benefit of having a sleepy newborn that I hadn’t anticipated.
Now that sleepy newborn is a month away from turning 1 year. He’s in the hammock taking a morning nap, while Papa does chores and I wait for Nana and Gramps to pick him up for the day. My tiredness is wearing off, and I’m feeling ready to tackle the weeds among the onions. The air is sticky, and the weather forecast says it will reach 91 today. Better get outside while it’s still bearable. An afternoon swim might be in the cards today, but first the weeds.