My typical commute to work involves dropping a kid, or three, off at school and beginning my half-hour drive to the farm. I relish that time with my coffee and thoughts, transitioning from mother to farmer. In the winter and spring we often see the river rise. This can add layers to our commute.
Last Wednesday I found a tree laying across the dirt road on my way in. I was forced to go around, meaning back to the highway and in through Coker.
Once I was finally through the yellow gate and onto the farm property, I found the river in the road. On this day, I was able to walk the rest of the way to the garden.
On Thursday, the river has risen higher. We are grateful that the garden is spared and only the roads and lower fields we do not use are under water, but we are forced to add a canoe to our commute.
Because there are two farmer’s markets on Saturday and Friday the water will be even higher, we decide it is best to go ahead and harvest for them. Totes are filled with bunches of collards, kale, chard, and carrots, along with heads of lettuce and pounds of salad, arugula, and spinach. The tractor with a trailer is able to drive a good bit of the way back.
It requires three canoe trips to move the harvest from one spot on the farm to the other side of the high water. On trip number two I spot a group of large, bright white birds gliding along the water covering the field. It turns out to be white pelicans. They are breath-taking and we forget about the work for a moment and revel in the beauty of nature that surrounds us.
It continues to rain every night, so there is really no hope for driving to the garden for a while. On Friday David, JC, and Victoria travel in the canoe and I follow later in a kayak. Although this is inconvenient, I do not mind the forced peace in a world of constant noise and information. It is absolutely quiet, with an occasional hoot from an owl and the soft rhythm of the paddle. The pelicans are still there, drifting regally.
Saturday and Sunday David goes out alone. Our greenhouse is on the other side of the water and must be watered. He also places some row cover for protection as the temperature falls.
Monday I kayak again. I am beginning to get use to this. When I come through the woods and enter into the open space of the fields, startled ducks fly off in pairs. The pelicans are gone.
By Wednesday we hope to be able to drive to the garden again.
That will be nice. And if it doesn’t flood again until next winter, that would be nice, too.
NEWS FROM THE BEND
From planting time to the growing and harvesting seasons,