true value

by john

it’s been raining for two days at the farm.

on Monday, i learned to use a machine which takes soil from a furrow and places it to the side. you run it between rows of crops to give plants more soil. the plants like this. in the afternoon, i helped clear a field.

on tuesday i baked bread. i am getting better at it. you have to let it rise. some things are like bread. they take time to develop.

on wednesday i planted an entire field of sweet potato. this work was “back-breaking”. many of our sayings have their roots in farm work. “grow like a weed”, “you reap what you sow”, “hedge your bets”.

on thursday morning i hadn’t finished planting the sweet potatoes. i spent another morning finishing the job. the rain started. in the afternoon the last seedling was planted. Isha cooked the three tiny eggs our hens had laid. it was really good.

today i picked quinoa off the stalk. a person named jason had arrived. he has worked in “private security” and is a big fellow. i cannot find my phone. i spent the afternoon sharpening tools. it was fun.

i’ve been feeling very tired for the last few days. planting sweet potatoes is hard work. imagine squatting for three hours in anxiety-inducing heat. then you have to dig the soil. sweet potatoes propagate via cuttings. they take root at nodes.

the fireflies are out. so are the termites. they swarm during heavy rain. they are also attracted to lights.

nature isn’t all pretty. some of it is pretty damn annoying. flies like high protein food sources. i ate meat on tuesday night. on wednesday morning they hovered around be, giving me no end of acoustic aggravation. that is to say, they buzzed the fuck out of me.

farming and making food is really hard. i’ve lived in a city for so long. this is a new perspective. it seems to me that large cities are quite wasteful. food has to be packaged, transported many miles, and stored in supermarkets which play shitty music and keep the fridge on to keep the food fresh. the food in the stores isn’t even all sold. it goes into the landfill.

packaged processed food wastes energy and contributes towards a bad diet. the hustle and bustle of day to day work leaves no time for the preparation of food. many people don’t even have time to sit down in a restaurant. take-out is common and adds to the packaging problem.

some “eco-conscious” food stores are doing quite well in terms of business. they sell the idea that you can live in a city but still consume your way to a better planet.

sweet potatoes take half a year to grow.

i have written in a non-sequential manner. i’ve lost nearly four kilograms of weight since i’ve been here, which is nearly three weeks. this is healthy.

that’s it for now. i’m writing an article on growing corn. will try to finish it soon.