Sunday, August 29, 2010

Road Trip Adventures, Day #3 (Avondale, CO Hobbs Family Farm & Pueblo CO)

To be seen clearly by another human being evokes bursting elation and terrorizing fear. If we are who we think we are, there is reason to grace magazine covers and hide in dark obscurity. This is not a case of distinguishing two (or several) faces but a branding of encapsulated, intricate souls.

*This soul world - walking : working : kneeling - as interpreted by others in their soul world.

Kaitlin and James traveled too far south on their journey east, but when they arrived under a full moon I could only be happy to extend their captive hours in a car. Now returned to passing over the road with air above and beneath them, a trail to family and friends as a marker of their presence is a great gift. This is how we were seen in August.

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Author: Kaitlin Gravitt, sent via email 8/28/2010

* It’s about 9am and the house is silent. All the farm workers that woke up early in the morning are gone. I creep out of our floor bed past James to take in the soft morning sunlight that’s cutting across precise rows of crops all around. After a few minutes, I head towards my car to delicately pick out some fresh clothes and a toothbrush from the jammed backseat. Everything is so peaceful. Suddenly I hear a quick, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, BAM! Before me stand a super blond, skinny powerhouse of a girl. “Hi!” She says, and picks up a sweet orange tabby cat from under the car. She half pays attention to it as she rolls is in her arms back and forth. I feel sorry for the cat.

“Hi!”, she says again. “This is blue moon, and I’m Avery. She’s my cat. I have had her since she was born. We have the same birthday. March 14th. She’s five years old”.

I blink. “Hi there”, I say and pet the kitty behind the ears. “She’s a cute cat”. I look around at the continued silence around us. “Where’s your mom or dad?” I say.

“My mom’s in the field.” Avery responds. “Can I come into your house?!”

“Ummm, OK”, I say. We all tromp into the house with squirming cat in tow. Avery makes sure to show me the frog holes, trap spots, and secrets in the 20 feet between the car and door to the house.

* James plops down on the couch, snuggling in between the arm rest and me. We start talking about daily adventures and route plans. After about 10 minutes go by we hear my friend enter in the back door. I am still focused on my conversation with James so it sounds garbled but I can hear my friend talking with Avery. “What the… Avery?”

“Don’t worry,” Avery says, “I’ve already figured how to get myself out”.

“Oh Shit!” James says slapping his hand on his forehead, “I forgot to let Avery out of the dog's cage in our lion game.” We all start cracking up laughing…

* Splat! Another juicy tomato squirts some seed up onto me face. You can barely see my blue gloves buried underneath the mound of bright red tomatoes I am squishing in between my fingers and rolling back and forth across the grate. We are threading tomatoes to push out the seeds and juice, let them ferment for 24 to 48 hours and then sell the dry seeds. “My forearms are going to be so buff!” I say and my friend laughs. About 45 minutes later my hands start to cramp up and my forearms are burning from the acid in the tomatoes. It hurts, but I don’t want to stop. “This is pathetic”, I think to myself. “I have barely started and these folks have been working for hours already”. To sneak in a break I look over my shoulder to see James and Avery jumping in circles on the huge trampoline at the side of the house. Avery is energetically rambling off orders and questions to James. A smile unconsciously sneaks in. It’s good to see him more happy and lighthearted after receiving some bad work news earlier that morning.

* “Are you all visiting?” The cash register clerk asks us at Los Locos Liquors. “We are,” I say pointing to James and I, “but she is a farmer”. I instantly register how stupid that sounds in the middle of a farming town. I was trying to say she was a local farmer but it didn’t come out. “I mean, I mean, she…” I couldn’t correct myself before he cuts into the next conversation topic.

“You all should head down to the rodeo tonight” he says, “They have martini shots.”

“Martini shots!” I say surprised, “ That’s…. interesting” .

“It’s a local band” the clerk responds expressionless. “Oh”, I say. I have now managed to make an ass of myself in rapid series in less than a minute and a half. I think I am done. I thank him and walk outside.

* If you find yourself on a cattle farm, you inevitably become part of the milking process. Or maybe that’s just me. I met Laura when we entered as she was finishing up pouring the morning's milk into jars. Drinking fresh whole milk is heavenly. She looked tired.

Next thing I knew I was standing in the middle of a pin holding up a milk canister for a new born calf that had been separated from its mother. It was so sweet and instantly knew I was there to feed it. Suddenly the calf clamped onto the fake nipple and with great force rips at it, tugging and pushing on it to get more milk. My mouth drops and I look up at my friend on the other side of the pin laughing at me. “Holy crap,” I say, “ You got to be kidding me. They do that when it’s attached to the mother? If I was the mother I would kick that thing off!”

* The day ended with cooking together late at night in the house kitchen. Most of the ingredients were fresh from the labors and farms around us. Fresh roasted green chilies, harvested basil pesto, spaghetti, fresh tomato sauce, and red wine smells filled the house. Laura showed up at around 10pm, only just then finishing her work for the day. Her hands are black from the leaf acid of picking tomatoes all day. Talking more with Laura and my friend, my eyes grow big at the hours and endless work they put in everyday to bring food to others tables. The daily struggle to just keep ahead can be felt and seen everywhere. The intense labor and hours that go into the diverse crops packed with nutrition and sweet goodness can not be taken for granted. Most of us are so far removed from where our food comes from, we expect it to be there, everyday. In an attempt to not sound too preachy, I cannot be reminded enough of the gift of good food, the struggle most small farmers endure, the art and craft of “unconventional farming” that is fading, and our responsibility to remember and support those that nourish us.

Sweet dreams all. Suenos con los angelitos. ~ Kaitlin and James