Farm Hands: Lessons of a Farm Intern

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By Becca von Trapp of Full Belly Farm, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop

Well folks, the rain has finally come. Here at the farm we are heaving a collective sigh of relief as we are finally able to hang up our rain-dancing shoes for a little while. With the pregnant clouds, a new form of excitement rolls through Full Belly as we scramble to cover hay bales, repair leaky chicken coops, and move our sheep, cows, and goats out of the fields and under cover. It may mean a little extra work and a few more loads of muddy laundry, but we bless these rains as they bring the promise of a healthy and bountiful crop for us, and most importantly, for all of you. My name is Becca von Trapp, and I am the farm’s newest intern. Allow me to introduce myself.

As a seedling will flit within the cadence of a breeze, I came to Full Belly Farm on a whim of sorts. I applied to be an intern last August, right in the thick of the bustling summer season, and when I didn’t hear back after a couple of weeks, I was advised by my dear old friend (and now, I’m proud to say, colleague) Ingrid Lassleben, that I ought to “just come out here.” So that’s what I did last October. Fresh from Vermont, I showed up at Full Belly sans a ride back to where I came from, equipped with the meager offer of two weak, yet willing, human hands.

These same hands, which I am now using to write to you all today, have absorbed more knowledge in the last five months than my brain was even privy to during twenty-some-odd years of schooling. Still, I must think fondly on my years in the classroom, for they taught me that I am a simple woman with few needs who thrives on a balance of the natural and chaotic order of things.  I do not take for granted my education, but there is no denying that my hands have been so, so hungry.

I’ve never been more content than I am now, with the opportunity  to be completely consumed by dirt, pure earth and the giving ground that most of us walk upon each day without recognizing that it is all we really need to survive. Dirt, music, and the ability to love – these are the only things that I need. Working and living on Full Belly Farm has allowed me to not only discover this, but to be able to admit it with confidence.
I don’t regret anything from my past; I don’t fear what’s to come in my future. I have a hard time understanding why our species has made life so complicated, and with each unappreciated sunrise, continues to do so. This is what I know: we are here. And “here” is going to be whatever we make of it. There is no following a map, there is only blazing a trail. I have lived by this mantra throughout my twenty-three years, and I intend to continue living by it as these seductive March days uncontrollably pass me by.

Father Time is a stubborn old man, and we humans have fallen prey to his dictation. Still, Mother Nature prevails; she would never succumb to such a hollow concept as time. Remember that you can always find solace in this, no matter the battles you find yourself fighting today, or tomorrow. And in the coming days, let yourself revel in the tiny, lovely things, like the way that wet blade of grass just kisses your ankle, or how that wisp of cloud so gently smears itself across your sky. Think of this life, the world you live in, as a plot of land gifted to you by nobody out of the blue, and think of your body as the perfect tool. Who cares where any of it came from. All you have to do is use your head, and your hands, and I promise, you can make anything grow.


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