I don’t know about you, but I actually like waking up early. I’m not really a morning person, per-se, but I just feel like accomplish so much with the extra time I have in the morning. Time just seems to go by so much faster. Remember when you used to have different shifts at work? I always picked the first shift, I just think it’s easier to get through.
Anyway, I woke up at 630am today. Yesterday’s make up was completely unnecessary. No make-up day. Whoo. I wore the same clothes as before, and went out to the fields by 635 to start weeding. It’s amazing how much time is shaved off my morning routine when I don’t have to shower, pick out clothes, or put on make-up. [I would normally brush my teeth, too, but the water isn’t so great in that bathroom and I haven’t come up with a good alternative yet.]
Today was much easier for me.
I watched the sun rise as I weeded. I haven’t found a great weeding position yet; I move between crouching down or bending over. My legs are certainly getting a work out. I took a break around 915 to get some breakfast [more of George’s breakfast porridge] and continued weeding until it got too hot.
Around 11am, I started sorting potatoes. Lambros helped me :] In all, we sorted about 10 crates of red and yellow potatoes between good, “needs processing [aka – cook soon]” and rotten.
As you might guess, I generally don’t like being dirty, getting dirty, etc. I grew up in an extremely clean household. And I can tell you, these were some dirty jobs. Not awfully dirty, but just in the sense that I had dirt caked under my nails and my skin began to just accumulate dirt to the point that even scrubbing couldn’t get it out. It was as if my skin just decided to keep the dirt as a souvenir of my hard work. Thanks for the vacation, Stephanie. I still wash my ferociously wash my hands every time I come back inside the house though. Some habits just won’t die, I guess.
Over the course of the potato sorting, Lambros starts throwing the dirty potatoes onto my lap. I didn’t mind it so much. I got used to the idea of being dirty and muddy and having dirty clothes. To quote Lambros, “[dirt] is natural.”
These mosquitos keep harassing me. The Ben’s 100% Deet just isn’t working. I’ll also admit, though, that I don’t use it very often because I know that Anke and George don’t totally approve of it. I haven’t taken the time to research the side effect of Deet but I know that the quantities I wish to spray on myself certainly cannot be FDA or EPA approved. Anke’s essential oils seem to hold up but I’m always putting more on that I’m afraid I’ll permanently smell like a citronella candle. Oh well, what to do?
Today was George’s birthday! He brought it up so nonchalantly, though, that I didn’t know how to react. In Greece [and many other countries], they don’t actually celebrate birthdays. Instead, they acknowledge Name Days, where you celebrate the saint after whom you’re named after. I felt bad I didn’t have anything to give to him or say in light of this news. At lunch, though, we had frozen banana puree with strawberry jam [their version of ice cream! – which tasted soooo good!] to celebrate George.
After lunch, I fell asleep on the couch for about 2.5 hours. A girl could get used to these mid-day naps! :] I woke up around 6pm and began sorting more potatoes. Anke and George were about to head out to the fields to do some more work. I thought I would stay behind to finish sorting the last of the potatoes until Lambros said we should go. Reluctantly, I agreed. And I’m glad I did.
We walked 5 minutes to their field that was further up the street. It was such a great view [again, no filters!]. We arrived at a sort of wild garden field. There were trees everywhere, bushes, flowers, grasses. To be honest with you, I didn’t know what was purposefully grown and what were weeds, but it was all beautiful to me. There wasn’t a clear path anymore so I just tried to avoid stepping on anything that looked healthy and alive.
Our job, that afternoon, would be to wrap the grapes. George and Anke took a look at their grape vines and noticed that many of the grapes had already been eaten by birds. It was really disappointing and I was even more sorry to see the look on their faces.
This was a very sobering moment because while I’ve worked for money to pay for food at the supermarket to put on the table, they were working to literally put food on the table. Every success in the fields matter. There’s a certain pleasure you get from knowing that the food on the table is directly correlated to the your day’s hard work, to say that we’re living from meal to meal is a grotesque exaggeration, but it really put things into perspective for me.
George and Anke were [rightly] upset. George threatened to kill the birds [but I think we all know he wouldn’t]. We looked at the eaten grapes more closely. Some of these grapes had been wrapped before. How did the birds manage to get them the netting off? Sometimes the bags were pecked through. Sometimes the knots were untied. Stupid birds.
We took out our materials and set to work. I was quite slow at wrapping grapes. It’s much trickier than you would guess. I think I wrapped 4 in the time Anke wrapped 10. No wonder I was only worth 8 euros a day. In my defense, though, I quadruple-knotted, fisherman’s knotted, and did all sorts of made up knot variations when I was tying. There was no rhyme or reason behind my grape wraps; I’ll be damned if these birds figure out how to get to my grapes!
Lambros could tell I was a bit disappointed in how slowly I wrapped the grapes. He offered some words of encouragement. Every day, he impresses me. Is this what it’s like with kids?
We headed back home a little after the sun had set. At dinner, I accepted my volunteer work at the Orange Blossom Farm and agreed to stay until August 15th, like I had planned [note: now I have to leave on the 14th so I can catch my flight]. It feels like the right thing, to stay and work. I know I’ll learn so much about myself and about farming in the next 2.5 weeks.
With that, I headed back to my tent after dinner, itched my mosquito bites [sorry, mom, I’m trying!], pet my little guard dog, and fell asleep thinking about what to post about next.