One would think that living in rural Virginia would mean monotony and weeks of isolation, aside from the occasional crazy redneck out shooting squirrels. Well this is wrong. I know we've only been here two weeks but we really haven't been bored nor have things been monotonous. Nor are there squirrels, oddly enough. (What do the rednecks shoot?)
First of all, like I've mentioned before, the weather is absurdly unpredictable. Monday was chilly but sunny and eventually I was down to a sweatshirt. Tuesday, however, was entirely different. We woke to temperatures in the 30s (both inside our cabin and out), put on a few layers and headed to work. By 11am it was still freezing, cloudy, and windy and beginning to rain. At lunch I made it up to 4 layers and long underwear. Naturally the sun came out later. Wednesday was very cold too. We spent a good part of the morning working with Ron and Kevin (one of Ron's workers) to help them set up a new tractor sprayer. This meant frozen hands dealing with nearly frozen water. Later it warmed up but it was slow-coming. Thursday was much nicer and Friday was downright hot. It supposedly never gets above 90 here so I can at least count on that. The good thing about living at your job is that you can go home and change at lunch if necessary. So far, that's been needed.
Today and last night have been the most eventful, however. Last night we made our way into town and ate at a restaurant with live music. Afterward we wandered the street (singular). With the livable temperatures come the lively people. Rather than everyone cramming into the Country Store's Jamboree, people hung out on the street and formed pick-up bluegrass bands. One had a woman singing "Keep on the Sunny Side of Life". I know that's an old song but I can't help but think of "O Brother Where Art Thou". This is no sleepy town, perhaps because of the population. This town is filled with old hippies (and their tie-dye), new hippies (and their tye-dye), young farmers, old farmers, hicks, and everything in between. It helps that everyone knows at least someone in every circle so it's easy to get people together. We still haven't tried out flatfooting but maybe someday. It'll take a few beers though.
Sunset in the Blue Hills
Today, after having a welcomed slow morning, we headed to visit a friend from the farm and drop off some eggs for her. She gave us a tour of her cute little house and garden and then we went to visit some people next door we had met before. They both also work on farms in the area. We eventually made it into town for sandwiches and an outdoor concert. The music was good and old timey and the breeze was nice. Another friend was there so we talked with him for a while. Already exhausted from social overdose, we headed to the next activity. The farm next door (as in through the woods and up a hill) had a birthday party and invited everyone they knew and didn't know. Josh and I have been talking about trying to meet everyone in the community and learning their different trades and I think we met them all tonight. There was a toolmaker, a brewer, a fruit grower, vegetable farmers, chicken farmers, cattle farmers, farmers farmers. It was a great bunch. There were also a few great dogs lying around which was probably the best part. The night ended with a bonfire and some yodeling. Can you top that?
I apprenticed on a farm in southwest Virginia from April-October 2010. This blog contains all the anecdotes and observations from that adventure.
See more of my photos here