“Hi, is this Ted?”
“Uh, yeah, this is Ted.”
“Hi, my name is Diana and, uh, can you talk right now, I mean, are you busy?”
“Actually, I’m kind of up to my neck in poison ivy. I’m clearing out the woods around the farm.
Ted and his wife, Julia, are organic farmers. Greenbranch Farm in Salisbury, Maryland, is theirs. I drove by it with my husband-to-be when we were first trolling around the town back in December, scouting out a place to live to go along with his new hospital job. I said to him at the time, “Hmm. Maybe this is where I can be a farming intern or something,” without taking note of the name or location. But I ended up there somehow five months and a wedding later, the first step in attending to what had become an increasingly large pebble in my shoe.
The pebble was my long-neglected farm fantasy. I had had a couple of gardens, sure, and was quite comfortable with all things nature.
I’d also been over-educated in all manner of vague liberal arts and followed many a job path, from teaching to counseling to reporting and editing and doing PR spin in Egypt. My re-entry to the states in 2008 via Northern Virginia hurtled me into the dreaded cubicle, that thing which I had until then managed to avoid at all costs in a blind panic, and it came complete with grey panels and florescent lights and a “zero inbox” management preference. There seemed to be a direct correlation between the number of sensible slacks in my closet and the number of glasses of wine it took to access a semblance of a sense of myself.
If only… if only… if only I could be a farmer, came the familiar refrain.
Nicely nestled into my new home with my new safely-employed and ever-supportive husband in a rural town with more farms than townhomes, I finally ran out of excuses for not wearing overalls to work. The day that marked the passing of the last threat of frost, I answered my calling and made the call to Farmer Ted and so began my forage into farming.
But… what to wear?
I confess to having a clothing crisis on my first day on the job as a farm intern. I was no spring chicken, afterall, but we would be killing the first batch of them, and I had to dress for blood. Nope, nothing like that in the closet. I headed to the local Goodwill to try to outfit myself in that perfect combination of rural, rugged, organic, flowery, farmer chic.
Apparently, the fashion designers haven’t honed in on that particular niche, yet, or if they have, no one is giving those items up to Goodwill. I settled for a pair of mens hiking trousers with cargo pockets paired with long-sleeved purple scoop neck tee.
I laid out my bandana alongside my decorated rubber “wellies,” given to me as a Christmas present for the frequent rain and flooding we have here on the Eastern Shore by my England-dwelling mother. My husband loaned me his green plaid flannel shirt and I was ready to go. I went to bed excited as a schoolgirl before the first day back after summer vacation. And about as fashionable as I had been back then, too.
My mentality definitely had some catching up to do if I was going to make it as a farmer.