Monday, June 20, 2011

Soil Born

Don't tell anyone, but I secretly want to live on a farm. It's a funny fantasy, though, considering that earth worms give me the creeps. I can't really see myself driving a tractor and working with tools isn't really my strong suit - I mean, seriously, what does a wrench do? Clearly, I have a lot to learn...

...and yet, I can't help but imagine the dreaminess of this life: living off the land, waking up at sunrise to harvest the field, embodying a sustainable and seasonal lifestyle, tending to and to caring for livestock. Maybe one day, I can pack it all up and do those things.

Until then, I can live vicariously through Sarah Barnes -- my beautiful friend and writer of the blog Girl Awakes. She's partaking in an 8 month apprenticeship on Soil Born Farms, an urban agriculture project in Rancho Cordova. This past Sunday, I traded sunny Dolores Park for the sunnier American River Ranch (it was in the mid-90's in Sacramento!). It was Sarah's day off which meant we got to play on the farm, swim in the American river, and ride bikes along the most beautiful bike path ever!

First thing's first: breakfast. After frying up a few eggs (collected from the coop only moments earlier), we had a sweet treat of yogurt (made by Sarah) and granola (made by Sarah). I'm liking this already...

After catching up around the picnic table, Sarah and I hopped on bikes and ventured out to the farm on Hurley Way, a one and half acre certified organic garden. Sarah described it as a sanctuary - it didn't take long for me to feel cozily cradled in its leafy arms.

Up on ladders and with our head in the trees, we harvested mulberries and watched the chickens do their thing. I could get used to this.


and hello!

The ripe berries matched my nail polish - obviously, I dressed for the occasion.

Cleveland Sage - the essence of potpourri. Sarah knew the names of every flower, plant, vegetable and fruit - I was very impressed. She's learned so much - I bet if I lived on the farm like Sarah does I'd soon learn the purpose of a wrench.

I forget the names of these ones - but I thought they were the sweetest things. They called to me.

Artichoke - can you believe it!? Pretty purple.

First ripe pluot of the season - right off the tree. We got really full on these.

Deeply lost in its magic, eventually we had to pull ourselves away from the farm on Hurley Way. Luckily, we had our looming-jump-in-the-river to motivate us to hop back on bikes and trek on over. Did I mention that the bike path is the coolest?

Our cycling adventure was a nice break from the obstacle course that biking in San Francisco can sometimes be. The path is peaceful and well paved, offering a pure state of relaxation with its ongoing flatness. The occasional hill or dip only furthers a state of calm. It runs along the river so while you're gliding along you can see people kayaking and tubing on the water - which was so blue I couldn't believe it.

By the way, Sunday marked my first time ever riding a fixed gear bike (ironic that I had to leave San Francisco to climb aboard). Super nerve-wracking, it took me a while to get used to the pedals never stopping and the awkwardness of braking. Overall though it was mostly fun and exhilarating! It was a day of firsts -- although I never got to use that wrench.

The American River on a hot day, also known as an invitation to dive in.

Farmer Sarah poses for a picture.

Me, freezing in the American River.

As usual with days like these, it's almost impossible to get in the car and drive home. Walking back from the river, we caught a glimpse of the cows. Sarah introduced me to them and even had a few anecdotes about their antics. I didn't want to leave. Generous as she is, Sarah sent me home with bags of produce from the farm - plenty of greens, squash, root veggies and garlic to save me multiple trips to the market. This was the real thing.

On my way home I thought of how lucky Sarah is to be living on Soil Born Farm. I also thought of how lucky I am to have her as a friend. Our Sunday together reminded me to be open to all new opportunities as scary as they might be. With Sarah glowing and smiling all day, how could I not be inspired by her experience?

Thank you, Sarah, for such a perfect day on the farm! xoxo

***note: since publishing this post, the blogger has since learned the purpose and use for a wrench. She's quite pleased with her findings and feels ready and prepared to continue dreaming of living on a farm***


  1. Reading this just sent me into a mini dream. Awesome.
    You had me at mulberry... actually, you had me at "soil born"... but then a bike ride! and then a swim in the river! Dream. That bike path looks absolutely divine. Good for you for riding a fixie. I've never done it.

  2. What a dreamy day and a dreamy friendship

  3. Love all your musings on life on a farm, nature, and friendship. It's true -- if we are open to new experiences we reap the benefits. What a great day you had with your friend!

  4. YES! I think about living on a farm as well, how sweet would that be?! Open spaces, rolling hills, fresh food...ahhhH!


  5. Nice pics!

  6. I want the farm too creeped out by earth worms as well. Thankfully my kids love them. It's a Tremendous amount of work but look at all those natural and beautiful gifts!

  7. this is so magical sissy. sounds like the best day ever.

  8. Oh I love this! What a day, and what lovely pics. The flowers are amazing.