Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Day with the Peasants

Yesterday afternoon, we loaded up the van and drove to Platteville where there is a farm that lets people come glean the fields.  I wondered if we qualified since we are neither widows, orphans nor strangers.  But that didn't seem to matter to us and I guess not to others either since there were about 40,000 people looking for free vegetables.  

We parked the van near a potato field.  Seeing other people with shovels and trowels, we suddenly realized we didn't come prepared to break the hard soil.  I kinda of envisioned just picking a few ears of corn at the corners or bending over picking up fruit that had fallen on the ground.

A little dumb-founded at what to do, we spied some other people without shovels improvising with ice scrappers or random sticks.  So we found a row that looked relatively undisturbed, got down on all fours and started digging with sticks.  Luke went crazy digging like a dog especially if Robin or I found the top of a tater, he would take over and dig that sucker out.

It was all rather comical. We looked like peasants.  We had just thought it would be cool to take the kids to a farm and see how many people live and work.  You know some educational experience.  But, we got dirty and the kids had a good time digging in the dirt.  They would get very excited when we'd discover a potato under the hard ground.  Luke said it was like digging for treasure without a map. We managed to get about 10 lbs but probably not all of them were worth keeping.  We decided that was enough potatoes and drove to another area of the farm and did the same routine to find some carrots.  (We first went to onion patch but the cold weather had killed all of them.) One carrot treasure Robin found was the biggest carrot I have ever seen.

Robin and I wondered what the motivation for other folks were. Some looked like they needed some free food.  I thought a lot about maybe my Irish ancestors during the potato famines.  I also thought people in Africa who would have loved to been in this field and might not have even rejected the rotten ones on the surface everyone passed over.

I guess it was a good lesson for us all.

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