This past weekend was probably one of the most intense of the year. It’s times like these that make me thankful for coffee, a comfortable mattress and the small tavern in town that makes good cheeseburgers. It started on Thursday. Kickapoo Creek had flooded and two out of the three routes into town were completely underwater. I had nearly 500 garden plants needing to be delivered to a fundraiser, so I took a long way, with my tiny Toyota hatchback stuffed with onion, lettuce, kale and herb plants. Despite it being destructive, it’s mesmerizing to sit and watch uprooted trees cruising down the creek or the geese and ducks that suddenly decided to swim through our rye fields.
Friday was full of slipping in the mud, getting a few work trucks stuck and loading up roughly 5,000 more plants and a generous assortment of spring vegetables for our first farmers market of the season. I always put off the little details like making the price signs and getting the cash boxes ready, and I’m left doing all of it late on Friday night. I’m about to finish up when I hear voices in the driveway. Confused, I peek out and see unfamiliar men standing around chatting to each other. Hans, my husband, pops in my office and says, “Our friends are here!”
Despite being scheduled to show up on Sunday, our three migrant workers we hired from Mexico, who only speak Spanish, had arrived. Their rooms weren’t ready, I had nothing to feed them and they’d been traveling nearly 30 hours by car. We ordered a few pizzas from Casey’s, apologized for being less than hospitable and went back home to toss and turn all night.
The alarm goes off at 4:15 a.m., and it’s time to go to market. It was chilly, but the sun shined, it didn’t rain and lots of people showed up. After dropping off some deliveries to stores, we quickly drove home and started setting up for our garden day event. For hours and hours, we tagged, arranged and watered thousands of plants until our feet and backs ached and we needed French fries and cheeseburgers like our lives depended on it.
Quick to bed, only to rise for the big event. Other vendors and farmers started rolling in, last-minute tasks crossed off our list and our migrant friends, excited to see the farm in action, were close by to watch. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and we had a great turnout. Kids made “seed babies” thanks to University of Illinois Extension. We had a bagel bar with ramp cream cheese, iced coffee and teas, baked goods, tulip bouquets, eggs, honey and even a drum circle.
Here it is May 6, and we made it through the chaos and work. The waters have receded, our new laborers are getting settled and things are returning to normal. As I look at the 10-day forecast, it seems like we’re all going to be busy with a bit more chaos and work though. Better keep the coffee pot on!