Monday, March 21, 2011

Arrival of Spring (and me) at Brightwood Farm

Yesterday, I drove up to my home away from home for the next eight months. Coincidentally, it was also the Vernal Equinox. And I think it's safe to say that in Brightwood, Virginia, spring has truly sprung.

My road trip here was nice and leisurely. The first leg wasn't very eventful - I stayed the night in Berkley, West Virginia, not too far from where I went on disaster relief with AmeriCorps NCCC in 2009.*

In the morning, I took a look in the nearby tourist trap, the Tamarack, which is a big building full of "authentic West Virginia-made items". It had more than its fair share of kitsch, as well as one of the more passive-aggressive signs I've seen for a while.

For the rest of West Virginia, I drove two-lane highways and played Country Roads, Take Me Home and Wagon Wheel on repeat. As an acquaintance told me, "I'm pretty sure it's West Virginia state law that Country Roads be played at least once an hour." I did my best to comply.

Also went for a short hike at a state park, saw the tunnel where John Henry beat the drill machine and collapsed, and stopped at at least three overlooks.

The only part about my day that was better than the road trip was actually arriving at the farm. Susan and Dean put me to work immediately, helping Susan and Isaac - a WWOOF-er here for the week - to plant swiss chard and two types of beets, as you can see below. Then we demolished a pile of sticks with a wood chipper.

I really think this is the best farm I could have picked. Susan and Dean are gracious, conversational, and seem to be fabulous teachers. Brightwood Farm is incredibly diversified - animal husbandry, vegetable/berry/grape production, wine and jam making... and despite being in the middle of the backwaters of Virginia, the farm always seems filled to bursting with WWOOF-ers, visitors, and part-time workers. I am so looking forward to this year.

Tomorrow (hopefully), hear the tale of the little lettuce that could.

*And I learned that Welch, WV is the site of the first municipally owned and operated parking garage. Who knew?

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