planting leeks and staredowns with a fox

There is a young fox living at the farm. For weeks the family has talked about how adorable he is, and how seemingly fearless. Jealous of their interactions with the small daredevil, I failed to see him during my various walks around the farm. However, the other day I went to check on the Bretonne Pie Noir calves in the the barn and spotted a quick movement in the the stall on the other side of the building. Sure enough, two small beady eyes and a set of rust colored ears popped up and peered at me from across the barn. Since then, I have seen him nearly every time I return. In the coming weeks I will try and post a picture for up until this point the pictures I have taken have comprised mainly of a blurry bushy tail or a small fox-shaped figure running up the road in the distance. Each time I tried to take one in the barn the lighting wasn’t any good and the curious expression on his face simply blended in with the shadows.

This week the leek seedlings found a new home in the easternmost part of the vegetable field. In a coincidental turn of farm symmetry, I found myself perched upon the ancient creaking iron seat of some sort of planting mechanism. On the same weekend last year I was sitting on the same machine, only planting beet seedlings instead of leeks. Holding a handful of seedlings in our left hands, Fañch and I sat behind spinning rubber disks. As quickly as we could, while still maintaining some semblance of accuracy, we placed the seedlings between the two disks with the roots facing upwards. Then, as Julien pulled us in the tractor the disks spun forward, planting the seedling and burying it in a new row of dirt.

I remember doing this last summer and instantly loving the machine. At that time, I had watched the guys do the work, wishing I could give it a try but still feeling too shy to ask to partake. Eventually they asked if I wanted to try and I eargerly jumped in to help. Something about the simplicity of the machine and the way the heels of my boots nearly dragged in the earth below me as we rattled along caused me to instantly love the entire process.

This last week I found out I hadn’t gotten the job I thought I had but instead of feeling down about it I was secretly relieved. For even though my back ached a bit and my hands were covered in dirt, the leek planting was so much better than an afternoon on a boat with tourists could have been. The entire time I sat beside Fañch in front of those spinning disks I just kept thinking to myself, “I am so glad I am spending my Saturday doing this and not standing with a microphone in front of tourists and their flashing cameras while I scramble to remember which castle is which along the river’s shore”.

So here is to more seedlings, more creaking turns of the iron machine, and more dirt covered hands wrapped around a bundle of leeks.

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