Dunton Family Farm News

What's Happening Around the Farm as well as a Soapbox for head farmer, Mike Dunton

Therapy in a Pile of Peas

This is a time of year when every open square foot of covered space around the farm begins filling up with screens of various seed crops.  The old chicken coop becomes a drying house.  The shop, a drying house.  The barn where my office is located, a drying house.  Even my office fills up with seeds.  (Yes, I need to build a drying house!)

So this evening, after all the staff had gone home and suppertime was past, I headed back out to work.  As I was walking through the old barn on my way to the office, I passed a screen of blue-podded peas and started shelling them.  It is a new variety for us; our second year at increasing out our stock, so the screen was not very full.  That small quantity, which I quickly calculated would not be a great time commitment to complete, is what I suppose lured me to the task.

Now if any of my peers from other seed companies are reading this, and I am sure that they will, they are probably thinking, “That was a thorough waste of time.  After all, there is staff and machinery for that task.”  And yes, that is true.  But there is something deeply relaxing and therapeutic about performing jobs like shelling peas.

Most of my other duties require thinking.  When I am in the office, all of my business responsibilities require my undivided attention.  It is just the nature of the work and once your brain is engaged, it is hard to keep from thinking about work.  This is not unique to me, you can probably relate.  This is especially true if you live where you work.  Even when you are not physically in your office, you are at work.  And since you are at work, it is hard to shut that part of the brain off.

(Next time you are at your job having a bad day and thinking how cool it would be to own your own farm-based business, remember my anecdote above.  Still don’t believe me?  Move into the office for a week.  If you hate it, don’t quit your day job.)

So, on occasion, I find those somewhat menial tasks to be awesome.  Driving tractor and working the soil.  Potting seedlings in the early spring.  Tilling or hoeing weeds in the summer.  Garden cleanup and compost pile building in the fall.  And yep, shelling a pile of peas.

Even if only for a short time, gone are the thoughts of meetings, appointments, tasks that need to be completed, etc.  My mind is allowed to wander; to be free.  I think about friends I have not talked to in a long while and need to call.  Reminisce about when the kids were little and how their children are so similar and different.  Daydream about lofty goals like building a tree house.  And then realize that I am not as stressed as I was before tackling the peas.

So if you end up deciding to grow a small patch of these cool, blue-podded peas in your garden next spring, as you are planting them and enjoying your gardening therapy session, you can remember mine.

posted by Mike in Farm News and have No Comments

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