Dear Diary – a month in the life of an organic farmer

This article will take the form of unapologetic “Dear Diary”. Sometimes a writer is well advised to embrace the obvious in place of more sophisticated inspiration. Indeed, in place of it altogether. The following entries are mere highlights from the last month or so.

Dear Diary: I need new work pants and I think I’ll have to actually throw out the old ones. They are disintegrating. I really must throw out the very worst of them. In order to get new ones, I have to throw out the old ones. That’s final. What if the new ones aren’t comfortable? I wish they lasted forever.

They don’t.


Dear Diary: Why are the La Ratte Fingerling potatoes so spindly in the lab, and yet so verdant and high-yielding in the field? I hide the jars behind those containing the lush and perfect White Rose but I am certain the other seed potato growers are quietly sniggering behind their bigger tractors at the lame organic variety. They don’t know about how good they are in the field. They don’t show well in the lab. It’s an ego blow.


Dear Diary: Is it ok to shampoo the tractor engine? How about power washing it? Why am I asking you? Because I think everyone knows the answer but me? A fuel line failed and we finally realized what was happening but not before a muck of diesel and dust filled every nook under the hood. I have picked a lot of it out, and smeared a good amount of it in my skin and all over my clothes but a lot remains on the tractor and I want it clean. I smell like diesel fuel. Not sure it is adding to my general appeal.


Dear Diary: Today, spring is here I am in danger of becoming completely undone by the sun.

Dear Diary: I wonder if, by the time this entry appears on the Wellness Alamanc, the weather will have changed? I really, really hope so. Is this the beginning of another sweltering summer of over-heating? I prefer to enjoy that sort of blissful, relaxing awareness of the sun which is, by the way, drying out fields and warming me to my core, but instead I feel a clanging, jangling, sharply intuitive awareness that this is the beginning of another summer-long heat wave.

To be honest, and writing a diary for the Almanac I find compels honesty, I am not sure if I want to be a farmer in a hot climate. Our winters are cool enough, but it’s not like I sit around twiddling my thumbs the whole time. Apparently I am no longer building up, through rest and relaxation, the heat tolerance reserves. Issue alert: ageing.

Dear Diary: Sometimes when I work in the heat on the farm, I find I don’t really like my job. I dream of a new job inside a windowless air conditioned building. Emphasize windowless. Underline air-conditioning. I am not clear on what I would be doing exactly, at this work station. Perhaps I wouldn’t be picky.

Dear Diary (one week later): Today it was cold, windy, and a little bit rainy. I took a moment to roll my eyes at myself as I shivered and even grumbled my way through the chilly morning, dressed way too lightly for the conditions but unwilling to go find the wool hat lost last week in the mad search for wide brimmed hats.

Anna Helmer is happy to reveal her inner thoughts especially if it means she’ll make deadline.

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