Thursday April 26th, 2012

The exercise:

The subject for today is: the program.

It was remarkably rainy here today. Well, it would have been pretty average for a spring day in Vancouver, but it's not the least bit usual to get this sort of sustained downpour in Osoyoos. Thankfully the sun is scheduled to return tomorrow.


Last year on the farm, we began selling locally through our website for the first time. We updated the produce list every week and people could order what and when they chose, no minimum requirements, no commitment necessary.

It worked fairly well, but the week to week business was pretty inconsistent. And utterly unpredictable.

This year Kat and I wanted to expand things a bit and get a more reliable source of income, so we're starting up a box program, or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

The basic idea, in case you're not familiar with this, is that customers sign up at the beginning of the growing season to get their groceries for the duration of the season. Each week they receive a selection of produce based on what we have available, with allowances for opting out of anything they really don't want.

For us it's nice because it means money up front at a time of year when cash is hard to come by, and we know that a certain portion of what we grow has a destination of eager bellies. We're accepting a limited number of customers this year to make sure we don't get completely over our heads and then moving forward we'll have a better idea of how many people we should be able to supply.

We're still offering the week to week option for those that prefer it, but we're hoping to switch at least a few of our customers from last year over to this new system. In fact, we sent out an email today to our mailing list to give them first shot at signing up (we'll be putting up posters around town next week to fill in the remaining slots).

We were both extremely pleased and surprised when less than two hours after I clicked Send we had our first signup.

Hopefully that proves to be a sign of things to come.


Greg said...

It's been very rainy here in the UK too. In fact, the current joke is that this is the wettest drought we've ever seen....
So, I can sign up and you'll post me a box of veggies? That sounds like it could be a bargain :) On a more serious note though, the CSA program is a great idea, and I can't imagine you'll have any trouble filling up all your slots for this. It's going to be a busier year, isn't it?

The program
"I wonder if I could just show you the council's planned program of events...?" The pretty little woman who'd appeared out of nowhere on the street and stood in front of me held out a leaflet.
"Uh?" I'm not at my most responsive before my fourth cup of coffee, and I'd not yet managed to get my first. In fact, she was stood between and the coffee-shop.
"The council's program of events. I'd like to show it to you."
I looked at the piece of paper – there was some writing on it, and a picture near the top, but I ignored all of that.
"Pretty," I said, going for something innocuous.
"Do you agree?"
"Yes," I said, "Absolutely. Mind out of the way please!"
I half-registered the look of shock on her face as I shouldered past her, and as I got to the queue, I realised that she'd pushed her leaflet into my pocket. I gave my order to the barrista, and pulled the leaflet out, intending to scan it and bin it.
"Program for the re-introduction of public hangings and floggings" read the headline. Well, that explained the look of shock at least.
But since the program had been my idea to begin with, I could hardly complain.

writebite said...

The Program

We set off for the theatre. Today's program was a matinee, a live show followed by ice cream and a photo signing with the stars.
Elmo was coming to town with his entourage from a famous fake street in a real city across the globe.
The theatre filled up with mums, a few dads and loads and loads of screaming babies ranging from one year to four.
The show began with the signature tune, followed by some new numbers telling the story of Elmo's imaginary travels over the world, starting in Canada and ending Downunder. The kids were enthralled with all the singing and dancing by their hero in red. To think he was real! they thought.
Towards the end, the audience had quietened down. The reason - only babies could fall asleep through all that din.

shad said...

my little brother watches sesame street almost every day. Infact i can name name most of the characters, theres elmo, big bird,ernee,birt,telee,baby bear, the count, slimy and i think you get the pount.somtimes i dreem about sesame street. alot of the time im a new pupet and my only friend is a pupet that is always being teesed and left out, which cinda relates to me because my so called friends dont care if i walk away not one of them will folow me and ask were im going.

Cathryn Leigh said...

The Program

As the school year comes to a close, the Spring Recital draws near. Those she hasn’t been with the calls for half the year my little girl is going to participate. She’s excited, she’s been asking about it, and now her costumes are paid for. The program is all set; filled with hits from Broadway. And as a bonus, I’m going to perform too. Me and a few other Zumba Mommies are going to show our stuff and dance a number.

Am I excited?

Most definitely.

The last time I performed on stage was when I was my daughter’s age. I’ve been on stage a little more recently, but I was an extra, standing in the back muttering ‘peas and carrots’ in an effort to look like I was conversing with my fellow extras. This time I’m going to be up there, doing something, on a community college stage.

I’ll survive. Better yet, I know I will have fun and my hubby will get to see what I do three times a week. Speaking of which. My Zumba class is right around the corner. Got to go!

True story :}

Krystin Scott said...

A box program, What a good idea.
Good thing that you have options!
You took into account large families, veggies only and even allergies. I hope it works out well for you.


“Cleo, Ashley, Is it time?” Darcie called from the kitchen.

“Almost! Looks like you’ve got about three minutes. Throw the pizza in the oven and come sit down!“

With a slam of the oven door Darcie races into the patio and sits behind the camera.

“Ready Ash? In Three, Two, One.”

Cleo points her finger at Ashley, indicating to her two companions that they are live and on the air.

“Good Morning! I’m Ashley Stewart and thanks for watching Trash to Treasure. Today we will be making a vertical garden using repurposed pallets.”

Ashley steps to the left and the supplies for the day’s activity come into view.

“As you can see here on these saw horses, I have an old sod pallet.”
Slapping her hand upon the pallet Ashley smiles and looks back into the camera.

“To ready the pallet for planting I’m going to have Cleo assist in stretching some garden cloth across this side of the pallet and then she’s going to staple it in place using this staple gun.”

Ashley raises the staple gun and smiles again as Cleo walks on scene carrying a bolt of landscape fabric.

The camera zooms in for a closer look at the pallet.

“Remember to cover both the top and bottom of the pallet with the landscape cloth to prevent any dirt from escaping. Once the garden cloth is firmly in place you may wish to cover it with a second layer. This will strengthen the unboarded areas of the pallet and compensate for the weight of the soil.”

While Ashley is speaking she points to the top of the pallet while Cleo follows the instructions that her fingers give embedding staple after staple into the wood.

“Be sure to staple every four to five inches to prevent your soil from seeping out of unsecured sections during watering. You’ll also want to staple along each board to prevent the soil from running down the back of the pallet and clumping near the bottom.”

Cleo continues stapling the landscape cloth to the pallet as Ashley addresses the audience. “Cleo and I are going to finish up here, Thanks’ for watching the first segment of “Trash to Treasure” We will return after these messages from Prana Farms.”

Iron Bess said...

@Marc - good on you. My sister in law just told me that she is volunteering at a food bank which is all about healthy living so they buy local. That might be something you can look into.
@Greg - you threw me with "Mind out of the way" is that an English saying or a type-o? Some days I agree with bringing back public floggings.
@writebite - your show sounds a million times worse than mine. lol
@Cathryn - good on you.
@Krystin - ha, I thought you were going to have her staple herself to the pallet.

The Program

Caterwauling? Screeching? Yowling? I just can’t seem to find the correct words to describe the scene taking place in front of me. What is worse is that people pay money, good money, to come and listen to this hogswallup.

I look at the program in my hand and try to make some sense of it. God! How much more time do I have to sit here and endure this?
My date comes to my rescue with an indulgent smile and a helpful point at where we are in the opera. OMG we aren’t even through the first half. Some fat chick on the stage is shrieking at a fat old dude in ugly makeup about something he has just done. It’s not even in English for crying out loud. I have a hard enough time sitting still even when I am watching something I really, really like there is no way I will be able to sit through this.

Wait a minute. I feel around in my purse. Ah there you are you life saving piece of electronics. I pull my Kindle out and promptly stick it between the pages of my program and turn it on. So much better. Have book, will travel. Thankfully I grew up in a house of seven and can read through almost anything.

Anonymous said...

Marc- Congratulations!

This started out as a short little nothing and developed beyond short. I'm guessing it will take 2-3 posts to fit it here. Sorry!


The gates had deteriorated since my last visit. One hung at an odd angle, as if the hand of God had attempted to push it over. I tried to remember them as they had been when I walked through them as a child, but I couldn’t see past the stones over grown with moss and rust that covered the tall, slender bars. A deep sigh filled the space. I turned to see who was behind me, but it was only the wind squeezing through the broken out windows of the naked barn. I remembered it being bright red with white trim. Turning back to the gates, I pulled my coat tighter around me and walked between the gates, my eyes straight ahead.
It was a different world on this side of the gate. The wild grass was replaced with worn paths, metal stakes, and small canopies protecting the ancient men and women who sat beneath them selling their equally ancient wares. I wondered toward the knot of people and stuff, avoiding eye contact and conversation. Two women stood at a table stroking an old metal picture frame, memories filling the otherwise empty middle. Further down, an old man rocked in a chair, his eyes closed and his mouth open. The few people around were caught up in a past I couldn’t understand or lost in a present I clung to.
I hated the flea market. I wouldn’t have come if I could have found anything in the modern world that would appease him. He belonged here amongst the reminiscers, junk, and the practical mummies that sold them. I couldn’t fathom what magic I had ever found in this place, why I begged and pleaded to come with him on the third Sunday of every month. I shuddered at the vision of my child-self walking through the stalls and trailing my hands over the disgusting pieces of unwanted things.

Anonymous said...


“Wha-cha looking for Miss?” I jumped and turned to face the man that had been sleeping in the chair. Up close, he seemed frailer than he had in the chair.

“I… I …. Ummm… I…”

He wiped his watering eye and pointed a shaking finger at my chest. Half of his mouth opened in what appeared to be a smile while the other side stayed close. It reminded me of when my father spoke with a pipe in his mouth. His thin voice broke through my thoughts. “I remember you. You used ta’ come here wish yourgrand fad’r. You was da only lid’l girl who liked ta’ here our stories. My wife lov’d ya. She always looked forward ta’ you comin’. She always made sure to have some cookies baked doze Sata’days.”

I stood and stared at him, trying to find he and his wife in my memories. I thought I saw them, a woman with chocolate chip cookies and marvelous stories waved at the peripheral of my memories. My heart skipped a beat and I felt myself leaning forward to be closer to the wisp of a person that stood before me. “I’m actually here looking for a gift for my grandfather. He’ll turn 100 in a couple of days. I was hoping to find something that he would understand and appreciate. Maybe you could help me?”

He turned and walked back to his chair, his feet shuffling slowly through the dirt path. He settled down. I wasn’t sure if he had heard me or if the short trip had exhausted him. He reached into a small box next to his chair. “You’ grand fad’r is a great man. We had many talks while you sat wish ma’ beautiful Betty. A great man.”

He sat up straight, a small pack of what looked to be loose papers tied together with a piece of string rested in his hands, which lay loose in his lap. “Take deese. Dare’s no cost. It’s a thank you to him. He is a great, great man.”

I picked up the sheath of papers, thanked him warmly, and left a $20 in his change jar. Sitting on the bus a half an hour later, I began flipping through the papers. Most of them were worthless. Or so it seemed to me. One held my attention. My grandfather’s name was written in small, tight letters at the top of the program for Purple Heart recipients.

Marc said...

Greg - yes, I'd say it's going to be a busier year :)

Haha, love the 'Uh?'. And some days I'd be all for those re-introductions.

Writebite - that sounds like a whole lot of fun, actually :)

Shad - that's a story I'm sure a lot of us can relate to. And you never know, they might care about you more than you think - us humans aren't always so good about expressing these things.

Cathryn - that sounds like a blast! Good luck and have fun :)

Krystin - yeah, we're trying to be flexible about it. We'll see how it goes, but we're feeling pretty optimistic :)

I think vertical garden ideas like that are very cool - sign me up as a sponsor!

Iron Bess - the food bank in Penticton actually comes around at the end of most markets looking for donations of leftover produce. We always try to give them anything that we won't be able to make use of ourselves.

Ah, books - the great escape. And a Kindle would be so much easier to sneak around than a fat paperback too!

Anon - thanks!

And never apologize for writing a lot ;)

And certainly don't apologize for that! Wonderfully vivid scene with a great character, and a neat little story. Really enjoyed that.