Friday, October 15, 2010

Put Yer Hoes Down

I grew up in almond country.  Not all-mond country, but am-mond country.

Each year during the almond harvest, my mother and my cousin’s mother would work on the almond huller for about 6 weeks.  Once school began, we would ride the bus to the farm and dairy and wait the 2 hours until she was off work.  This farm happened to be where Indians had lived centuries before.
  Waiting for mom was not boring at all.  We would hunt for arrowheads and obsidian.  Occasionally we would find Indian grinding bowls.
Grinding Whole Grains
  A creek ran through the farm where we could look under the rocks for hellgrammites, which were used for fishing bait.  Mr. Perez would sometimes let us milk a cow.
No, we were never bored!

That was 45 years ago.  The farm and dairy have been transformed into an organic farm called Full Belly.
For 23 years this farm has opened its gates for a farm festival extraordinaire.
The Hoes Down!  I’ve been a vendor at this festival for some 12 years or so.
When my children were small, I’d take them with me to the festival.  There were activities galore, not only for children but for adults as well.
Bobbing for Apples

We all looked forward to October. 
Carding Wool

Each year I attend I relate to my customers what this farm was like 45 years ago.  I point out where the huller was, where the milking barn was, where Mr. Perez lived with his family.
Circus Bella
I relate to them what we as children did and where we would go on the farm.  I relate how the walk from the highway almost killed me the first year I did the festival.  We unloaded the car and parked near the highway, and walked the same walk I did as a child.  I hadn’t realized how far it was from the huller. 
Hay Fort

Everything changes, but the Hoes Down Festival brings those pleasant childhood memories back to mind. Those were the days!

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