Heat, Swimming, and Coffee

I don’t know what your routine is in the heat of the summer, but we try to find balance between work and rest.

This isn’t an easy task. We could easily find work from 6 am to dark every day. If I did so for more than a week, I’m sure you’d find me dead in a ditch somewhere – deceased due to a combination of exhaustion, dehydration, and heart failure.

But we do find little summer rituals to break the heat.

kids at beachI’ve been a coffee break person for a long time. It started when I was an apprentice at Foxtail Farm. There we’d break midmorning about 10:30 and eat graham crackers and peanut butter in the barn with strong coffee – I was on coffee break when I heard about the twin towers on 9/11. The daily ritual let our bodies reset in mid summer and the caffeine charged us enough to actually get anything done in the fall. Farm motivation typically falls as the season progresses. At Lida Farm, coffee break is somewhere between 2-3 pm. Strong coffee always, sometimes graham crackers, sometimes we sit on the kitchen deck if the sun isn’t too strong.

Another pastime about 3-4 days a week is the end-of-day swim. This is usually precipitated by my son, Graham, who will ask you about every 20 minutes to go swimming. We really have no excuse not to – the beach on Lake Crystal is a 3 minute drive from our house. Lately, however, we’ve been frequenting the Vergas City Beach. There’s a dock to jump off of and it’s a fun community of all the people who are visiting and residents too poor to have their own cabin. Fargo day-trippers, my fellow farming neighbors, and neighbors from Pelican all mingle at the Vergas Beach.

Yesterday we burned over there at 7 pm after 3 hours of mulching. Covered in alfalfa and chaffy dirt caked with sweat, I hurled myself off the dock at full speed, jumping over the head of Gustavo’s kids from Pelican. That’s about all I needed. I resurfaced, floated on my back about 3 minutes, and then sat down with a gin and tonic I mixed in the back seat of our car. Sitting on the bench in the pavilion, drink in hand, George Harrison’s ‘What is Life’ played on my phone. All was right in the world.

In the box:

  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Snap Peas
  • Kale 
  • Red and Green Lettuce: These are not as pretty as I’d like since we had some minor hail and pounding rains of last week.
  • Cucumbers
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Tropea Torpedo Spring Onion

Again, the oddball in my mind is the Napa – check out the video below:


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