Return to Alemany Farm
December 9, 2007

Even when it's several months later and thirty degrees colder, a trip to Alemany Farm is still bewitching. This past weekend, Jen and I went back to roll around in the dirt and feel green winter things growing thick and hearty between our fingers.

Winter in San Francisco means silver slats of rain and slipcovers of fog, and after a earth-cracking dry summer, we've been having a nice spate of both lately. Runs on the beach have been damp with the sand wet-packed down to a shin-satisfying firmness, and the paths and trails devoid of all but the heartiest (read: craziest) of wave worshippers.

Winter in San Francisco also means being splashed with greens -- emerald, bottle, and forest. When other parts of the country are dead or white, this city feels as alive as spring. Alemany Farm, a bit more dry and sere in August, is fresh and juicy in December.

We figured that the recent deluges meant a muddy, sticky farm, but in the end, the damp just made our weeding easy. The dark soil was loose and flexible, and the unwanted malva (yes, we had the requisite Seinfeld discussion) and mustard yielded their hairy roots to our tugs and prods. There were a few times when we had to work a little harder to dig out the larger weeds, but when a ruddy thick root was finally pulled free and fully intact, our satisfaction was loud.

I'm not telling gardeners anything new when I say that weeding is very zen. I get the same contemplative feeling from cleaning up my kitchen; everything in its place. Everything neat and tidy.

By the end of the day, my muscles aren't sore and I didn't break a sweat, but that just makes me itch to go back sooner rather than later. This time, we didn't stick around for harvest. My reward was Jen's photos and the black line under my nails.

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