A caravan of 6 SCA branded trucks pulled away from the Boner House early one Monday morning in April; Northbound! To the mysterious land that lies beyond our familiar desert. As the hours and miles rolled by, the scenery flaunted its diversity in an almost shell-shocking display of snow dusted mountains, rolling green hills, farmlands, orchards and wildflowers. The city of Visalia has been described as “the heart of California’s agricultural San Joaquin Valley” and it was indeed for agriculture that the DRC crews had come.
For those who may not be aware– the DRC supplies our crews with some organic produce each hitch, provided by the local C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture). Normally we would make the quick stop to pick up our crate of fresh green goodies in Ridgecrest, but what made this April adventure especially interesting and inspiring was that we got to spend the day exploring and lending a hand on a few of the farms where our CSA foods come from.
Our first introduction was to a family run farm and a wonderfully scented patch of chamomile flowers; we soon set to work cutting and banding beautiful little bouquets. After the bunches of chamomile were harvested and piled into crates, we walked along the rows of veggies and greens tasting the leaf of the sour Sorrel (aka: the “organic war-head”) and observing different organic growing techniques. We ate lunch in the sun surrounded by all kinds of springtime blooms, California poppies and fragrant orange trees. Our next stop was to the nectarine orchard where we spent a few minutes helping employees by ‘thinning’ the overloaded trees. We then continued on to grape vines and chicken houses, and finally got to the CSA packing line. Fashioned in latex gloves and hair nets, we distributed ourselves along the rolling pack line, where we added different produce into the CSA boxes, everything having been picked and processed right from the farms that morning, including our bunches of chamomile. At the end of the day, we were able to take home our own CSA box to enjoy for the rest of hitch.
THE REST OF HITCH – we had a chance to represent the Desert Restoration Corps and SCA in 2 Earth Day outreach events, one at the Cerro Coso Community College and also at the Ridgecrest Navy Base. Back out in Jawbone, baby bunnies, new growth, short sleeves and sleeping under the stars served as reminders that the cold winter days are but fond memories behind us as we transition into the heat of the Mojave summer. The sun (also the topic of my EE) was shining down at us with her fiery smile, as we finished up our last incursions of the season! As a fun reward to completing our work, we Boners packed up and headed to the Owens Peak Wilderness area where we enjoyed a short but lovely hike in Short Canyon!
And so we near the end of the 2012 field work season,
but this is not goodbye,
the final All-Corps will be held in Jawbone!