When some friends visited from out-of-town, the first thing they noticed upon stepping inside our house was that we’d rearranged the living room furniture.

“It’s because of the chairs,” I told them.

“We needed good chairs since we’re old and we farm for a living.”

See, we tend to hurt ourselves — our backs, in particular. John was in the habit of wrenching his back every winter, so I gave him the chair on the left as a Christmas present a couple years ago (how very romantic). These are Ekornes chairs, snazzy ergonomically correct recliners that, amazingly, really do help when one of us throws our back out of alignment.

[Note to anyone associated with the Ekornes organization: If you feel some sort compensation is warranted for this unsolicited endorsement, my mailing address is listed on our farm’s website.]

In our defense, Farmer John and I aren’t the only ones here who suffer aches and pains. Young Mary required a series of chiropractic treatments for her back earlier this year, and Dana used to regularly visit an acupuncturist because of a prior knee injury that didn’t get along well with the contortive nature of farm work.

Pricey chairs. Physical therapy. Alternative medical treatments. We utilize them all. As Dana so wisely phrased it: Injury is the mother of invention.

We try to pay attention to posture while we work, we really do. We spend an inordinate amount of time lately harvesting salad mixes, and figured out long ago that the squat-and-crawl method isn’t too terrible on one’s back.

The same can’t be said for our poor knees in this situation, yet there’s really no getting away from at least some kind of discomfort. We do make a point to stand up and stretch as we move down the row and, believe it or not, after going through this exercise week after week, we get almost accustomed to it.

More of a problem is bending from the waist. It’s a horrendous thing to do to yourself for any length of time. Trouble is, when faced with 200-foot rows of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower to harvest, there aren’t many options.

Sure, we could try the crouch-and-crawl method we use for salad mixes, but that would make the Brassica harvests take an awfully long time — and time isn’t something we have in abundance. So, being the primary broccoli and cauliflower picker at the farm, I bend.

And last fall, I paid the price. Or I should say my back paid it. Or really, I should say Farmer John and I paid for it — literally — when we purchased the second Ekornes chair, a slightly smaller model just for me.

Recently, John and I both hurt ourselves in the same week. He twisted his back by stepping off the tractor in a weird way; I tweaked mine while using this.

I felt the tug in the middle of my back the second I bent down to the faucet to measure out 1-1/2 cups. Ironically, John was convalescing in his Ekornes chair at that very moment.

I’d love to say mine was a farm injury too. It sounds so much more noble (and decidedly less ridiculous). Although technically, since our house is on the same land as the farm, and the incident occurred in the kitchen of the house on the farm…well, you see where I’m going.

It’s like when, in my 20’s, I broke two of my front teeth and told everyone it was a racquetball accident. I just failed to mention that it actually happened after one of my matches, when I stepped out of the racquetball court’s shower, slipped on the wet floor and landed on my mouth.

Details, details.

This only goes to further prove Dana’s statement that injury is indeed the mother of invention. Sometimes the “invention” is an ergonomically correct chair; sometimes it’s a story that slightly re-invents the truth.

Regardless of the cause of the injury, those Ekornes recliners are some darn fine chairs. I mean great chairs. Miracle chairs, really, when you get right down to it. [Hello, Ekornes? Just so you’ll know — you can make the check out to me personally, or to the farm. Either way is fine.]

* * *

While we await the second succession of broccoli — it’ll be here soon! — we have plenty of new items ready to bring to the farm stand this week. I promise we’ll be mindful of our backs as we harvest:

Head lettuces (Butterheads, Romaine, Red leaf and Crisp head), lettuce mix, Euro salad mix, bulk purple and golden beets (fresh-pulled, but the worms got the leaves darn it!), pink radishes, bunches of chard, Dinosaur kale, bunches of broccoli raab, bags of arugula, bulk Asian greens, Cubanelle peppers, zucchini, Zephyr squash, Nubia and Beatrice eggplant, butternut squash, kohlrabi, the first Farao cabbages, and fall tomatoes (we have a bit more than last week, but will never have as many as in the summer months so they’ll likely go quickly!).

Thanks!
Jo Dwyer
Angel Valley Organic Farm

Farm stands:

Saturdays 9:00-1:00 in Jonestown on FM 1431 at the blinking yellow light; and

Wednesdays 10:00-2:00 in NW Austin at the Asian American Center, 11713 Jollyville Road (1-1/2 blocks north of the intersection of Jollyville and Duval)

Advertisements