With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chapter Thirty-Nine: BBAAers

“Baa?” asked Dan.

“BBAA,” corrected Luna.  “Building Better Alternative Agriculture.  It’s called BBAAing and the folks who do it are called BBAAers.”

“And we’re talking about BBAAers, why?”

“Because these are folks that are really interested in helping out on farms like this.  I think we can get a lot of folks who’d be happy to live in tents all summer and work on growing vegetables and even work the stands or help out in the kitchens.  It’s just what we’re going to need during our busy season.”

“So I can see why you’d be interested in getting some of these folks but what do they get out of it?”

Luna sighed.  “These folks just want to help. They’re really interested in alternative agriculture and want to learn more about it.  Honestly, they don’t usually have a lot of skills but most of them have a lot of willingness.  And some of them come from all around the world.  They also do it to travel.”

“I guess that makes us an exotic locale.”

“To someone from Europe or Asia or Africa or even Australia, it does.  And these BBAAers come from around the world.”

“So when do we start seeing these folks?”

“Very soon, actually.  I put in the applications a while ago and we may be seeing some of the first arrivals later this week.”

“And you think they’ll be happy living out on the land in tents?”

“Yeah, I hear that’s what lots of them do in lots of different places.  You’ll see.  It’s an adventure for them.”

“I guess it takes all kinds.”

“Aww, c’mon.  I think this will be a great experience for them and for us.  You’ve just got to think positively about it.”

“Yeah, I’d like to but after all the strange folks we’ve gotten, like Stan and Barbara and Edgar, I don’t know what to think.”

“Hey, Edgar turned out to be really helpful.”

“Yeah, but he wasn’t what we thought he was at all.  And who knows who all these new folks will turn out to be.”

“I think you’ve got to stay hopeful.  Now that Peter and George and Fred are on the case, I don’t think the Reagons will try anything for a while.”

“Yeah, but just because they’re not working for the Reagons doesn’t mean they’re going to be good workers.  Stan had nothing to do with the Reagons but I’d hate to see several more folks like him.”

“Okay, okay.  But think about all the good folks we’ve gotten working here.  Darren and Chuck and Ken and Grace and Will have all worked out fine.  And I didn’t even know you when I invited you to be part of the farm.”

“Yeah and look what you’ve got.  A cranky guy who rains on all your plans.”

“Not all of them.  And don’t talk about rain, please.  We’ve had a couple of nice days recently.  I don’t want to see all the rain returning.”

“I’m just worried about having lots of new people, that’s all.”

“We’ll just have to see what we get.  I’m sure it’s all going to turn out just fine,” Luna said.

“BBAA,” said Dan.


The first BBAAer arrived a couple of days later.

Patsy Calla was from a town north of Banff.  She was a good natured young woman with short ginger hair and strong hands.  She said she’d spent many summers farming at her cousin’s ranch near Medicine Hat.

“I know lots about growing canola, if that’s helpful,” she said to Viv.  She also laughed at the dress Chuck was wearing.  “It looks lovely, dear,” she said, “but are you sure you want to wear a dress while you’re farming.”

“Hey,” Chuck said, “works for me.”

“Okay,” Patsy said, “but the last time I wore a dress was when I was twelve.”

The next BBAAer to show up was Paul G who claimed he knew all about farming because he came from “Cowboy Culture”, deep in the southwestern desert.  Then it turned out most of what he knew was from working in a grocery store.

“Three years at a WaySafe in the southern Rockies,” Paul G finally admitted.  “I managed the produce.”

“Perfect,” Sal said.  “We can use you at our produce stand.”

Blue Sky was next and also ended up working at the produce stand.  Having two new workers delighted Dan and Sal to no end.

“Okay,” Dan said as he took the final piece of fennel out of his hair.  “Now Sal and I can focus on doing maintenance and repairs.”

Wahina and Birch arrived a day later.  They were mother and son and totally up for farm work.

“We’ve been working in the fields together since Birch was five,” Wahina said.

“It’s been us against the weeds,” Birch said.  “We got each other’s back.”

“This is great,” Luna said after she introduced them to Viv and Chuck and Patsy.  “We’re going to have quite the farm team this year.”

Two days after that, another BBAAer showed up--Broc, a stocky, solid South American man who had farmed all his life.  He also got assigned to the farm team.

“Give me land and water and I will grow you food,” he said.  “There is nothing better.”

After Broc arrived the influx of interns seemed to have slowed and stopped, at least for the rest of the month.

The back field at the commune was now dotted with tents and the BBAAers were all ready to get working.

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