Simple Pleasures at Good Times Farm
A blister formed on the palm of my hand, between my forefinger and my thumb. I always thought I had tough hands. I mean, I’m supposed to be a professional rock climber and my hands are supposed to be like leather right? But not this part, not at all. This part’s soft and tender, and my back is starting to ache a little too. Man, I thought I was tougher than this. What the hell?
Editor's note: Patagonia rock climbing ambassador Sonnie Trotter sows the seeds for a lovely weekend with this sweet story about getting dirty on the farm. [All photos by Sonnie Trotter]
I stuck my shovel in a mound of dirt and looked around for my girlfriend Lydia. I knew she had a bottle of water stashed around here somewhere. It’s mid September but the sun is high in the sky and still very hot. The earth is cool beneath my feet; it was Sarah’s idea to remove our shoes and dig our toes into the soil. I lost track of time a few hours ago but I think we arrived about 10am, late for farming standards. At this point, I’ve completely sweat out all remaining caffeine and started fueling myself with wild apples found on a nearby tree.
It’s Sept 21st, the first day of fall, a celebration of sorts. We’re at Good Times Farms, a tiny organic food grow-op located just 30 minutes up the Squamish Valley Road and situated at the base of the Tantalus Mountain Range. The owners and operators are brothers: Nick and Stefan Butler. Our group is here volunteering our day on behalf of The Yoga Studio in Squamish, to help raise money for their latest installment of garlic rows. It feels so good to do something for nothing.
In all there are eight of us: three yoga teachers, Lydia Zamorano, Sarah Jones and Erin Urton, me and my friend Scott Everett, Katheryn Wheiler and the Good Times bros. We worked hard, but it was a great way to catch up with each other too. Scott and I talked about alpine climbing while each doing a row side by side. Later I conversed with Nick and Stefan about their plans to grow the business, to network with other farmers and their dreams to create a richer community of people who care about what they eat and how they live. It was one of the most joyous and beautiful days I’ve had all summer. Relaxing, simple, carefree. Of course my back wasn’t exactly happy, and I’ve got blisters to remind me of the long hours. But more importantly, I was inspired by a few good people, doing great things, no matter how big or small.
We were only gone for six or seven hours, but on our way back into Squamish, I was still shocked by all the cars, concrete and plastic. Everything is changing at a rate I can’t seem to maintain, and don’t even want to. One of my main objectives in life is to keep it as simple as I possibly can. Of course, this is an everyday challenge for all of us. Do we really need an iPod? A cell phone? A computer? A flat-screen TV? We make these decisions all the time, no matter how big or how small, we try to keep going with the social pressures of the world but deep down I think we’d rather back off completely. Most of these plastic gadgets just end up using more electricity, and then we cry and complain when they want to build a hydro project on our favorite river. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Our demand for useless gadgetry is multiplying every year, therefore we need more power, and power comes at an expensive price. My day on the farm was a very quick reminder of how far we’ve stepped away from the rich simplicity of the earth. I know I can do better.
Out there in the Squamish Valley, there is no need to check your watch and the scenery is like chocolate for your eyes: breathtaking in every direction, peaks and glaciers, fresh mountain air and rich soil under foot. It was so simple and relaxing. I can’t wait to go back, grab the shovel and toughen up.