I woke up extra early today in order to pack up my belongings. We agreed that I would be taking off with Randy around 8:30 am, so I made sure that I was prepared early enough to be able to spend some time with Kevin in the morning. He caught me waiting for him in the lounge, my face in a book, and invited me in to his home for a cup of coffee. We looked at maps together so I could figure out just where exactly I was going. I knew Randy had two properties with one being in Santa Barbara and I was hoping that I would end up at that one.
Randy showed up on schedule and made some jokes to Kevin that I didn’t quite understand. We bungee corded my backpack to the open cab of his farm truck and said our goodbyes. Kevin gave me a hug and extended his welcome to the ranch. As I was coming to terms with the departure, I was also coming to terms with the fact that I might lose my only physical belongings on the side of highway 101.
At Randy’s place, I would actually be farming, but I was leaving what he called “the kindest man in Santa Barbara.”
Randy asked me a ton of questions to break the silence, many about my skills, which were mostly manual labor, and more about my experience in farming, which was none. I was developing a bit of anxiety, being faced with the man who supposedly started the farmer’s market in this area and having nothing much to offer him.
The farm was about 40 minutes away and once we got there, I was to unpack my gear and start working immediately. I was concerned about not having had breakfast, but made no mention of it. The farm house hadn’t been inhabited for some time, so we had to clear the drain, fix the leak in the sink, vacuum the interior and physically move the outhouse to a different hole. When he asked me if I knew how to pick fruit, or ride an ATV, or really anything, I had to say no. His tutorials were brief and concise and sometimes I wanted to alert him to the fact that he was dealing with a rank novice despite how obvious this all seemed to him in his four decades of experience.
He would occasionally ask me “You went to college, right?” The way he speaks though, I couldn’t tell when he was joking or jabbing. I evaded skillfully regardless. Despite some stumbles and a steep learning curve for me, the work was accomplished.
We went in to one of the three adjacent towns to pick up some groceries and before I knew it, I was alone here. He asked me if I would be lonely, but I told him no.
I was determined to make the best out of it.