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day 10: beating clarkia into submission

September 14, 2010

Before you call your local police station, let me assure you that clarkia is a plant, not a person.

That being said, yesterday really was all about beating clarkia into submission.

The farm that I’m working at this week sells seeds native to this region of Montana. But they don’t just purchase the seeds online and resell them at the farmer’s market like some grower’s may be prone to doing; they actually grow the flowers and collect the seeds themselves.

Seed collecting sans machinery, I’ve learned, is a task that should go in the Repetitive Action Hall of Fame. Seriously. My job was as follows:

1. Lay out a thin layer of clarkia on a tarp.

2. Stomp the seeds out.

3. Collect seedless stems; brush seeds to the side to be sifted.

4. Repeat.

Over the course of the day I noticed that I developed a pattern for stomping the seeds out, a pattern that ended up taking on a dance-like quality. It went a little something like this:

Step 1: Stomp the Yard

Giving the row of dried clarkia a good stomp from the get-go helped to mash everything down and get the seeds moving and shaking. I stomped up and down the row once or twice before moving on to…

Step 2: Shuffle off to Buffalo

Shuffling the clarkia beneath my feet helped to spread out the now-flattened stems and prepared them for…

Step 3: Walking Heels

When I was an Irish Dancer we had a move called walking heels, where you roll your heels, toes, and balls of your feet as you walk forward in hard shoes. It’s kind of challenging to explain. I didn’t think it would come in handy outside of the dance world, but once again I’m learning that prior knowledge is helpful in a myriad of capacities. Doing a few rows of walking heels helped to separate the seeds from the stems, which made it easier to do the final separation in…

Step 4: Putting out the Cigarette

I’ve not had experience in this arena, but I’ve seen many a smoker extinguish their cigarette butt by twisting it out with the toes of their shoe. The final step was all about the twisting, making sure that the seeds had fully dislodged from the stems.

After the stems were separated with a pick and the seeds swept to the side, the dance began again.

After my bonding time with clarkia I went on a very disappointing run. Disappointing not in scenery, but in endurance. I’ll blame it on the fact that I haven’t run in a week and a half the elevation.

The scenery was definitely not disappointing in any capacity. I’ll let these shots taken at sunset speak for themselves.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2010 7:18 pm

    I’m thoroughly impressed. I think your clarkia-stomping skills make my parsley-bunching skills look pathetic.

    • September 15, 2010 7:08 pm

      You were totally holding out on me during parsley bunching story time, that’s what’s pathetic! Hosey?! The real story of the tree house?! Oh my word…so funny. I had a blast reading your blog last night! Great stories!!!


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