Behind The Curtain 17 – Making Her Way On A Medicine Farm

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

“A farmer’s a farmer,” Lily said to no one in particular. Alone on her 15 acres, she looked out across the valley of rolling green hills, edged with redwoods. There was no trace of rain from the day before, only blue, clear skies and gloriously warm sun. “Thank you, sun, thank you sky, thank you soil.”

She chose this parcel for the south-facing gently sloping hillside, the tree-line of privacy above (protecting her from helicopters and poachers), but most of all, she landed here all those years ago for the beauty of it all.

In another month the babies raised in her greenhouse would go into the ground. Six varieties this year, three for bagging, three for other uses.

Five acres would be planted with friends, family and the occasional “wandering worker,” as she called them – folks who kept in touch and knew when to show up.

It was her 32nd year of being a “Pot Farmer,” as her family called her. “I’m a farmer,” she insisted. “Selling to dispensaries is a noble business. People need this medicine.”

Hell, she needed the meds too. An automobile accident years ago left her with a bad back, and subsequent chronic pain. “Take these,” the doctor said, handing her a sample of opiates. “Will I get addicted?” she asked.

“Do you want pain, or relief?” he replied, one hand on the doorknob.

“This was her only option?” she thought at the time.

She took the pills for about a month when a friend brought over a bag of pot.

“Isn’t that illegal?” she asked her friend, choking on the first hit.

“You want to be addicted to pain killers with no life to speak of?” her friend countered. “You’ve done nothing in days.”

That was a very long time ago. Her pain was under control, and she felt good about her work.

Last fall was tough, though, she had to admit. The price of the pound was dropping steadily, and she was now looking into making tinctures and salves for the new “emerging pot market.”

At this time in her life she was too tired to try new things, but she knew it was necessary if she wanted to keep this life she had in this beautiful place. “Times they are a changing,” she remembered Dylan singing. It was still true.

Lily walked the length of the field to be planted, with her dogs running beside her. The soil was loamy and good, if the rain would ease up and let Spring in, it would be a good year.

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