On hard conversations, confrontation, and the craving for quiet.

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I have been thirsty for silence. Silence like seltzer from a just-cracked can, the fizz stinging the tongue on its way towards the long glug. Like a steaming shower on jittery limbs. Like when you’ve just gotten out of the ocean with tentacled hair clinging to pink shoulders, and you reach for a sun-squashed, sand-battered plastic water bottle, and the warm water tastes syrupy-sweet, and you realize that water has had flavor this whole time. Thirsty.

Farming is a great job for auditory learners and lovers of podcasts and audiobooks. You weed, or prune apple trees, or crouch and bend…


On growing tomatoes and the insidiousness of work culture

A photo of a tomato plant growing next to a mesh fence, with mostly plump green tomatoes, a few reddening in the middle
A photo of a tomato plant growing next to a mesh fence, with mostly plump green tomatoes, a few reddening in the middle
Photo: Leah Pellegrini

If this were any other year, there’s so much I’d want to show you and tell you about. About the first roasted tomatoes of the season, bubbling under their blistered skins, devoured three days in a row for lunch or dinner because why would anyone ever eat anything else? About the pillow-soft figs, how the cracked and too-tender ones are the sweetest. About the sunset that drenched the sky in the same aching amber as the ripening peaches.

I’m two months in to my fourth annual stay at Myrtle Glen Farm in southern Oregon, and this time, my girlfriend Lauren…


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The only sound is the snickering of candles we’ve arranged on the edge of the sink and the closed toilet seat, their flames flickering gold on our forehead sweat. Is the occasional swoosh of the shallow water that we swirl with our bath-puckered hands, just to sense movement. Is the steady tide of lungs, inhaling and exhaling the thick steam and incense smoke. It’s as if we’re cocooned in this small apartment bathroom and in the smooth edges of its bathtub, smaller still. …


Finding meaning in the spaces between

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Photo: Dina Issam/EyeEm/Getty Images

GAP, noun \’gap\ :

(1) a difference, especially an undesirable one, between two views or situations

(2) an incomplete or deficient area

(3) an assailable position

Katie Ledecky carves water into shards as the construction men shatter the street outside our house, hunting for the source of the leak. The excavator’s teeth gnash asphalt while our dirty dinner dishes languish in piles in the sink since we’re forbidden from turning on the faucets while they toy with the pipes.

With our surrounding ground rumbling, crumbling, and caving in, our family tree is temporarily replanted. We spread our warped branches across…


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It began as jumbled mumbling before it crescendoed to a regular, raucous chorus in the background music of my mind: Write more. You must return to writing. You are a writer, and a writer must write.

The same day I moved into my tiny (more like teeny) home in Santa Barbara in October, after three weeks spent dragging myself between different cheap motels and inns and Airbnbs every other day in just about every neighborhood and neighboring town while I searched for an affordable long-term housing option that was not, you know, a children’s playhouse in a random family’s…


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We clink through the glass mason jars on the shadowy shelf in the cellar, squinting to read the Sharpie labels in the dark, and select an intriguing pint of pickles, prepared and preserved from last summer’s cucumbers we weren’t here to witness being grown. The stems of dill wriggle in the dusky brine like jellyfish tentacles. …


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I know that it’s not permanent. I know that there are way worse injuries than broken ankles, and that even broken ankles are often way worse than mine. I know this. People break bones all the time. Children break bones all the time. But maybe it’s easier for children. They get neon casts for the other kids to sign. …


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One of the pigs went into labor within the first hour of my arrival at my latest farmstay in Tennessee, which belongs to a married couple (husband J and wife W) with two sons and two daughters between the ages of three and eight. The sow laid on her side, panting, while we watched from outside the fence.

A tiny, speckled piglet slipped out and wriggled blindly in the hay, and then another. I squirmed and squealed, just like the pink-eared baby animals. This was delight. This was wonder. …


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You don’t want to plant tomatoes on the same plot two years in a row. They’re heavy feeders, which means they deplete the dirt of nutrients particularly voraciously. (The dirt has to recover.) You also don’t want to plant tomatoes where you last grew potatoes — the beetles and worms left behind by the tubers will quickly reemerge in the spring and sink their teeth into the fragile leaves.

There’s a complex science to crop rotation, and different farmers disagree about particular practices. Some prefer to till their soil, turning it over before each season’s planting to break up the…


Hi,

I’ve never been one of those people who know instinctively what to do with their life. I’ve gone through phrases where I want to study x after high school, or pursue a career in y, etc — but that’s all they’ve been — extremely varied phases. Coupled with the fact that where I live, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a job (in most areas) without having to move interstate/overseas, therefore the “smart” option is to study something with good job opportunities regardless of whether you like it or not. …

Leah Pellegrini

Writer, farmer, etc. Head in the stars, toes in the soil. (Words mostly on Instagram @leahcpell and at www.thecorestories.com.)

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