Harvest Season in Northern California

It was harvest season in Northern California and I'd be spending a couple months in the thick of it, surrounding myself with marijuana until I'd had enough. I'd hitched across the country for it all, getting to my friend's house at the very end of August where I was to be the "guard dog", watching over the modest garden through the night keeping an eye out for anyone who may want to hop the fence and rip them off.

Besides keeping an eye out, I tended to the plants with small tasks like watering, fertilizing and checking for pests - just whatever needed doing. Days were simple and repetitive, starting sometime around noon and ending when the sun started coming up on the next day.

I got away from the house from time to time - darts and pool with friends, chasing a girl who had only boredom based interests in me, but mostly I was in the garden or in front of a computer. In mid October the time came for me to move up to Humboldt County to begin trimming with different friends. The night before I left I brewed a couple batches of beer with a group of friends, wandering around late night delirious from an overpowered brownie.

My friend wanted me to stay behind an extra day or two, but I had to get things started up in Humboldt, I think this turned her off a bit as she seemed a bit detached from then on. Either way, I hitchhiked to Humboldt in three rides, ending with a gypsy girl heading for the coast. I stayed with my friends there, a married couple I'd helped out the past two years. Along with them was there big character of a dog and a few others helping out.

A solid week or so it was the same thing, wake up and trim pot, as much as we could. It was a beautiful house with a great view, some mornings I'd spend out on the deck in the sunlight while I clipped away, bud after bud thrown in the bag with thoughts of plane tickets to far away lands.

There was a lull for a day or so where there was nothing dry to trim. They had a friend who needed help, a few of us went down to the town to meet him. It turned out this next place was pretty far away into the hills, the other two bailed out, but I went along with it. Molly and Kirby were in the general area, I gave them a shout and told them to make their way to town and get in on the whole thing. I got a ride a couple hours away from town and up into the hills, through a gate and further down bumpy dirt roads until finally reaching the spot I'd be staying a little while.

It was a yurt, which is like a huge permanent tent of sorts, up on a hill overlooking dozens of acres of more hills. Branches were piled up on the floors and a group of people was already in there chopping buds off the stem, preparing them to be put through a big trimmer machine with lawnmower style blades. I got to it with the group of.

Late that night Molly and Kirby came through the door looking a bit exhausted, it'd been a cluster fuck of a day for them trying to make their way up. They were with another wave of people, people with frustration masked by delirium.

For a week we toiled in the never ending piles of branches coming through the door, off loaded from trucks and mostly soaking wet from the rain. There was so much pot to deal with, some of it moldy and only getting worse soaked at the bottom of the piles. I barely slept, being that we were getting paid by the hour I was staying up for 30 hours and more at a time with hour naps in between.

I went mad a number of times, lost in chaotic thoughts unable to distinguish reality from fantasy, past from present. All of this was in my head though, my body maintained the mechanical function of clipping scissors, clipping scissors, clipping, clipping away.

Halloween came, an excuse to leave the place for a time. The bulk of us took the long car ride down to town, in fact everybody except Molly and Kirby. They'd asked the guy in charge to get paid out, but he had no cash at the time, they figured they'd stay and get some more hours in until he did.

It was good to get away, I did some laundry in town with a couple others and put together a semblance of a costume at the dollar store. It was a night of dancing and drinking, someone slipped little bits of mushrooms to me and others, many more people were dosed with acid I later found out. The town itself only existed today because of the growers, and that's who was at this town party, that and the people like me helping with the harvest.

The night kicked on until it couldn't any longer, only a few lingered around until late in the night, I found my way into a friend's pickup truck and fell asleep in the back seat. The morning came and my group of people slowly found each other, after a stop at the store we rallied back up the mountain to the yurt, ready to start again.

The taste of the party was enough for me, I was about burned out on the harvest season. Molly and Kirby made their way back down the mountain the next day, off to head south and eventually Molly was getting to Phoenix. I stuck it out another few days, changing location to a big shed, more trimming, more this, that, sweeping, cleaning and whatnot.

I caught the first ride I could back off the mountain, getting dropped off in town without getting paid, told to call in a few days to arrange a money order of some kind. This would prove to be dodgy later, but there I was. I went back to the married couple's place, intending to spend the night and get on the road the next day back to the garden I'd been guard dogging at. They still had just a bit more work though and convinced me to stay an extra couple days.

Finally I did get on the road, a sense of satisfaction mixed with the edge of burn out. It was an easy hitch back to Chico, I got a 10 minute ride first from a girl trimming in the area, but the next ride was a guy going all the was through Chico on his way to Yuba City, an electrician and a plumber.

I got to trimming in Chico once there, but only lasted half a day, I was done. The repetition of it all had run it's course, even my wrists were feeling the end of it from the constant clipping. I moved from the house with the garden to my other friend's house where I'd stay about a week, we'd also keg the beer we'd brewed and eventually get to drinking them, a Weed Amber and a Chai-P-A.

There were some good nights in the mix, including going to Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary party at their brewery where they had live music dozens of beer on tap, including some that had never left the brewery. A guy I'd met, my friend's neighbor, worked at the brewery and assisted in getting me to try just about all of them. This resulted in a night that spilled back to the apartments in mad drinking, darts and debacles in the kitchen involving a creation now know as "America Flakes". One of those nights.

I dipped down to Sacramento for a weekend where I saw my good friends Aaron and Jessica. One night we caught up with Dan, the four of us had once paraded around Sacramento during their first beer week months ago, taking pictures for a scavenger hunt and drinking as much great beer as possible. This particular night though we had a great dinner and just a couple good beers. The next night we caught up with another friend for a game night, ending it around a fire smoking a tobacco pipe and sharing stories and ambitions.

I headed back up to Chico, I'd only stay there a day or two though to tie off some loose ends, and also have a few more great beers and games of darts. That was the end of it all though, my next move would be getting on the road to southern California for Thanksgiving with my brother and closing the nor cal marijuana chapter, at least for this harvest season.

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