The first in our new series highlighting the crucial work done by the dedicated crew of Stearns members and volunteers, I recently had the wonderful opportunity to interview a team member who does all our heavy lifting (literally!). Enjoy!

What brought you to Stearns and how long have you been a member?

About 10 years ago, we were recommended to Stearns CSA by a member who knew we had a vegan daughter. When all the kids moved out of the house, we couldn’t justify the formal membership of buying a share, but kept supporting financially. Then when I retired in 2020, I had time to volunteer.

What sort of work/tasks do you perform at the farm? What do you like about it? What’s been a challenge?

Since post-Covid 2022, when I started volunteering, I made it clear that I wanted to contribute by helping solve and work on one-off problems. Here are the projects and challenges Ember has thrown at me:

Straightening the steel pipe frame on the greenhouse   
Helping assemble the carport   
Replacing the blueberry posts   
Designing and building two leaf miner screen frames   
Replacing burst water valve on the tumbler   
Lifting the compressor to top of cooler   
Installing and sealing the compressor   
Finding water spigots in the field   
Designing and building a dibbler   
Designing and building hose guides

I love that Ember and the team know my problem-solving capabilities and are good with my flexible schedule. My biggest challenge was the solo lift of the 400 lb. compressor, which used my physics and engineering skills. I look forward to seeing what challenges Ember and the team can throw at me for the rest of the season.  

What do you like to do for fun? Do you have any pets? A favorite hiking spot?

For fun, I like engineering challenges of all kinds. And traveling the world to see famous bridges (visiting Norway in August). My wife, Carol, and I have turned a typical suburban yard into several perennial flower gardens for birds, bees, butterflies, and other bugs. I volunteer as a fixer at Framingham-area Repair Cafes and Fix-it Clinics. I go back to Brown Middle School in Newton, where I used to teach Engineering, to assist with set design and construction for their annual musicals.

We have two cats, Dodger and Bobcat. I don’t have a dog, but recently became a member of the Callahan Dog Owners Group, after I helped move a small bridge back to its place over a creek by the big dam in Callahan State Park. Cal Dog is morphing into a more general interest Friends of Callahan State Park, where I will be in a sub-group working on trail and bridge reconfiguration issues throughout the park.

I don’t get to do serious hiking any more, due to knee problems, but when I could, I hit about 2/3 of the 4000 footers in the White Mountains. And I love watching and hopefully influencing the next generations, including my 4 kids and 3 grandchildren (see picture from five weeks ago).

What is your favorite veggie from the Stearns share?

We don’t take a share, but when we did, the garlic scapes and tomatoes were my favorites.