The Bluegrass Podcast Trimmigrant Part 2
Although it was time to bid Jose and the crew adieu, it was also time for me to hone in and get to it. We exchanged numbers, music, and got a last photo and goodbye before the orange.crew had to hit the road for more great stories, and it was time for me to focus on my cannabis mission too. It was fun hanging out, but now it was time to buckle down, and really start to understand the cultivars and strains we’d been working with, taking our understanding of aroma, training in conniesseuship, and understanding of cannabis to a whole new level.
We played music through the bluetooth speaker and made a second attack on the rows, when all of a sudden, an attack of the Humboldt Mumps. Allergies caused by dust, weed, pollen in the redwoods. Now, this is a real thing, and one I’d heard from a coworker who’d been head of cultivation at a Colorado grow, and had actually developed an allergy to cannabis flower from it. There’s a definite interest as the industry grows, and more people come into contact with cannabis, I’m sure this will become a bigger problem. I got a warning from my host as well about the hash developing underneath my nose from sniffing buds all day long, and the chances for an allergy from that as well.
The further I get, I definitely notice more and more the variations in how my nose and nostrils feel physically. What I mean is, some strains immediately hit the allergy receptors. Or rather the runny nose centers. It may be the terpene profiles are routinely a certain allergy set for me but further investigation is needed. Some strains are much more aggressive than others though in their aromas. While one set of buds I feel as if I could breathe through all day, smell wise, others I almost hold away because of the strength emanating from them, the way they make my nose sting in a hot pepper, cutting onions way. That’s also not to say the ones I can smell aren’t strong. They just simply don’t bite in the same way at the nose. It also doesn’t mean those strains and cultivars aren’t delicious smokes and incredible smells. They just sting for me. As I said, further note taking is needed.
I was definitely sniffly though as the oily scent of the buds rose up stronger, in the warm attic. Mid day at lunch the blast of fresh air felt great after trimming even though the day had been shorter than the first. Eating outside and drinking water, the wind blowing, felt like someone had taken a bag filled with cannabis off of my head.
Working in the dispensary had prepped me for seeing a lot of cannabis, We even had what we considered a “strong” weed smell. I didn’t know. I mean I knew, but I didn’t know until then.
We faded in and out of talking while working. Talk about music, bucking, processing Cannabis, the farms. Talk about nothing at all. It’s definitely an interesting thing to be aware of. Like she as sayin to me while we bucked, “it really depends on who you’re working with. Sitting here for so long every day.” At some points the simple snap of our shears was all that could be heard in the lulls.
After that our pace increased as I got only slightly better, but managed not to clip a finger, knock on wood, so far. Through one strain, and onto the other now, we wasted no time in getting them clipped and into boxes. The particulate pieces of cannabis, created from ten thousand scissor clips, invaded my nose, beard, and arm hairs. Honestly, the nose was the worst part. Behind that. The feeling in my clothes. The crumbling dry bits of leaf that invade, don’t wear fleece or anything that can catch a dry bit of plant let me tell you. One jacket of mine in particular I’ve noticed I just shouldn’t even have around cannabis. It looks in crumbiling plant material as well as a tractor beam. And then the inside of your jacket feels like wearing a pile of leaves.
I went to Starbucks one day to write a post and saw the complete veneer of hash across my knees as I got out. I scraped my green and brown jeans onto the pavement with a quick brushes of resin covered leaves raining down, and went inside to write. One your fingertips it builds up in an unending layer of the stickiest sort of sap, somewhere between maple syrup and pine resin. Not a lot then, a little, than your hands start to warm it and it smears and cools and warms and melds over your fingertips like tiny little pads.
I’ve also left out something about the whole “trimmigrant” thing. There’s also a not so nice side of this. I’ve heard stories about the not so great farms where people are treated terribly. So, if you do come out, be careful as well. For every incredible mentor that you have working to help you along, it seems that there are several strange creepers in trailers. And once you’re out on the mountains, or in the hills, sometimes it can be less than easy to get back off of them. And if you do go out, the advice has been to be ready for anything so take a first aid kit, eye wash, food, water, and anything else you may need. For instance, when I was looking for a dispensary the first time in Humboldt County and google maps led me to a chained road, with a spray painted plywood sign that I kid you not had a dispensary with a backwards y.
Talking also brought up a whole new level of knowledge of the local area. Along with the warm, hidden valley atmosphere I’d found a place to help hone my skills in.
The next few days my bucking mentor would leave me to fly solo, and I’d continue the work, as well as removing stalks from the field to prep for next year, and go about any other chores for future projects.
At one point however, we did have a little bit of turbulence in the wings of the aircraft.
As we looked over my work from a couple of days, my host asked about a branch I’d set aside. I told them I thought it’d smelled way different from the rest. I’d stopped and set that aside and not gone deeper along the line, and good thing that I hadn’t. It ended up that they were two separate cultivars, and so while some was mixed in, it could have been a lot worse.
That being said, I felt bad about mixing the buds. But the best thing one can do is get back on it the next day and bright and early work to undo the damage by resorting the buds for two hours by smell and look. Although I couldn’t be 100%, i thought I did a pretty good job unwinding my progress, and moving through the buds to select out the mottled olive nuggets that had found their way into the lighter green, and much larger buds.
I found myself not becoming more and more quick exactly, although that some. Less back and forth, less time, once I saw it a few times it fealt like the different colors, shapes, and weights of the buds sorted themselves out and jumped to the eye as I would lift a few at a time and pick through them. I don’t know if I can give every cultivar I worked with off the top of my head but it’s an objective absolutely. I most certainly could give four out of what I think will be eight. After that. It’s a little trickier.
That morning as I listened to the radio serenade me, and the misty morning chill started to disappear, in the warm sunshine outside. I picked through the largest buds first, eliminating the most space in the box I’d used to clip them before, then progressing smaller and smaller, finding it easier and easier now that I’d seen it in as much detail as possible, and loudest scent possible as well. It also helped having set aside that particular set of cannabis to the side to provide a reference for the reste of them. Letting me see, and smell, my way through the box of buds. Could this be it? Look, maybe, sniff, yay or nay. Maybe a few sniffs.
It was pretty nice all around, and pretty soon I was back to bucking the [cultivar redacted], but pretty soon another challenge made it’s way into the arena. Sifting between hanging rows of [cultivars redacted] , was no easy task. My host brought me to the back and showed me a dim corner where combinatitons of two strainst hung by the same line in alternating steps in differing amounts. Challenge mode. Mario star music play.
It wasn’t exciting to go back through the box over my own work, and fault, but it fealt like progress. I feel like I saw the buds better than before. Maybe not so much see, as understand them. The more time I spend around every cultivar, the better I’m able to differentiate, and the better I get a handle on each one. Of course you see certain cultivars as a budtender processing hundreds of eigths a day, but you don’t always get to understand them in their detail, and they’re not always in peak shape by the time they get to you. Here it’s up close and personal in the garden, and it was a treasure trove to get to compare and sniff them all as they passed through. Fresh from the drying rack.
This one smelled a little like berries, this is like bright lemon and orange peel, this is greasy and woody with cloves, this is fruity and flowery a bit more, sweet and floral. Taking and bucking large amounts one by one these trains didn’t have quite the same stick in my memory. Not the same as having them all side by side making things a little different.
Looking at each next to each other, not only memorizing the details of each as well as I could in their appearance, but comparing them in my head and on the stick next to each other feels like an enormous step forward. Some things have started to click in certain ways that I don’t think would have through the glass. Every detail in texture, aroma, sight, smell, density, trichome ripeness. Everything is individual and each plant, like individual pieces of fruit, are each unique in and onto themselves. Slightly different, but the same. Differences in their lives, harvest times, and drying all coming to bear as they began to make their way towards their final destinations.
In the past I’d felt, as a budtender, letting the aroma out, and letting patients smell the products they would be using as medicine and putting their hard earned dollars down for, would have been one of the greatest benefits to helping our medical patients. Now that I’ve been bucking, and around cannabis from one end, back to the beginning, I feel twice as strongly. If we, as guides, can use that additional information to find reactions in our customers, it stands to reason that we will be able to guide them so much more effectively. When a patient tells you they don’t like the smell of something, I’d rather know before they leave. It also lets me as a budtender make sure the bud isn’t starting to develop any problems. Relating it to the present situation however, the buds I was processing were so delicious that I thought they would sell themselves if people could simply give them a sniff. So much bud is of inferior quality that you’d never know because you can’t even see or smell it stand for itself without a blackout label and a great name. Not to knock all labeling like that, but you get the point, transparency in your purchase, before you have to purchase.
Trying to make it through these two types of cannabis though developed into one of the best days I’ve spent on the farm. Back and forth, Bud to bud.
The best thing I’ve found was to set a sample aside and simply have a visual reference. I’d gotten the advice to have an example when I trimmed, but that was probably the easiest way to tell while sorting. Looking between the two, it was readily apparent what was what, some of the time. Separating the two, I sat through the box and went bud by bud. Picking out the darker leaves cousins to the larger buds.
By sight was one thing but there were buds that needed further inspection. By smell was the confirmation. Every time I saw a piece I thought was different, give it a whiff. Yes or no. A couple required a little back and forth, one sniff one way, one sniff the other way, back and forth, back and forth.
One more back and forth.
Decision made. One set to one side, one set to the other. Let me say this too, it wasn’t like it was half and half, it was a small amount settled in, but the whole box was through before we I got to check in. On the other side we’ll see how well I did in separating things back out when my mentors uncover my mistakes. They already did, but later on it’d be a good feeling if I’d happened to pick everything back out. While I was able to get out most of what I thought I’d found, I won’t know until later the full measure. As I concluded that box however there was another surprise in store. Alright, they said, now sort through those lines, where another terpene infused tangle peeked out at me from the shadowy corner. Bonus level unlocked: challenge mode, aroma begin.
Looking in the mirror that evening, I couldn’t help but laugh. On the tip of my nose was a grey-brown blotch. I’d said I’d gotten resin on the tip of my nose before but this was different. I could roll the bottom of my nose to the tip and was able to rub off a small ball of booger hash. A day of intense, smell a thoning, and sifting my way through the stash had left an impression on my stache as well. Mustache that is. Along with my resin nose, they call me Nosenbaum? I also had a mustache of iron, clumped together and solidified into a lovely greasy, piece of wire. If I’d held on to my mustache to melt the trichomes I probably could have used it as a wax and made a statue-eque sculpture from hash and red hair.
Throughout the day I’d fealt my mustache stiffen as it became a semi-solid piece of resin. And right on the bottom of my nose was a ball hash in waiting, if I’d only scrub it for about two minutes. Only as a Ganjier I thought, I definitely came to the right spot. You wanted to dive right in.
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