Sunday, April 4, 2010


Oh how i love cultivating. I began the day with a REAL easter egg hunt as i had forgotten to shut in the ducks last night, therefore they laid their eggs all over the sheep and dairy cow pastures, the hay barn, etc, etc.
So, delightful as that was, we moved through the rest of chores to get onto an exciting day-in the soil! The animals are amazing and i love them dearly and all that i am learning about animal husbandry, but i have been dying to get in the soil! Josh (fellow apprentice) has been the primary soil-block starter and caretaker thus far, but today we worked together and it was wonderful. Such a beautiful spring day of cultivating beds for new vegetables. Nourishing us twofold -the soul by the joyous act of preparing the ground on which this new life will grow, then our bodies when we enjoy its bountiful harvest.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the first of April; no fools

Ever wake up eeked out by eerie dreams and nervous about life in the real world? I'm 24 and nervous about getting it all together soon enough. I suppose it just irks me to be so happy somewhere, and I often don't know where to place the (seemingly obligatory) sadness. Always need something to fret over, and a farm is easy to fret over. I often dwell in a quiet, cloaked in a downer attitude, and this morning it was mighty obvious. Before heading off the farm for awhile Dom yelled out, "What was the most wonderful day of your life?!" And I replied, without thought, "I have no idea!" He then told me to think about the three greatest experiences of my life, and he expected a full report later, haha.

It's an odd request to spring on a grumpy person but I embraced it nonetheless. Immediately I pictured swimming with dolphins. Amid all our fighting and struggles, whatever, my mom got us out on a couple real family vacations to Hawaii with a definite focus in appreciating the wild there. We made the trek nearly every morning of our trip to a special, then-secret, hike to a secluded beach in hopes of swimming among a local pod of dolphins as they came in for their morning feeding; a time when the tide was precarious and little stinging but nonetheless harmless jellyfish were everywhere. Together we braved entering the ocean, and snorkeled out, far beyond the disappearance of the sandy bottom and into the realm of just crystal clear blue where we strained to hear the squeal of a dolphin. We were lucky enough to swim alongside the pod maybe two times, and it was definitely one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I can't describe in words the surreal feeling of being in such close proximity with those animals. But they left a deep impression.

Second that came to mind, which I don't think is any less valid no matter how cliché, was being in love, or at least thinking I was, for the first time. No matter it didn't last, the first person to express such a joy in your company, and help you to realize yourself in a new light is an experience like none other. It was lovely.

Third was weaving, which extends to any act wherein I give myself permission to do what I love. In college, the moment I embraced giving up art and fell in love with making all over again I was weaving. In Morocco, well you can read back for all the bazillion reasons I loved living and learning there. And now, to be all encompassing (am I cheating?), is each day I live farming-doing what I love. But seriously, I need to weave. It's been horribly long, and nothing calms my soul, except maybe the ocean, as much as weaving.

And throughout all this usual mind-sauntering, I was of course working. Sweeping the barn, setting up two new brooders for the near two hundred more New Hampshire chicks hatching today through Saturday. I can hear them chirping in the incubator as I type. Then bringing more bedding to dear Toshi, one of our awesome Large Black Pigs who just farrowed Tuesday. The piglets are to die for; I can't imagine farming without them. Then the vet showed up and I got to see the ultra-sound for our ewe that had a prolapsed uterus a few weeks ago. Turns out she is still pregnant, but not due for about a month. So we sent her back out with the flock and will just have to keep close watch. After the third (of four) milk feedings to the kids (goats), I went nuts on the Oriental Bittersweet, a nasty invasive species, where the goat fence needs to be set up. I love invasive species removal, it's a fulfilling, and I like to think healthy, form of destruction. It reminded me of the days removing Tamarisk from the river bottom when I worked for the OVLC. I then moved through the evening chores as this beautiful spring day wound down, and despite my incredible and constant tiredness, knew I had to stay up late to write this darn update.

In addition to the usual excitement of daily farm life, my mom is coming! April 15-22 she's here! I was actually really bummed on Passover for not being able to make it home; it was my sixth year in a row away! Of course I've celebrated well since; awesome Seders at Professor Katz's each year of college, and then throwing my own Seders both years in Morocco, but seriously, the last time I was home for Passover I was a teenager! So I promise to be home, inshallah, next year. That's all I got for now, good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite! (and no mussed up dreams please)