Hello everyone again!  After a long hiatus (yet again) I am back with what I can assure you will be an exciting summer.  And by exciting I mean completely different, sometimes smelly but always beautiful.

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This summer I pulled a Michael Pollan and decided to work on organic farm.  I have been talking about how important it is to support small organic farms so I felt that this summer, when I had three months of nothing, why not actually see and understand how small organic farms are run and how we as a country can support these farms now and make them a bigger resource in the future.

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I have been at the farm for 5 days now.  It is awesome, amazing experience, however, it is hard!  My body is not used to shoveling dirt, bending over to plant for hours and wheeling what feels like pounds and pounds of compost up and down hills.  After the first day I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it the whole summer, but five days in, here I am still kicking (we shall see how my attitude changes over the next couple of months…).

And on top of the pure physical difficulty of farming, there is without a doubt a mental challenge.  You must always be mindful when you are planting to water, compost, dig deep enough, handle the plant carefully, cover with remay, water, water, water.  I think after a while I will have more of a handle on the whole ordeal, but for right now I am always thinking, trying to remember the exact instructions, follow the movements demonstrated.  The more I think about it the more it reminds me of ballet, or simply a dance.  There is this repetition in farming, that follows a beat.  The more precise the movements, the less effort needed creating a more beautiful product.  And as with ballet, to reach that point much practice is needed and the more corrections the better.

So yes, maybe I am romanticizing farming by comparing it to ballet, but ballet is extremely romanticized so maybe I am not…

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Enough of poetics, let me introduce you to the farm!

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Gorgeous down rolling hills this farm is complete with a flower, herb and two main gardens growing everything from broccoli, potatoes, spinach, peas, dried beans, pumpkins, tomatillos and much more.  They use black plastic (which I laid yesterday) to cover their rows, killing weeds and protecting the soil and often cover their rows with remay, a light white netting used to keep away plant eating bugs.  We use compost from the pile outside the barn, or a turkey farm down the road, to nourish the plants. Nothing like sticking your bare hand into a bucket full of fermented poop.

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Compost pile out behind the barn.

In addition to all the vegetables the farm grows they have a barn with chickens, pigs, turkey, rooster, oxen, sheep, a duck, horse rabbits and a cat.  Feeding all the animals and cleaning the barn is a much more fun and much harder than it sounds.  Sometimes the sheep won’t cooperate when you are trying to take them out, the horns on the ox get a little too close for comfort or the duck starts chasing you biting your leg for seemingly no reason (other than maybe he wants attention…).  But at the same time then you get to know these animals.  You get to pet them and get a sense for their personalities.

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Tom or Jerry…I am not sure.

For example there is Jerry, the turkey.  He will follow you and just kinda walk around (most of the time walking right on top of the flowers you just planted) supervising the whole situation.  He would never (as far as I know) hurt you, just a funny, friendly, attention needy turkey.  And then there is Tom, another turkey, but Tom is not as gentle (from what I hear).  

But all of the animals, as crazy as they are make the whole experience so much more interesting and fun.

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I got this guy to thank for waking up on time every morning!

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This is the steer. All I do with the steer is clean up their poop, which is quite a task…

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This is Lady Bug. She is very old, but still kicking! She can’t eat hay anymore so we feed her alfalfa cubes.

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