I feel that circumstances have made it harder then I realized to keep a daily blog. First, there is a needed motivation to write everyday (Jay says you have really become a writer when you make an effort to write, even if it’s easier not to). But the most important thing that I found you need to have to create a daily blog is electricity and an Internet connection. On Sunday evening our electricity went out. Aaron and Jay worked on trying to fix the electric.
Luckily we had our handy new intern Aaron who has a background in electric. Aaron made the assessment that the problem was with the wire in the that connected the house to the poll. Jay asked Aaron if anything else could be causing the problem since this was the most expensive solution they could think possible. They switched out a fuse but that didn’t seem to do the trick.
Early on Sunday Aaron and I worked on remodeling the solar shower and then picked up bottles in McConnelsville. We found so many blue bottles, I decided to make a little jingle “ Blue bottles, blue bottle, you are my very best friend”. This phrase repeats over and over again. I am sure I sounded pretty silly, but that was half the fun.
On Monday we had a group called the Ohio Water Conservation group over for lunch. Annie and I made a wonderful rice pudding for dessert. We needed to use up the milk in the fridge. Luckily we found a way to run an extension cord from the barn to power the frig so Annie wouldn’t have to worry about the food going bad.
Jay decided to have an electrician come and check out the problem (hoping for the best, and that problem would be easier to fix). Unfortunately the electrician came to the same resolution that Aaron did but the good thing was that he wrote up the bill and he figured out that since it was a lightening surge we were likely to get money from insurance. Annie says I have to get going because we are at Green Acres (to use the Wifi) and we have to go back to do chores, so stay tuned on what is going at Blue Rock Station without power.
POSTSCRIPT FROM ANNIE: Ilana’s title mentions a coon. Fortunately Ilana is very intuitive about the farm chores and the livestock. Last night, after going to bed she heard the hens making a ruckus in the chicken chalet so she went down there to see what was wrong. Sitting on the perch among the hens was a big fat raccoon. When she opened the door the two roosters ran away (chickens, in the real sense) so she yelled for Aaron, who came with a big stick to chase away the little monster (who must have already eaten one hen). I think the raccoon will be in coon heaven soon.
Today Annie went to Pittsburg with her friend Brenda. I got to show Aaron the ropes with chores and test his skills at remembering names. I then worked on weeding out a bed for sunflower later this week and then planted tomatoes and some basil. Later on in the day Aaron and I on cutting down some saplings for the last part of the Overlook Canopy. Cat made a marvelous stir-fry with pecans in it, which was enjoyed by everyone involved. After lunch was over Carlin and Cedo decided to take a nap on the tarp as we worked on putting the last touches of the canopy. What a glorious place it is now that it finished and now we have couches and tables to boot. Today was a wonderful day at the farm.
The last two days have been filled with many things to-do. Yesterday was filled with pastry making with Annie’s friend Brenda. We made zucchini cake, crumble cake, and raisin cookies. After making these several delicious desserts for the build week we picked up a new intern, Aaron, at the bus station. We drove back to find that the goats had escaped the pasture. What a great way for our new intern to learn the names of the goats and to remind us all not to forget to expect the unexpected on the farm.
After showing Aaron around the farm, chores were done and we started to make a late dinner.
Today was a wonderful morning; it started out with a meeting about all the things needing to get done before the build, with the details figured out we set off to do chores as Jay made waffles in honor of Aaron’s first day. I planted basil and some tomatoes, and added some bachelor buttons to the front gate garden as Aaron weed wacked. During this time, Jay worked with the bobcat and Annie did some office work and laundry. After finishing up the planting I helped Aaron spread mulch behind the Overlook Canopy. It is amazing how long spreading mulch can take but I am glad I was not the only intern because it would have taken at least twice as long. After a good lunch (fajitas) I helped watch the goats as Jay moved manure with the rented Bobcat from the goat pasture. Then came chores – as all evenings do. Jay’s one requirement for the day was for both Aaron and me to learn to drive the bobcat. I quite enjoyed sitting in the slightly oversized seat and move mulch with the purr of the motor in the air. After the third trip hauling the mulch I felt like I was getting the hang of it. I guess even when you’re an adult there will always will be bigger toys to play with (this made my childhood cars seem so small and yet I felt a similar enjoyment in moving this big machine around).
And for today’s words of wisdom (dun dah da dahhhh) “ the beauty in you is in your spirit”.
Today was a wonderful day with a great nap. Annie was mucking out the goat stall so I decided to make it up to her by making “a fabulous lunch” (her words not mine). The menu was salmon with a butter sauce with basil and lemon. There were roasted asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato, and sautéed onion on the side (Jay does not like onions, I didn’t know this was possible before I came here) and rice as a side dish.
Annie and I brought some furniture up from the bunkhouse to put at the new Overlook canopy. We put two couches under the canopy – all the dogs approved.
When I saw the Bunkhouse I was excited at the thought of moving down there when the other two women interns arrive – right now I sleep in the Happy Nest. It has a great view of the goats and the woods. There is some work to do with re-doing the ceiling. I guess I will move in later after we fix it up a little.
Tonight, since we had so many strawberries I decided to make a strawberry rhubarb pie. I made crust from scratch and there was enough dough for two – one is custard and the other is plain. I am writing this as the pies are baking in the oven. I can’t wait to taste them. I guess I will tell you the reviews tomorrow.
The wisdom of the day is “chances multiply if you grab them”.
Today started out as most days do with the sun rising in the east and walking into the earthship to say, “Good morning” to Jay and Annie. Then next comes chores where I get to spend precious time with Lana. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to hold a baby goat in your arms and have them learn to trust you. I feel so blessed to developed relationships with each and every one of them.
Annie went off to see a past intern Beth who is graduating from Kenyon College this weekend. The task for the day was to weed and oh, did I weed. I weeded the bed where we planted kale and cabbage. The cabbage plants did not seem to be doing so well but some of the kale seemed to be coming back from the dead (they were so little when we put them in that I was worried they wouldn’t make it). I then weeded two beds of strawberries. There seemed to be some slugs working on the strawberries. Later on in the day we put out containers of beer so we could get draw them in to drown in the beer.
I was going to weed the beds near the greenhouse but Jay told me that he wanted to surprise Annie because the tarps for the canopy had come in early. We started going up and down the large hill to get 24 of the 40 saplings for the canopy. It is amazing how tiring carrying saplings up a very steep hill. I then got to take a nap while Jay took Cat into town for class.
Later in the day Jay and I put up some of the saplings. Jay finished up the first part of the roof by putting up the first tarp as Annie and I went to do chores. During the feeding of the llamas, Jude allowed me to pet his neck while he was eating. This is quite an accomplishment for Jude and very exciting for me since he hasn’t been very cooperative the last few days.
I have been drinking a wonderful tea that gives me a quote of a day. I have decided to share them with you as the give me a smile every time I take a sip of my tea. So here is this day’s daily wisdom. “The heart sees deeper than the eye.”
This morning I did chores on my own. Annie and Jay had a conference so Annie put me in charge (head farmer while she was out). She said that there were very few people she trusted to do chores on their own and that I was one of the special few she truly trusted to get things done and done well.
When they got back, Annie and I started to get ready for the Chesterhill Produce Auction. We gathered up three types of mint, amaranth and quinoa seeds. We were then on our way -stopping by a grocery store to get some snacks because we were going to a healthy fermentation workshop in Athens after the auction.
Today was one of the slower days at the auction. Annie had decided to bring amaranth and quinoa seed to bring in money to the auction. About 2oz of sprouting seed at the store will go for about $5 but at this auction it sold for 20 cents. This was disappointing but what was more disappointing was that some individuals at the auction said that selling amaranth and quinoa was un-American and another called out saying they were Chinese. Not only was this insulting for Annie but it was just incorrect in the fact that amaranth and quinoa are ancient grains. If people want to say these things are not American then it would be correct to say that most food we eat is not native to America. Just consider that the apple originated in western Asia.
Annie and I loaded up with 28 boxes of strawberries and many other wonderful things from the auctions including two yellow Japanese iris plants. We then headed off to Athens where the fermentation class was being held. Dan, the teacher talked about kefir, ginger ale, sour cream, and uses for whey. This class was energetic and very informative.
We had to leave early to get home to do chores. When we got back it was a little before dark and I saw my first fireflies of the year. They were out in the llama field. It was nice to see the little light floating around the sky.
Sorry for the lack of posts the last two day but the days on the farm have been filled with things to do from morning chores until it’s way past dark. On Saturday I spent part of the day sawing down some saplings for the Overlook canopy. In the morning Annie, Jay and I went into town. Part of our reason for making the trip was to order three tarps that will serve as the roof for the canopy. When we returned Jay did some mowing and I cut down some saplings. Afterward I helped start preparing Mother’s Day treats for the tea the next day. Today is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there. We have many mothers here on the farm, from goats to chickens, and don’t forget Rita Mae, our llama momma. I thank them all for being great mothers and making many little miracles. I also thank my own mother for coming down to see me on Mother’s Day and joining us on the llama trek. Today was both a llama trek and a tea for individuals who wanted to visit the Earthship. A lot of work went into setting these things up and making sure everything went as planned. Or at least as close as possible since the weather decided to pretend it was London weather. There was a good turn out for the trek and tour even though the weather was not as cheery – the company was very sunny. Today was also Lana’s (the newest goat kid) first rainy day today. I spent some wonderful time with her today sitting in the new barn, as she was dozing off to sleep. Annie said she couldn’t tell which one of us was sleepier. I am so happy she is doing well. Also, since Lana is only sucking from one of her momma’s teets we decided to allow Ernest to suckle on Lilly’s other side so she won’t get mastitis. Mastitis is when a goat gets an infection in the teet when her milk is not striped. Ernest is very happy to help out and we are very happy that we don’t have to milk Lilly.