My Name’s Paul… and I’m a learning gardener

I’ve been working at blue rock station for the last five days

getting used to life on the farm. Before that, I was doing some sustainability work in Missouri and had a short trip to Louisville. I’m still getting used to the daily chores with the goats and have found myself with a new project to work on: the gardens.

Ilana and I began by ridding the weed jungle in the garden beds by the water bottle greenhouse. The beds were falling apart, so I decided (with the help of Jay) to place some bigger old barn beams there to make the beds a more permanent structure. The next day’s work was bringing over compost to the beds to make them somewhat-workable.

Annie showed me some of the ropes to start planting some seeds, and s and compost from thI’ve begun planting sunflowers, celery, lettuce, beets, and radishes in the restored garden beds. It’s a continual battle to defend the seede chickens, but we’re trying our hardest. Placing screens, chicken wire, and covering over the beds seems to keep them away. Next, I plan on respairing the fence around the plastic bottle green house, and making some willow tree covers to keep them away. I’m also going to be building some beds outside the Earthship out of logs. Lastly, I’ll be planting some flowers at the entrance of Blue Bock Station.

After only a few days hard work, I feel tired as a dog. Hopefully the next few weeks will bring some reward from the gardens (plants) and growth for me as a gardener.

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Show an Intern a Couch, and They Shall Sleep

 

Hello all, my name is Lauren, I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve lived there my whole life. Back home it’s probably about 110 degrees, and I’m sure my swimming pool feels refreshingly like luke warm bath water. In the past few days I’ve had all kind of experiences I would never be able to have in Nevada. Just last night, I freaked out over a giant spider on the screen next to my bed, but then Ilana pointed that it was actually a grasshopper, which I had never seen before. I’m sure we have them in Vegas, but I’ve never seen one.

Today we went over to Brenda’s house and made jam and jelly, another thing I’ve never done before (it must just not be a Southwestern thing). After that, we all went home and Ilana and I took a glorious nap (naps, however, are native to my region) on the overlook. To which Aaron said “show an intern a couch, and they shall sleep”, to which Ilana added “give an intern a gluten-free dessert, and they shall sleep again.” Aaron and Jay built a chicken run in the new barn. Seems like there are a lot of chicks running around (sorry I’m not hip on the farm lingo), also something I’ve never seen before.

As you can tell, this is all completely new to me, and I am very excited for the days to come! But for now, I’m going to catch up on my sleep a bit more.

 

P.S. Ilana says this is going on a “blog”… what’s a blog?

The Short Goodbye

Today started out with chores a little earlier than usual because we need to take Lana (the baby goat) to get her horns burned off today. Horns get burned off because it ensures safety for the goats and all who work with them. Lana was very calm and appreciated being held by me after the ordeal. Back at the barnyard she seemed almost back to her normal goaty self. Aaron, Lauren and I worked on cobbing the intern chalet, which was quite an amazing muddy job. At evening chores I put Ernest on a lead to start training him as a pack goat – he did quite well (I am very proud of my little boy). And Annie gave me the title of “Livestock Manager” so now I’m in charge of everything that happens in the barnyard.  Although today was very happy in many ways, Lauren informed us tonight that she had to leave the farm to be with her family. I am very sad to see my new roommate, blogger, and great person leave so soon. I am sure we will all miss her presence.

P.S.

To Lauren I wish you well in all your endeavors and hope to see your smiling face again soon. Have a safe trip back home – you shall over come.

Oh Shit What Did I Get Myself Into?

 

It has been quite some time since I sat down to write my thoughts for the day. I did enjoy my break thoroughly. As I have made mention in the past, writing is not a thing I feel I am good at or enjoy the process of, however, I do enjoy recalling what happened and sharing the joys of each day with everyone of you. On Sunday night the new intern, Lauren Bellamy, from Las Vegas arrived. She graciously agreed to alternate nights of writing the blog. On Monday morning we explored the intern chalet that will be Aaron’s main project. Another event on the farm is that we got lot of lettuce at the Chesterhill Produce Auction so we are re-adjusting all the meals on the menu to include the wonderful lettuce. Today was Annie and Jay’s anniversary so they went on a little trip together. Lauren and I planted sunflowers and amaranth seed. Later I taught Aaron and Lauren how to use Google Sketch Up and Lauren taught Aaron and I how to play American Rat Screw. We then played quite a few card games till Annie and Jay got back. Before chores we played badminton, which is quite fun and includes lots of jokes and laughing. Sophie, one of the dogs, barks and runs around from side to side while we play. It’s a great way to spend an evening. Good night all and sleep tight.

A Day With Out Power and a Crazy Coon

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.

Finishing Up the Overlook Canopy


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.

Mulch, a New Intern and Grown Up Toy

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”.