Sunday, August 31, 2008

Better Late Than Never, Right?

Hey all,

I am not even going to apologize for how late this one is. Nearly two months, actually. Time to talk, I think, if there are even still readers out there.

Well, I am obviously not still on the farm, much to my chagrin. I just spoke to my friends today and yesterday. I can only imagine the jungle my garden is now. The little kernals I planted so long ago are now cornstalks taller than I am; arranged in a maze I had hoped to wander through at some point. The reports say that I have at least one large watermelon, abundant cherry and plum tomatoes, and more okra than I can shake a stick at. I had also hoped to introduce my Northern friends to a real okra fry, but alas, time did not permit. My adopted rabbit Nathaniel Hawthorne (yes, I named him, and yes, I think it's an excellent rabbit name) is doing well, and my favorite buck goat, PB and J, is finally getting some action, as the breeding season for Nubian goats is apparently upon the Farm. I even miss doing the dishes that covered the counters, sink, sanitizer, floor, and walkway in the Global Village fkitchen for HOURS with my friends, to music we knew all the words to because we hadn't changed the CD for days.

Being back at Maryville has taught me several things. I understand how activists can get carried away and sometimes earn their reputations as being pushy and preachy. I've tried not to continue that stereotype, but I do LOVE telling people about my summer and what I've learned, and why I've changed. I'm just careful not to be too "holier than thou" with my word choice.

I appreciate the goodness of freshly picked herbs and fruits, the work it takes to send food around the world. I can't say that eating in the cafeteria here is even close to pleasurable, like this summer was, but I know it could be worse. Funny things sometimes occur about that, though. I found myself wondering why the eggplant tasted so terrible the other day. I actually said out loud, "but it's in season!" Alas, beggars can't be choosers.

I am always thinking about my experience at Overlook Farm. I am trying to figure out how to come back for some time soon, but it's sadly not that accessible from Blount County, Tennessee. I know it'll be in the plans eventually. Until then, I'm trying to use my experience as an Ed Vol to guide me as I enter the second half of my college career. Both the Peace Corps and law school are in the game plans for post-graduation. If all goes to plan, I can start applying for the Peace Corps at the beginning of the second semester this year. Terrifying, but so wonderful to have reassurance that I want to do that with my life.

On another note, I was accepted by Maryville to submit my application to study abroad at Reunion Island for the spring of this year! I hope to hear back about my placement soon. I can't wait!

Well, since my post at the Farm has long been officially over, I suppose thus ends this blog. Perhaps I'll use it to chat about related topics, but don't expect too much. I am grateful for all the support from my family and friends for this summer. I can't say what it means to me for my college (specifically the Center for Calling and Career) to give me this chance to prove that my silly ideas can actually be legitimate plans for the rest of my life. Encouragement was all it took. I took it, and now I'm running with it! Thanks, everyone!

Think Sustainably,

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Finally Inspired

Today, specifically this evening, I was finally inspired to blog. I know it may be crazy to think that I ever spent any time here not being inspired, but I suppose it has just taken an extra nudge from God to remind me of my fabulous life.

I began this morning by sleepily arguing with my roommates as to who would get up first. And when I say "arguing" I really mean groggily mentioning that the first one up gets the bathroom first. Kim and Lauren usually giggle in a quiet, slow way and we begin our mornings. They really are wonderful roommates. We get along so well and have a fun dynamic. Amazingly it takes all three of our alarms (all three going off at 7:30am) to wake us up enough to start our days. I sleep on the top bunk, so I justify getting out of bed the latest with my inconvenient location. I am usually exhausted, but who works on a farm and isn't?

I spent the morning researching country and region specific folktales and games to add to our country booklets. I think I made good progress. At lunch I spoke with my father, who is coming up to visit the farm and drop Hannah (my 15 year old sister) off to see me and experience the kind of work that Brentwood just doesn't provide. He will mainly be visiting his company's hospital in Worcester, which is conveniently no more than 25 minutes away from the farm.
I continued to voraciously read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It's an amazing book about (as the author puts it) "eating deliberately" for a year with her family. I can't seem to put it down and I highly suggest it to everyone. If you think learning about small family farms and the stark contrast between them and big agribusiness isn't for you, then at least pick it up to read Kingsolver's style. It's very well-written and quite eye-opening.

Anyway, this afternoon I had a really nice experience. I received my first mail from my devoted Pop Pop in Florida. It was a short note, but full of sagacious quips and grandfatherly encouragement. I hopped down to the garden in giddiness. I was asked to come work in the garden for part of the day, since I didn't have a group to facilitate. I always jump at the opportunity to "play in the garden" as I say. I really love it. I have truly enjoyed conceptualizing, building, nurturing, and tending to my own garden at my Appalachia site, that getting to work in the main garden (about 2 acres) is like when your mom surprised you with a trip to the biggest playground in town. Our garden staff (many of them my stellar housemates) are cheery folks who get to move dirt and produce our kitchen's crops from seed to fruit. Today was a special day, because we were transplanting the last of our seedlings to plant out the garden. Planting out means that all of the rows are filled. Specifically we were doing all of the crops for the winter. Turnips, herbs, carrots, brassicas, okra, squash, eggplants, scallions, leeks, rutabaga and beets all appeared over the course of a few hours. The garden is one of those magical places on the farm where no livestock are walked or kept (at least, unless they decide to wander outside their pens). This means that there is nothing icky on the ground that would force us to keep on our shoes (read: manure).

Planting basil today with my feet in the nude was one of those things that just made my heart want to sing. I know you can just imagine me and my "hippie" friends (they'd laugh if you called them that) frolicking in the garden with no shoes, praising Mother Earth for the bountiful transplants, giggling and singing in merry agricultural bliss. Let me assure you, that while we are more than happy to be planting baby organic plants with good friends, the barefoot portion (not shared by everyone, by the way) is merely icing on the cake and not a requirement for work (but how awesome would that be?!). Technically, we're not allowed to go barefoot on the farm for reasons I mentioned above, but I feel as though it add just one more notch of happy to the atmosphere. I excitedly pushed off my shoes and peeled back my socks, eager to feel my toes sink into the warm, tilled soil. I planted about 7 kinds of basil and supplemented them with a fish emulsion to boost the nutrient content of the young plants' locale. All the while, my fellow friends and I chatted about everything from a new host couple (just out of college, YIPEE! They can actually RELATE to us!) to contra dancing, and how we plan to go this Friday night. That hour of gardening was my first moment of inspiration.

Afterwards, I herded the sheep from their pasture to the barn and helped Jen, another Ed Vol, conduct her Global Village Market, which is where all of the groups which are spending their night in one of our nine Village sites uses fake currency to buy their food for their dinner. It's a great lesson in scarcity and poverty in the face of need.

It was at this point that I thought it was a good idea to go for a run. A long run. It was a hot day, uncharacteristically hot for Central Massachusetts, even in July. The breeze was delicious, but the recent rain had added an element of humidity. I meandered down our road, past the blinking stop light (one of 6 or 7 in the entire town) and turned left, all the while guided by an ancient stone wall peeking through the Narnia-like forest. But Rutland is farmland. I didn't have to wait long to prove my point. Over the next crest was an impressive plot of earth. The corn around here is about knee high and extends for acres until the treeline impedes its progress or the quilt of green is interrupted for an egg yolk yellow farm house or a perfect white barn. Here is, if you couldn't guess, where my second twinge of inspiration came from.

The road became progressively narrower and twistier, but my legs were more than happy to explore its challenges and hidden treasures. It seemed as though around every bend I had a 50-50 chance of either meeting another centuries-old farmhouse (no exaggeration; Rutland was incorporated in 1722) or another field of the chlorophyll-saturated maize that seemed to be stretching its uncountable arms to soak up as much sun as the day would allow. Eventually, the road emptied onto a main road, from where I was able to trot back to Overlook Farm in fair time. I think that Rutland treats runners well, on the whole. Nearly every driver gives me a wide berth, but sadly, no one waves back. Although I do not miss the oppressive heat and choking humidity of Tennesseean summer running, the friendly waves are something I'll look forward to witnessing again.

By the way, I carefully inspected my gorgeous garden, only to joyously discover that I already have six little booger-colored fruits and that my peppers are going to flower! I know that y'all are dying to find out how my collard and okra and tobacco are doing, so I'll keep you updated, don't worry. :) By the way, I carefully inspected my gorgeous garden, only to joyously discover that I already have six little booger-colored fruits and that my peppers are going to flower! I know that y'all are dying to find out how my collard and okra and tobacco are doing, so I'll keep you updated, don't worry. :)

Once again, I've planned a short(ish) post in my head, yet desperately failed. Good on you if you made it through this. I can hardly believe that I'll be gone from the farm in less than a month for blasted ResLife training. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike my job, I just wish I was around to witness the quite literal fruits of my labor and hang out with my new (are they still new?) friends just a little longer. I have so much more to learn. It's going to be hard to part from this blessed place. I keep telling myself to work hard (right, like that's hard for me- do you know me? ha!) because it will regrettably be over sooner than I think. Alas, I've had a successful day. You may ask, how, Chelsea, do you classify a successful day? I'll tell you, my patient fans. I am exhausted, but in a good way. In a way that lets me know my body and mind worked hard and to their respective potentials. I have dirt that is embedded underneath my fingernails, and the hint of thrill before my shower taunts me: is it just dirt from the garden, or did I actually tan today? Nine times out of ten, it's good ol' Massachusetts mud. I can dream. I catch up with my housemates over leftovers from the kitchen, and post an outrageously long stream-of-consciousness reflection, and go to bed. I'll probably sleep through the roosters tomorrow (my brain has mostly adapted to their masculine wake-up calls to the hens and the rest of God's creation) but I'll be up in time to harvest (6:30 or so). It's been a good day on the farm.

Don't forget to write!
216 Wachusett St.
Rutland, MA 01543

In peace and sustainability,

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Only 4 weeks left?!?

Okay, so I've come to more than a few conclusions:

-I love local farms and their produce and animals.
-Rural Massachusetts is just as pretty as rural Tennessee.
-This farm is not truly sustainable, but it's getting there.
-Garlic scapes are delicious.
-Chickens are smarter than turkeys, but just barely.
-I think I want to go to law school (to save the world).

I wish that could sum up everything that's been swimming through my mind over the past few days, but of course, that only touches the surface. Quite a lot has happened on the farm.

This past weekend was the International Fair, where about 1,800 people showed up on the farm to walk around, pet the animals, see demonstrations, and make Chelsea's World Famous Butter Churning Exhibition. But seriously, I really liked the fair. Although it was busy as hell (not that running a simultaneous garden, farm, and educational center isn't on a daily basis), let's add a few hundred people, make sure the cows escape at least once, and have the most torrential downpour I've ever seen (or swam in). It was an incredible weekend! I think the farm did really well, and I liked showing people how to make butter ("Can I have the recipe? This is really good!" Me: "Sure, all you do is agitate heavy cream until it separates." Them: "Seriously though, it must be a really hard process, what do you do?" Me: "Add heavy cream to a mason jar and give it to your kid to shake around. Rinse and refrigerate." Them: "AMAZING!"). What's really amazing is how commercial food production has completely removed this practice from daily lives. Insert here my schpiel on big agribusiness and marketing scams and how they've degraded the state of the American and World's diets in the past 80 years. Blah, local farming is the way to go.

Lately, there's been a lot of talk amongst the residential vols at how much the farm talks like we're sustainable and using rotational grazing, etc. Well, here's my thought on it all. I know that we're not totally sustainable. Anyone who would take a close look at the farm would see that, too. However, this place is the closest to sustainable that I've ever lived in. On the whole, I'd say folks here are incredibly conscious of their carbon footprints, and that reaching sustainability is a long-term goal at the end of a slow process. That is not all to say that it's unattainable or idealistic, rather, that small committments together add up to making an enormous difference, and I think that our patrons and farm visitors notice that. I try to be optimistic when this topic comes up in fireside conversations, because it's easy to get down on this place when it's all that you see and do. Overall, I'm proud to call myself an employee and resident of the farm. Of course it's not perfect, but neither is the world, and that's why Heifer does what it does.

Here is why chickens > turkeys. Our gardeners are struggling with an invasive bug called the Colorado Potato Beetle. They spent the better part of the morning pulling them and their larvae off our crop. At lunch time, we sought to host a Colorado Potato Beetle feast. Who better to invite than our poultry friends? So, we ventured over to their coop and ceremoniously laid the protein-laden beetles in full view of the turkey chicks. Nothing. Not even a few pecks. Here are crawling hundreds of tasty, nutritious snacks that any impoverished Peruvian turkey chick would LOVE to eat, but our stuff American heritage breed turkeys will have none of it. Scene Two: Insert our chicken chicks and the beetles we scooped up from the turkey tractor (we don't waste anything, not even our invasive species!). Count 10 seconds. Bugs are gone. Victory! That is why chickens are marginally smarter than turkeys.

Finally, I think that I want to go to law school. It is all very theoretical at this point, but I am tossing around the idea of doing my Peace Corps tour after graduating from Maryville, then coming back with the Fellows/USA program and getting reduced tuition at a law school. I think I want to look into advocacy or human rights. I feel so behind! I am in the process of ordering some LSAT books now. I hope I can get some good studying in before school kicks back up. Which reminds me. Today is July. In less than 5 weeks I will be back in Maryville for Residence Life training. I can't believe it. I really can't. I still have so much more to learn, so much family to visit up here, so much World left to save, so much to see and experience and make and do! Time's a wasting!

Happy Summering!

Chelsea Barker
c/o Overlook Farm
216 Wachusett St.
Rutland, MA 01543

(You should test out that address to make sure it works by sending me a letter or package or something.... hint. hint.. :) )

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Finding Summer

Wow, it's been about a bazillion years (aka 11 days) since I last posted. My sincere apologies to the myriad fans I have.

Since I last posted I had the opportunity to drive to Albany, NY, to see my extended family and also my parents, who flew up to visit the old hometown. The visit was really good, and seeing my parents went well, and I even recieved some gas money for the ride home from my aunts. My cousin Mike is compiling a set-up so that I can play vinyls when I get back to school. I can't wait to have a turntable!

Although the trip was good, I have to admit that it was really weird being back in reality. I mean, living at Overlook is like a mini Utopia of people who earnestly work hard to achieve common goals and seek to make a real impact in the greater community. Being in a city was a little mind-blowing. I know that I'll have to get used to it when I eventually leave the farm (the summer is already 1/3 over!!!!!), so I hope that I can gently let myself back into a world where not everyone jumps at the opportunity to go to the Farmers Market on Saturdays at 8:30 am to get the best strawberries or doesn't mind trying a non-toxic way to eradicate our free-range ant colony from the kitchen before resorting to chemical-ridden ant traps. I think it will just mean that I will have to work that much harder at being an example of conscious living and ensuring that I don't give up on my convictions.

All that aside, I have had a great week and weekend since Albany. I had a really awesome group, which was followed by a few days of working in my garden, finally anchoring my beds and planting okra and preparing for my sweet potato vines. Yesterday, Lauren (a roommate) and I decided to locate the Rutland State Park for a relaxing afternoon. We ran a few errands, packed our bags, and took our bikes for a lovely afternoon ride. I don't think it was any farther than about 10 miles away, but we took our time to see the sights, and with about one mile to go, got a flat tire. It was ironic, since we had decided against bringing an extra tube. Luckily, we were close, so it was no big deal and we just walked our bikes the rest of the way there.

It was nice to relax and actually take an afternoon off and get off the farm. It's not that I don't enjoy being on the farm on my days off, it's just that I oftentimes become involved in a project or wander over to the garden or kitchen and start something. The Rutland State Park was a great alternative. We packed some sandwiches and water and enjoyed catching up on phone calls, reading, journaling, and attempting to even out our farmers tans. (Didn't work). Kim, our other roommate, came and picked us up after supper, and so ended our biking adventure.

Today was also a relaxed day of catching up on random things, and we're getting ready for the International Fair, which is scheduled for this weekend. I think something like 2,000 folks show up for each Saturday and Sunday to see cool demonstrations and shows and cultural displays. I'm not even sure what all I'll be expected to do, but one can only imagine the fun we're going to have this week prepping for that. I'll let you know how it goes!

P.S. Please feel free to send me mail or call me. I love to hear from the outside world. :)

221 Wachusett St.
Rutland, MA 01543

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's been a long week, and it's only Wednesday...

I apologize for being so tardy with my posting! I have had a crazy week! Let begin by telling you of my crazy group from hell. Basically it was a group of middle schoolers and their parents who came for an overnight experience. To make a VERY long story very short, they were very rude and disrespectful to me and the experience. Eventually, when I went to check on them, they had disregarding any of the rules and activities I had given them. I was really appalled. With some encouragement from other vols, I pulled the chaperones aside and told them that they needed to take charge and help the kids have a better experience. They basically blew me off. About 20 minutes later my friend Sarah walked in wondering why there was a mom and a few kids DRIVING AWAY off the farm. Of course, I knew they were from my groups, and I was right. At this point I was very upset. I was mostly sad, though. How can people be so flippant about the matter of global hunger, malnutrition, and poverty? I have devoted myself and my summer at the very least to help be a part of the solution and they can't even last one night sleeping and existing without AC. Their excuse? They wanted to be someplace cool for awhile. THEY WENT TO GO GET ICE CREAM. Well, you say, at least the night couldn't have gone any worse. Of course, that would be a lie. For it was at this point that another volunteer walked into my house and asked if there be any more people leaving the Global Village tonight. Of course, it was my group. Half of them decided they couldn't take it, and they moved back into the bunks. Their debrief went okay, but I was just glad to have them gone. I learned a lot about being a facilitator and dealing with people. It was hell to have the experience, but I'm glad I did.

Blah, well then I had a few exceptionally long days (8am to 8pm or so) trying to get the gardens planted and do more groups. Last night, a few friends and I decided to go visit one of our co-workers, Rachel, who was in the hospital with Lyme Disease. As the 6 of us are exiting the highway, Dan, our driver discovers that the brakes went out. Holy Moly. We (and by "we" I mean "he") couldn't find the emergency brake and were rapidly approaching an intersection. We swerved into the grass and barely missed a bunch of highway signs and a fire hydrant before swerving onto the road and coming to a stop. It was scary, but we were all okay, thanks to Dan's quick thinking and great driving skills. We called AAA and had the van towed, and made it safely back to the farm.

Today, I had another group from hell, but again, it was mostly the fault of the chaperones. Apparently I have great skill in picking terrible groups. The tour (of 3rd and 4th graders) went really well, and they got to eat some of our spinach, lettuce, dill, and parsley. They seriously went nuts. They were clamoring to be able to try it. Their moms would have been proud. So the main chaperone was this mean school teacher who was complaining because a hayride had been scheduled for the garden, but they didn't recieve it because our tractor is broken. (Instead we walked through the garden, which was more hands-on anyways). She went on and on about how they were big donors and how the way the booking was handled and there was no hayride was the last straw and blah blah blah and how they weren't coming back to the farm and that was their last donation... and of course, and Ed Vol (let me emphasize volunteer) who has worked for this farm for roughly 3 weeks was the one hearing these complaints. I came to the conclusion (in my head) that this woman was disillusioned. You don't give money to Heifer to give to Overlook Farm. You give to Heifer because you believe in the mission of Heifer and you genuinely care about the plight of how the other 2/3 of the world lives and you want to be a part of the solution. In my opinion, if the kids did the fundraising, and they enjoyed themselves and want to come back, then they should be able to. It's sad that a bunch of stuffy adults who think they've been mistreated can be such a detriment to broadening the scope of a child's capacity to learn and grow and experience. I hope they come back for the kids' sakes.

All that to say, it sounds like I'm complaining a lot, but I'm really not. I love my job and I love the farm, and that means taking the stuff that sucks with the great stuff. Like I said before, I am learning A LOT, and that's good. It's all really good.

Stay hydrated and don't support genetically modified food (cough cough current tomato crisis) ,
Chelsea :)

P.S. buy local!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Boston and gardens are good things for me

Hey all. So sorry that I haven't posted in awhile. Let me update!

Friday was an experience! Wait, let me back up to Thursday night. I made a grocery trip to the Big Y (local chain) and had one of the best evenings on record. I can remember as a kid, having this ice cream that was shaped like a watermelon, with a rind and chocolate chips and everything. If we were good kids, we could go to Friendly's (on rare occasion). I specifically remember having this mythical, wonderful treat, and then requesting it when we went back once. Sadly, they never had it again, or I just couldn't find it. Regardless, the watermelon iced goodness faded from my mind over time. In TN, there are no Friendly's, so there were no opportunities to search for it after we moved. After awhile, I was relegated to thinking that it was only a figment of my dreaming, and that it never really existed to begin with. I mean, who was I kidding. Ice cream, in the shape of a halved watermelon? It had to be the stuff of a child's imagination. So, please, if you will, imagine the utter shock I experienced when I rounded the corner in Big Y, and was face to face with the phenomenal, the legend, the watermelon sherbert itself, live and in color!!! We had a solid stare-down for at least 30 seconds. "Is it you?" I frantically asked. "I've missed you!" it replied. At least, all of this transpired in my head as I incredulously stared at the watermelon sherbert from Heaven (aka Friendly's). Needless to say, the level of happiness that finding my childhood love produced has warranted a blog post this long. I just wanted to share :)

Right, so Friday was cool. We had an ice cream party to celebrate being done with Education Volunteer Orientation, and then we went haying! It was so intense. We all hopped in the van and drove to another farm, where fresh bales of hay dotted a huge, 5-acre field. We stacked them in piles of 6-8, and threw them up on the wagon as it drove by. It was hard, hot work. On the second load, I was one of the ones stacking them in the wagon. It was stressful, because we had to stack them as fast as they were thrown into the wagon, and they're not exactly light. Sadly, they weren't baled as tightly as they needed to be, so we lost quite a few to Loose Hay Purgatory. Basically, you can't stack any loose hay, so it's almost always wasted. This problem was even worse when we were unloading them back at Overlook. Needless to say, the floor of the Hay Barn is coated with a few inches to several feet of loose hay. It's an allergy sufferer's worse nightmare. I'm still picking hay out of my pockets. It was a fun experience, though! We have to stock up for the winter, so we'll be doing it again soon.

So, on Saturday, Jen, Page, Kim, and I went to Boston! It was incredible fun. We rode the communter train into South Station, then walked to the North End for amazing pizza and cannolis, and gelatto. I was amazed at the number of flavors! I had limoncello, but I think my favorite was Kim's grapefruit. I could have eaten my weight in the cannolis, though. If I had done so and died in a diabetic coma, I would have died happy. I'm so not kidding. What a way to go.

Afterwards, we went to this park where the water fountains shot up out of the ground, and you could play in them. I think I remember them from when I was a kid, but they were still awesome. After that, we mosied on down to the acquarium, where we saw a 3D IMAX movie about endangered dolphins and whales. It was very informative, but definitely sad. To all of you dedicated readers: please take shorter showers and reduce your carbon usage. Thank you, on behalf of the endangered dolphins and whales. :)

After that, we went to Quincy Market and Fanieul Square to do some shopping, but ironically, none of us bought anything. After a long, long day in a fabulous city, we napped on the train home and made it back to the farm by 8. Let me tell you how weird it was being in Boston for most of the day and then being on a quiet, organic farm 2 hours later. The answer is very weird.

Today was my first day as a farm worker without orientation. I spent most of the day working on the Appalachia garden (aka my baby). I am so proud of me and it. This morning, a huge patch was all grass, and right now, it's a garden with paths and raised beds divided with 2x4s. I put down weed cloth, covered it with wood chips, cut and placed the boards (which are much heavier than they look!), and spread the compost. The soil, by the way, is the most gorgeous soil I've ever seen. It smells so good, and it's so dark. The best part is that it's basically unlimited at the farm, and it's all natural and organic farm stuff. I love it. My plants will be so happy. Tomorrow I'll finish the frame and build up the beds for planting, and hopefully break ground on the lower garden. My final plans are ambitious; I am tripling the size of the garden and growing about 12 different things. Ha, please pray I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. Tonight I started some okra seeds, so I'll let you all know how those go over the next few days. I can't wait to start transplanting.

I also got to shadow Al on a tour of the Global Village today, which is what I'll do tomorrow with a group. I'm so excited! It'll be my first official one. Woo!

Okay, kudos if you read all of this. I'm not even going to go all the way back and read it over for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. That's how tired I am! Okay, y'all be good! Peace.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We're Getting there...

The days of orientation seem to be getting so long! I just want to be out there with the groups. We finished up learning all of the programs today, ate at the Colonias site, then practiced all afternoon until chores, then learned some more about the Global Village sites. Then I checked my mailbox, and presto! I have my seeds for my Appalachian garden. I don't have all of what I need, but I'm getting there. I can't wait to break ground.

Colonias is a really cool site; it's basically the area 50 miles on either side of the US/Mexico border. The houses fit 12-15 people, and it's more like a refugee camp site. The meal was a tortilla with beans, peppers, and tomatoes. It was yummy!

I milked the goats today, which was interesting without a milking stand. I'm feeling pretty scatterbrained right now, but that's okay. I'm going to go visualize my garden. Can't you just taste the sugar babies and hominy? Mmm. Maybe not together, but yea. Ooh or cushaw squash and fried okra.

Maybe I'll feel more chatty later. Peace!