Saturday, July 27, 2013

Thursday Market and Community

This last Thursday Barbara took us down to the market because she was guest manager for the week. It was amazing to see the amount of people who have been impacted by Barbara and so many people had great things to say about her. I knew she was fantastic, but this really showed me that people pay attention to the hard work you do. Having said that, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for a great experience. Duncan and Collin you both have done a great job running this considering that it is the first year. Our resident professors have been fantastic and really helpful throughout the discussions, so thank you both. As for the other interns, I have learned a lot from being around each of you and have generally had a good time.

While at the market I saw the new Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Dave Ostrander. I had the chance to have lunch with him when he was going through the hiring process and was excited when I found out that he was hired. I approached him and introduced myself, in case he had forgotten me. He had not. I was really excited to see him at the market because it showed that he either cared about local, sustainable food, or he was trying to get to know his new community. Whichever it was (or both) I think it is great that a new administrator at Linfield College took time out of his day to do this. It has made me think about the way I would want to engage with my community if I was in a new place. It is usually easy to sit back and not open up to new people around you, but hopefully food can be a way to break down some of these walls.

The high tunnel has been amazing to work on and I cant wait to see what happens with it. I'm glad my experience will be stretching into the fall.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Finding Fulfillment

I am deeply saddened thinking that this internship is so close to being over. When first working on the farm this summer, there was a lot of weeding to do. Barbara's back has been injured from a car accident and so the garden became overgrown with weeds. I enjoyed this work, but it became repetitive. Now that we are doing a variety of other tasks such as harvesting and planting, I am finding even more joy with the work. Yet even more so, I am thrilled by the work of the project Jake and I are doing for the River Ridge farm. Taking this high tunnel area, which was once overgrown with weeds, and shaping into an area that can be used to harvest fresh crops is an undeniably fulfilling experience. We have been taking bails of hay and creating these rectangular formations with them. Then, the space left in the middle is filled up with a soil combination composed of alpaca manure, hay, grape hummus and composted materials. We currently have a third of the high tunnel filled with these structures. I am taking pleasure from this because it is my own project and it is rewarding to see the progress that is made. I stand there at the end of every day in astonishment with what we have accomplished. Frustration overwhelms me when the Boyers tell us that it is time to leave for the day because I am so anxious to keep working and making the high tunnel more and more usable. I absolutely love the work. It is dirty, it is physical, it is rewarding; it is everything that I like in a job. It doesn't even feel like a job. Moreover, it feels like I am using my energy to help better the lives of a community. I just love it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


     I was finally getting rolling on my project when some series of unfortunate events began to unfold. I have been quite distracted as I found out my future at Linfield was jeopardized. I must sadly inform all of you, that I will not be returning to Linfield despite my persistence in the financial aid office. I feel quite horrible to leave all of you during the presentation and my my project must now stand as a simple lesson plan since I will no longer be here to go into the elementary classrooms with Barbara. I will however, try my best to get down here during the presentation and/or the farmers market to help out, Sofie has already agreed to loan me her couch for that time. Again, I just want to apologize and say I am so glad to have worked with all of you and have this as my final Linfield experience.

      On to a happier topic, I am really excited to finally get my mind truly into my project now that everything else has been finalized. I already have a few worksheets picked out to go with my lesson plan and still have a ton of websites and resources to wade through. Despite everything, it has been nice to have this project and the physical farm work to fall back on and expect week after week. After visiting Zena, I feel even more lucky to know that I am being paid for something others are shelling out money to experience. Barbara has been great and I can't wait to see how Gaining Grounds operates in comparison in the next coming weeks. It will be great to work all together on both the farms and see how much work six pairs of hands can accomplish.

     I believe this is all I have for now. Thank you all for such a fantastic summer!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Project Update (7-15-13)

Jake and I have been playing a waiting game with starting our high tunnel project. First, we had to figure out if this project was even feasible due to time constraints starting in August. Jake and I both play sports in the fall and will have busy schudles. Therefore, we were weary tht the project would not work due to not being able to see the project through its completion. Yet after discussion with Barbara Boyer, the farmer who we work for, these worries have been put to rest. She said that there will be series of peoples coming through the farm that will be able to help tend to the garden in the high tunnel. Barbara also is willing to commit time to taking care of the area.

Also, we have been waiting multiple weeks now to review the results of the soil test we conducted on the area. The soil test will allow us to understand what nutrients may be lacking in the area we want to plant in. The test was supposed to come last week. Yet we are thinking about planting the crops in raised beds in order to have the most nutrient-rich soil possible. This way, we can create our own soil and put it in the raised beds instead of being dependent on the prosperity of the ground soil.

This week will be a big week for us. Construction will begin and hopefull we can plant by the end of the week. Yet we may need to look into irrigation systems before planting. Therefore, we will need to have a mutual discussion on what we want to do after constructing the beds. We could risk drying out the crops by planting the seeds immediately in order to get the crops to begin growing now. Or we could set up the irrigation system first, delay the planting of the crops and hopefully have a successful foundation set up in order for them to thrive.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

High Tunnel and Wrist update

The high tunnel has been transformed into a majestic place where very soon tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, and other foods, will grow and soak up the necessary nutrients to thrive. Over the last couple of days, Conner and I have been hard at work getting it in shape, but we have gotten some serious help. Without Tom, we would be in big trouble. Jessica has also helped us and I believe plans are in order for all the interns to work on it come Tuesday. There is so much to do, but it is amazing how much more tolerable a hard day of work is when you are working for something that has a person meaning. Working with Conner these last few days has been great and I'm glad we took on this project. I'm excited to come back to the farm after the internship is technically over... in order to keep working on it and polishing it up.

I may have written about it earlier, but this wrist injury I sustained has really taught me how valuable it is to have a healthy body and mind. It is very frustrating to not be able to use ones' dominant hand/arm and I'm kind of glad that I was reminded to be thankful for what I have. I'm very excited to be back to full strength and not have to use my left hand so much because it feels quite unnatural.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Now that cukes are coming in, here is a recipe:

2 Cucumbers (slight more if they are smaller lemon cukes)
3 Tablespoon of Chopped Red Onion
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Water
1 Teaspoon of salt
.5 Teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes

Mix ingredients in a bowl except the Cucumbers. Chop cucumbers and red onion into slices and add to the mixture. Refrigerate till cool (approximately .5 hours). Consume! They will last at least day or two. If I am making these just for me, myself and I, the measure of Red Chili flakes increases. You might experiment with the other ingredients to adjust for your preferences. Enjoy.