Sunday, February 24, 2013

Farming, Days 5 & 6: RAINNNNN

The past two days have been WET in Bluffton, Georgia. Evidently this is the rainy season. It rained earlier this week when Annie and I worked in the green house, but on Friday we connected drip tape (irrigation system) to 21 rows of potatoes, and then we put some row cover  over beets and carrots--me sporting a garbage bag rain coat. (High farm fashion :)  Improvisation is a huge part of farm work and we're better for it! I only regret not bringing rain boots or a rain coat...but so it is!

Me setting up irrigation for potato rows with drip tape

After doing that and feeling like champs, we had lunch and then got a tour of the brooder house, which is where the baby chicks and bunnies are raised. Travis, the young man who manages the brooder house facilitated the tour. They have two thousand chicks in there at once! I held a day old bunny and a chick--they were both reallly adorable.
This guy becomes...

This guy!
Dawwwww!!!! (click to enlarge)

We then went home early because we'd finished all of our tasks and spent the afternoon reading and drinking cocoa and eating stove popped popcorn (Awesome!) Then Tim and Casey, the guests we were expecting arrived--they drove all the way from Connecticut to meet the farm crew and see White Oak Pastures because they'll be joining as farm apprenctices in the next few weeks.  We had an amazing meal with them and some great conversation before heading to bed.  It began to pour again in the evening and we saw some amazing lighting with the lights off and candles on.

We had to rise fairly early on Saturday because we were going to do a few things on the farm with Tim and Casey.  Annie and I potted kale in the green house while the guests did a special project in between getting a tour of the farm, the chicken plant and the beef plant.  Annie and I accompanied them as well and it was interesting to see inside the abattoir aka slaughterhouse--especially one that raises all natural chickens and isn't HUGE and completely mechanized.  I learned that an animal goes through as many as fifteen hands and is USDA inspected before being packaged and shipped out at White Oaks.

Remember how on the weekends, Pasture to Plate becomes fine dining for dinner and lunch? It's called Seasons, and the chef, Jim Snyder and his wife Cindy kindly treated us to an amazing meal--made of fresh farm ingredients. We had delicious chicken sachelle (similar to sausage) made with pistachios and herbs, pickled green tomato, peanut hummus, onion galette (pastry dough with fried, sweet tasting onions)--it was such a beautifully presented and delicious meal. And to top that off, a peice of Hummingbird Heart cake--three teirs of pinapple, banana, and pecans with cream cheese frosting. So sweet and wonderful. Thanks so much Jim and Cindy!!
-- Five Stars --

Tim, Casey & I (Annie behind camera)

After The Amazing Lunch, we took our guests to the pastures accross the street to see the chicks growing to be laying hens and the grazing cows and sheep--and we got extremely close!

We then took a special trip to the Kolomoki Mounds, a national park in neighboring Blakely, GA that is "the oldest and largest Woodland Indian site in the southeastern United States, occupied by American Indians from 350 to 750 a.d."--the largest mound is 57 feet tall and was the temple mound.  There are a handful of other mounds throughout the park thought to be for ceremonial and burial purposes.  There's much archeological speculation as to how the mounds were built. We climbed up a huge concrete staircase built into the outside of the largest mound and got to enjoy the view.

Temple mound at Kolomoki
I also discovered Laughing Yoga from Casey and it is so so so cool. Next place I live I'm looking for a club--the health benefits are almost magical.

So, week one has wrapped. It's been faster than I thought. One more week on the farm and then the walking begins. It's been a gift to spend quality time with Annie and see her working.  It's neat to see friends in their different environments and Annie is an enthusiastic and passionate part of the farm.  I am surprised she's been here for about three weeks--the rapport she has with the staff, and the knowledge of the farm is remarkable. I have a tourguide at my side!  The people here are also great. The work is meaningful. I think that's why Annie enjoys it so much. It's a great lifestyle and I'm enjoying being able to experience it firsthand.

With farming affection,



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