Saturday, September 22, 2012

Graduation

On Saturday, September 15, a small group of student farmers, their families, friends, faculty, and the larger Farm School community gathered to celebrate the end of an amazing, fabulous, life-changing year and the beginning of the Rest of Our Lives!  Here's the retrospective slide show I put together for the graduation ceremony from the photos that everyone contributed.




I think it'll take some time to fully process what this year has meant to me.  It most certainly has been transformative and will likely influence many of the personal and professional decisions I make from now on.

Are you wondering where I go from here?  A most excellent question.  I'm going to get my hair cut.  Sleep in. Celebrate my niece's birthday.

Wait...were you wondering about my life plans?  Oh.  That's a bit more fuzzy.  I've fantasized about a green education center (see Looking Ahead 12/30/11).  It says something to me that this continues to be ever-present in my brain.  The next few months will be about gaining clarity on the direction I'd like to take.  How do I best combine the skills and interests that I have: medicine, farming, nutrition, public health, working with the underserved, and environmental stewardship?  The answer is out there somewhere.  So, there is a conference, a workshop, and a retreat directly ahead so I can explore the possibilities.  And I will most likely take short-term assignments in family practice to determine if clinical medicine will be a part of my life.

My mantra continues: trust the process.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

August


This is embarrassing.  I haven't posted since April?  Really?  Where has the time gone?  In my own defense, it's been pretty busy.  As a matter of fact, I reached a point in June when I didn't think I was going to make it.  The harvest season has proven to be pretty intense, and I found myself feeling physically exhausted and beat up every day.  But, I made the decision to take better care of myself with good sleep, yoga, meditation, and nutritious food; between that and generally getting accustomed to the work, I feel much better and have been handling the workload just fine.  You're in luck...I've been seized with a sudden burst of blogging energy, and I will now attempt to make up for a four month absence in one fell swoop.

The last of the lambs was born in early May.  They're now out on pasture, munching away on fresh grass and almost full-grown.  We had three sets of twins!

The cows are also out on pasture, and we have nine very cute calves.

We road-tripped to Vermont to pick up our piglets, sixty in all.

Transplanting into the fields began in earnest in the spring.  Harvest days are Mondays and Wednesdays, and market days are Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Each one of us has gotten the chance to work both the CSA drop-off in Cambridge and the Belmont market.  New this year: Athol started a farmers' market, and we were invited to be the flagship vendor.  The growers let us fly solo for that market on Saturdays...it's a great chance to get more experience.

Although the drought didn't affect us nearly as much as other parts of the country, we had to buy some irrigation equipment in July. The soils up here hold their moisture extremely well;  this is the first time that the school has had to irrigate.  The dry weather has definitely affected crop yields.

Strawberries were harvested in June.  Next came blueberries in July.  Watermelons went to market this week.  Raspberries and peaches are making an appearance, and the apples look like they'll be ready in a few weeks.  Tomato season is starting to wind down; we had an excellent year in spite of some issues with blight.

Stephen and Tyson have been thrilled with the quality of the onions and garlic this year.  They've been harvested and are curing in the barn.

We've been canning our hearts out.  Strawberry jam.  Frozen blueberries. Eighteen gallons of tomato sauce.  Twenty-eight dozen ears of corn reduced to forty pounds of frozen corn.  Dill pickles and sour kraut out the wazoo.

And this week we picked squash and pumpkins!  Carlen says that she's never seen such an early harvest.  We'll dry them in the sun for two weeks, which makes them store much better.

The timber frame, which we worked so hard on this winter, is slowly going up.  Maybe it'll be complete by the time we graduate?  Which, by the way, is in two weeks.  That's right, you heard me - two weeks.  Unbelievable.





 



 








Monday, April 16, 2012

Lil Lamb

Lambing season has officially ended.  We now have eleven lambs: three sets of twins and five singletons.  There is so much cuteness I'm having trouble breathing.  Everyone (the ewes) did a wonderful job...the births were normal, and the lambs are healthy and robust.  It's been a little touch-and-go with the last lamb, who was born to a first-time mom, barely a year old herself.  We've been calling her Teen Mom.  Babies having babies!  She rejected the lamb initially, but with some coaxing and TLC, she's making progress.

video