The mother livestock guardian dog (LGD) and eight puppies are kept in a stall overnight for warmth during the winter months. Feeding them is part of the morning chores at the farm I’m interning on, as well as afternoon. I have to feed her first in a separate enclosure, as she is food-agressive. A seemingly devoted mother in other ways — she tried to bite my hand off when I bent to pet the puppies on my first day on the farm — Princess would fight her own puppies over any available kibble bowl.
After hella days dreaming and scheming (and planning and saving) about how to spend more time working with my hands and less time sitting at a computer, I have made the leap: I left my job and will be embarking on a series of short term internships to see what part of agriculture and food production is the best fit for my interests. My first internship is at a small raw milk goat dairy in Washington State.
I feel like this:
Well, another season has ended. I finished up my internship at Larkhaven Farm at the end of September, and am now settling back into life in Portland. Reverse culture shock, the effects of dry versus humid air on my skin, and What Comes Next may or may not be topics of upcoming posts. For now, I’ll talk about how I feel and what I have gained as a result of spending six months up in The Middle of Nowhere, North Central Washington State.
This guest post from our mother Beth tells the story of her first foray into full-size quilting. Aurora and I have dabbled in a good number of handcrafts, but our mother Beth has mastered many more. Today’s post comes from her, the woman who taught us how to cook, sew, knit, crochet, and do the perfect guinea pig imitation. Squee, squee, squee!
Last fall I decided I wanted to make a quilt to replace the sleeping bag that was functioning as a quilt on my bed. I didn’t have much quilting experience; I had sewn patchwork pillows for Christmas decades ago, using a pattern from a magazine; I had designed and executed a lap-sized quilt with Christmas fabrics that I machine quilted many years earlier, and I had made a couple of crib-sized quilts which were tied, not quilted.
Before I planted this garden, I was apprehensive about the commitment. I have historically been a dabbler – a three day monk of many pursuits. Gardens do not provide instant gratification (I have to wait how long to eat anything‽), and to add insult to injury, require frequent attention. You can’t power through on a 36 hour binge and get a garden done, unlike, say, essays, or wedding planning.
A garden requires a long game, and mine has not been that strong. Could I do it this time?
While Aurora is living in rural Washington learning how to make fence and sell sheep cheese (and so much more), I am embarking on an exciting new venture of my own: Operation Urban Farm Complete with Chickens and a Real Garden.
Here is the second installment of notes and photos from Aurora’s letters and emails from her internship on Larkhaven Farm. Read about her hunt for an internship, what she is doing at Larkhaven, and her first installment of notes and pics.
“There is no try, only do.
Shut up, Yoda, you’re probably right.
In February of 2011, I planted kale from seed in a little homemade framed raised bed. I also planted beets and carrots, but those refused to germinate until later or not at all (respectively), so we’re not on speaking terms. The Red Russian kale I selected was a wild (or shall I say domesticated?) success. Ten to fifteen plants grew vigorously in a 1.5 x 3 ft space, and the greens were tender and flavorful. Guess someone likes a diet of fog and clay.
I thought I would never get tired of the magic of growing plants, now that I had seen it work. I scavenged more wood for a second bed, and even sewed an April attempt at more beets & carrots.
Then wedding planning ramped up, and the garden dropped to the bottom of my priority list. Little did I realize, the plants had to-do-lists of their own…
Shhh, please don’t tell, but I never cooked and ate a crab before this weekend. Crab cakes at weddings are about my only prior experience with what I generally think of as aquatic spiders. This admission might be sacrilege to my Eastern Mass. relations, but what can I say – I grew up Out West, and we’re pretty uncivilized out here. Some of us even say “scallop” with an “æ”.