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Internship Retrospective: What I Gained

2012 October 18
by Aurora

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.

207

Number 207, my favorite

I already miss the farm, the daily interaction with the animals, the incredible view from everywhere on the farm, the fresh air, the getting sweaty and dirty and feeling useful, being part of a greater community, and all that good stuff. City life is just a bit more harsh than I remembered, with its noises and smells. I miss the awesome dogs, the amazing food, and the friends I made in the Okanogan.

BIGBABIES

The usual view of sheep – the lambs are all big now!

Some things I gained this summer:

1. I can now put “affineuse” on a resume. Whether anyone will know what that means is another concern! (Basically, I’m a cheese-washer and -turner.) This wasn’t something I expected to learn, so it’s a bonus!

BABIES

Back when they were still really little

2. I now have the experience of being responsible for care and feeding of chickens, ducks, hogs, and lambs. That was amazing, and was exactly what I was looking for.

PIGS03

Pigs!

3. I learned how to properly build fencing! I used tools made for fencing and learned from someone with decades of experience. This was great. I can now install A- and H-braces, t-stakes, and discern between and put up different sorts of fencing (for different animals, etc.). This is a skill that is super empowering, considering how important fencing is on a farm, and how expensive it can be.

CHICKENCOOP

Chicken coop in progress

4. I made cheese for the first time, ever! I made both feta and a farmhouse cheddar, which I am looking forward to eating once it’s aged.

RAM02

Brad, father of cheese

5. Quite by random, I got to assist a couple of friends in making amber ale and a couple different kinds of wine. Very cool, and demystifying.

DOGS02

in lieu of a beer-making photo, here is a photo of me drinking a beer

6. I learned to can, both water-bath and pressure canning. Also awesome and demystifying.

RASPBERRYJAM

Making raspberry jam with our berries

7. I had a successful tomato season, thanks mostly to the weather. It counts for a lot.

PARKER17

Parker

8. I fell completely and deeply in love with some dogs for the first time in my life. I think about them every day! Hannah, Parker, Levi, Hattie, and Leo — I’m missing you lots!

LEVI02

Levi

HANNAH07

Hannah

9. I met a lot of wonderful other ‘young people’ — interns and young farmers in the Okanogan with a lot in common and great big hearts. I miss them and look forward to reuniting with them along the way. (I’ve already been able to meet up with one friend here in Portland, and another is coming to visit in a couple of weeks, which is great.)

CAMPING

Camping!

10. I have more insight into what I do and don’t want on my future farm/homestead, how I do and don’t want to do things, and what’s out there and possible!

FUTUREFARM

The great outdoors

What’s next? Stay tuned….

3 Responses Post a comment
  1. Mama permalink
    October 19, 2012

    Those are some beautiful pictures! That sure is a lovely part of the state (well, in the summer, anyway! In my mind it will always be August there.)

  2. jesse lyon permalink
    October 21, 2012

    you are awesome by the way! i want you to know that!!

  3. November 10, 2012

    Glad to read your reflections on this experience – and see some excellent photos! Hope your time back in Portland is at least equally rewarding, in completely different ways. (Isn’t it time for another post?)

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