Three Days To Asheville

•June 9, 2012 • 1 Comment

I am no longer counting today, of course, because… well, it’s over. And that seemed like a good enough reason to me. So there.

Anyway. My farming adventure is coming to an end (sadly), but from the sound of things, the rest of my summer will be FULL of more adventures! So I won’t be abandoning this blog or anything, but it may start being more sparse. Think “further updates as events warrant.”

So, today, I moved an entire dump truck load of dirt (with the illustrious help of Jessica and Andrew) to fill in an eroded bank that was partially beneath the driveway. I feel a lot better knowing that the situation has been 75% handled. We’ll be getting one more load to finish up, but it already looks about a million times better. After moving dirt, I learned how to make pisolle. That’s one of the recipes I’m most excited to take home with me!

I also got to talk to my mommy today, which was great. ^_^  I revised my summer plans, as well. Jessica’s mum has been feeling under the weather lately, so instead of going to Raleigh, I’ll be going straight home from Asheville. All told, though, it’s really for the best, for many reasons.

Then, for evening shenanigans, I allowed Tommy to give me a drunk haircut. Okay, not really. I mean, he DID cut my hair, but he wasn’t drunk… per se… Anyway. I now have an anime/Sara from Phantogram/Aeon Flux thing goin’ on. I love it! He did a bang-up job.

Now I’m texting my lovely, listening to Childish Gambino, and blogging about how awesome my summer has been…

Although, to be honest? Some of it has been really rough. I’ve been forced to confront some things about myself that I hate, I’ve struggled with insomnia and depression, and I’ve been literally EATEN ALIVE by the bugs up here!! They don’t seem to bother Jessica at all, but the damn things love me. Oh, and let’s not forget Creasy the goose. He’s constantly up in my grill harassing Jessica and me! You can sorta learn to tune him out, but he’s still there, occasionally nibbling on the hems of my jeans or trying to nibble on my arms/hands/toes/etc.

Anyway. I’ve learned a lot, gotten a wicked tan, lost some weight… and I know my mom is going to be like, “what the heck!?” when I get home and things like nutritional yeast, tempeh, tofu, fish sauce, Mexican hominy, and coconut milk start showing up on her grocery list.

Witness, ladies and gentlemen. I have turned into a hippie… and I love it.

I’m going home skinnier with more of a tan and less hair as a hip-hop loving hippie, thanks to my awesome host family and Jessica. ^_^

Well, folks, that’s all for tonight. ❤  See you all in the next few days!

It’s Never Boring In Burnsville

•June 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Today’s adventure was… cutting bamboo!! Tommy, Jessica, and I are henceforth to be known as The Bamboo Bandits. We were cutting bamboo to stake tomatoes, and we’ve certainly got plenty of material for tomorrow’s staking. (If reading this makes you uncomfortable, you’re obviously a vampire.)

Now, I’m being introduced to Zero Punctuation, who is brilliant, and chatting with Tommy about gaming. It’s good to be a nerd.

I cannot believe that I’m leaving in nine days. It’s just too weird that I won’t be riding shotgun in Tommy’s Infiniti (her name is Emily) and listening to rap anymore in just over a week… But I am looking forward to the rest of my summer!

Asheville and then Raleigh should be fun. I’m looking forward to Asheville, and then when it comes to Raleigh, I’m looking forward to swimming and yoga and seeing friends and spending some time gardening with Jessica.

Well, Jessica is having difficulties with her sleeping bag’s zipper, so I’m off, loves. Further updates as events warrant.

Also, Tommy says: hey kids, don’t ever punch a llama in the face unless you damn well mean it. ‘Cause once you do that, it’s game time. It’s GAME TIME.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why he’s my friend. That is all.

Life Goes On…

•June 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Sheet mulching, bird herding, tomato staking… I stay busy! Also, today I started to learn how to make a poplar bark basket. Which was really freaking cool. Hopefully, I will get to finish said basket before we leave.

I’m having some random (and annoying) problems with insomnia… senseless, given that I have given up caffeine, am working my butt off on a daily basis, and go into the tent tired, but as SOON as I lay down…  my body is all, “No sleep for you!” I mean, *seriously*. As Faye would say, “The hell ASS is going on here?!”

Anyway. We’re only going to be in Burnsville for another ten days (ish) and then it’s off to Asheville and then it’s off to Raleigh!! I cannot believe how quickly time is sliding by here. Honestly, sometimes it seems like we just got here yesterday. 

Here’s a snapshot for you (courtesy of Tommy) of the first stages of my basket-making endeavor:

Image

Anyway. Our host mom is going to bed, so I shall have to write more later. ❤

Irises, Rain, and Coconut Milk

•May 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When Jessica woke me up this morning, I felt like death warmed over. I got up, went to the bathroom, and then informed Jess that I was going to have to sleep a bit more, given that I hadn’t been able to fall asleep the night before, despite having no caffeine all day. I ended up sleeping for another 3 hours. By the time I actually woke up, lunch was practically ready and Jess had already been hard at work. Needless to say, sick or not, I feel like a bum.

To make up for it, I did the dishes and spent my afternoon prepping cardboard boxes for sheet mulching and transplanting a bunch of irises. Now, with my host family off doing their own thing (Asheville, window shopping, etc.), and Jessica getting ready to go out with a friend, I’m sipping coconut milk, watching a fine drizzle falling outside, and blogging while listening to Does It Offend You, Yeah?. In spite of my deeply upset stomach, persistent headache, and just general feeling of doom… I mean, uh, bleah… I’m in a decent to good mood.

I can’t believe we’ve been here for nearly two weeks. It just doesn’t seem that long. And now, a week and a half in, Jess and I are still discussing our plans for the rest of our stay here, our trip to Asheville for her seminar thingy, and our subsequent return to Raleigh. We’re still trying to figure out all of this madness out.

My homesickness isn’t as bad these days, and I’m becoming really good friends with my host brother, Tommy, who is legitimately one of the coolest people I have ever met. He has joined the ranks of my dish buddies (together with Jessica and a few other special people); we have long, late-night conversations about music, love, life, the universe, and everything, and I’m growing rather fond of him. He’s a good egg.

Well, I’d say that’s about it, folks. Until next time. ❤

Good times, good times…

•May 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Farm life continues to be full of awesomeness and surprises. Between hiking waterfalls, working on fish ponds, damming creeks, working in the gardens, and spending time goofing off with my assorted farm buddies, I’m staying nice and busy! I’ve got a killer tan, I’m building some serious muscle, Jessica is teaching me yoga, and my inspiration for my writing and music and poetry is a constant flow now. 

Days full of hard, honest work are followed by evenings of chardonnay, Black Books, and playing Legos with Tommy, Russell, and Jessica. And, of course, all of my time is full of fantastic music. I’ve fallen in love with lots of new music, thanks to Tommy. Then, I get to fall asleep every night in a tent on the edge of a pond, where a chorus of frogs sing me to sleep. I am going to desperately miss having a garden, having a creek in my back yard, having cats, and – of course – my host family. 

On Sunday, we had planned to take the day off, but then my host mom had bribed us: bacon sandwiches for two hours of work. So, obviously, we worked. Um, hello? Bacon? While Russell and Tommy worked on the cabin, Jess and I helped our host mom get lunch together. We ate and then Jess and I set out for the creek; we had rocks to haul and a dam to build! We were “working,” (by which I mean throwing rocks to splash each other and talking in British accents), when Russell and Tommy joined us. The four of us spent the next hour or so throwing things at each other, working on the dam, and bantering. When the day’s work was done, we reconvened at Russell’s house and spent the evening playing Legos, reading aloud, and watching Black Books. All told, a wonderful day.

Monday morning was filled with espresso, pancakes, and then a road trip to Johnson City to work on Tommy’s grandmother’s yard. She provided an excellent lunch for us and then we spent a few hours pulling brush and cutting back trees. We made a pit stop at Mr. K’s and browsed for a bit, then got gas and got ourselves homeward bound. On the drive home, we all discussed our plans for the evening and settled on Asian take-out, a trip up to the waterfall near our house. Everything seemed to be going to plan; we ate our take-out and discussed Pokemon at length. Then Tommy and I splashed around in the waterfall basin and discussed beer while Russell and Jessica discussed philosophy, life, the universe, and everything. We were enjoying each other’s company… and then it began to rain, gently at first, but quickly turning into a torrential downpour. We hiked up to the road and made a mad dash for the car, returning to the homestead, where we spent our evening up to our usual shenanigans: talking, good music, and Black Books. 

Today, I spent the morning gardening with Jessica and our host mom before we got rained out. I made lunch (I really just reheated leftover fish tacos) and Jessica made strawberry muffins; I did dishes and puttered around the house before taking a shower, cleaning my side of the tent, and taking a nap. Now I’ve just pulled a sausage and mushroom frittata out of the oven and we’re awaiting the return of our host mom so that we can have dinner. 

It’s so strange to me to think that I’ve been here for over a week, when it only seems like a few days. As homesick as I’ve been, I know I will miss this place terribly once I’m gone. Regular visits are going to have to happen. This has been one of the coolest experiences of my life, and I’m going to have to do it again!

Until next time, peace and love to everyone back home. Can’t wait to see you all in 6 weeks!

One Week…

•May 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

to the day! I cannot wait to get back to Bristol and build boxes for Sepp-Holzer beds so that my mom can garden in our back yard.

Days of “showering” in the ice cold creek, hauling rock and dirt, being harassed by noisy ducks, harvesting from the garden, and spending time with newfound friends are passing quickly. I’m glad I still have two and a half weeks here to continue to learn from my host family. I know I’m learning a lot about permaculture, gardening, composting, and sustainability.

Most of my evenings now are spent with Tommy – the son of my host family – and his friend Russell, both of whom are awesome, if a bit intimidating. They’re good for me, as I have to continue to improve myself to keep up with their conversation! Debates about quantum physics still leave me a bit bewildered, but I’m learning and these debates tend to end in long sessions of exchanging songs on guitar and ukulele down by the ponds or long games of Mao and Uno.

The homesickness is largely in check now. It still wears on me a bit when I lie down to sleep at night, but it’s nowhere near the level it was the first few days here. We do things as a “family” as much as possible, and I’m growing extremely fond of these quirky, accepting people.

On Thursday, I had the unparalleled pleasure of meeting Andrew Heintz, one of my fellow WWOOFers and best friend Jessica’s good unschooler friends. He attended the contra dance with us and the two of us spent the evening in deep conversation. I hope to get to spend more time with him in future.

Today, I got to visit the Burnsville Ten Thousand Things co-op and browse both the free room and their impressive selection of organics and such. Found some delightful hippie skirts and two new Western shirts, and a copy of a good book for a friend. The co-op made me miss the Chatham Marketplace something fierce; I need to visit Pittsboro again – visit my sister, drop by the Coop…

Well, lunch has arrived, so I shall update more later. ❤

Four days in…

•May 23, 2012 • 2 Comments

And going strong! Learning about gardening, sheet mulching, patching fish ponds, permaculture and the Sepp-Holzer models, cats, waterfowl, and myself.

To be honest, I started getting homesick on day two. It hasn’t gotten worse, but it hasn’t really gotten better, either. I don’t have a whole lot of cell phone signal, so staying connected is difficult; I just thank God that Jessica is here with me! We washed dishes and sang Wicked tonight, and that was happy. The isolation is probably really good for me, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. 

Today was a day off for us, so we traveled to the very outskirts of Asheville to the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Art Center, where my host mom has a piece that will be on display. I got excellent cell signal and got my fix of chatting with my friends, my mom, and my social networking.

Camping is awesome! (So stop worrying, Mom.)  I’m becoming inured to the cold. All I need now is to get used to the bullfrogs, who are about as loud as a damn cow. It’s amazing and also slightly ridiculous. Sleeping in the open night air is amazing, though. You can literally see every star in the sky out here.

Yesterday, Jessica and I had volunteered to make dinner (or just cook whenever) right after our arrival, so our host mom started a stock from a farm-raised goose she had slaughtered right before we arrived and we trekked to the gardens to harvest fresh vegetables for the soup. Best soup I’ve ever made/had. We eat fresh salads just about every day, have fresh strawberries, and Jessica spoils me rotten by making coffee every morning before I get up. 

Basically, I spend the morning before breakfast drinking coffee, soaking up sunlight at the picnic table, and writing. Then we eat breakfast and get to work; we work roughly three and a half, four hours, then take about an hour for lunch before returning to work for three, three and a half hours until dinner. After dinner, if we did not cook, we do the dishes. Then we have the evenings free. I tend to spend mine reading, writing, listening to music, and chasing cell phone signal so that I can talk to the people who I miss.

54(ish) days until I return to Bristol!