Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Berry buzz and a bottle bush

Below are some photos of stuff we are growing.

Mystery squash. Simon probably knows what this is, but I do not.



Baby Butternut Suash

Big Butternut

Big Spaghetti Squash

Another mystery something


Reishi mushrooms (is this homegrown superfood?)


Big beautiful shiitake mushrooms!

We picked a whole lotta blueberries yesterday for the CSA bags this week at a nearby U Pick 'Em farm. I said to myself before we began, as I always do, to NOT overdo it on the berries while we were out there picking them. Sometimes this works, but since this was the first picking of the season, alas, I went home with a belly quite full of a blueberries and a good little sugar buzz. There was a beautiful country veggie/flower garden near the house where we picked the berries and I took a few photos to share.

They even had a bottle bush.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Full Circles

I harvested wheat the other day and it was incredibly fulfilling. To think that I will be able to grow wheatgrass from homegrown wheatberries is one of those "closing the circle" satisfactions that makes me feel good down to my toes.

Wheat, wheat, oh beautiful wheat!
What a treat, you make my heart sweet!

Wheat is a gift. It grows easily, not too many pest problems, I believe it can be used as a cover crop - enriching the soil, it will make chickens and ducks happy, AND it grows to waist level, so its easy on your back to hand harvest!!! My appreciation for whole cereal grains continues to grow.

Even though I love living on a farm and I feel really lucky to be here, there are some things I am having to get used to. Pulling ticks off of the dogs and pulling horn worm caterpillars off of the tomato plants are not my favorite things. Audry, be brave.

(ticks: yuck! I want to love the ticks, but its hard sometimes.)

I told Simon that I don't want to squish the caterpillars. He said that's ok. We can feed them to the chickens. Last summer, I would collect them in a cup and walk them down to the end of the road and relocate them. I never was sure what happened to them. I just figured it was better than squishing them. I am ok with giving them to the chickens because I know they are not starving to death and this way I feel that their life energy is not "wasted", for lack of a better way of putting it. It goes towards the greater good.

Here is an exoskeleton (I think thats right) that I found on a romaine leaf the other day:

Right now I am drinking lots of juice (1 - 2 quarts a day) and having some food, too. A modified juice feast, if you will. Its very comfortable. Actually its great because I have lots of energy to get work done and start new projects, much better than the miserable low energy I was feeling on 8 days of juice. And I don't have to do all the enemas. I want to see how this feels for a while and then decide if I'd like to try just juice again.

Here are some pictures of Bartlebee, she is a Sweetheart:

I watched one of the chickens die tonight. She was very sick. Maybe I don't have much to say about this. Just that I'm thinking of her tonight.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Getting Ready

OK, I am beginning my feast tomorrow. I'm nervous and excited. I'm afraid one of my biggest challenges will be going without tobacco. In December of 2007, I started smoking cigarettes again and have been smoking on just about a daily basis since then. I realize this is not very exemplary of me, however, I wanted to disclose this information for the sake of being honest about my experience. On June 1st I attempted a juice feast and went without cigarettes for the first four days or so. Then I weakened and started smoking again on Day 5, I think it was. Anyway, I was having really terrible issues with low energy and ended up having some food on June 9th, not because I was hungry for it, but because I felt miserable and wanted some energy. I enjoy tobacco and I don't enjoy it. In some ways it gives me much pleasure and in others, it doesn't. So friends, wish me luck because I intend to kiss these cigarettes goodbye. At least for the feast in order to give myself a chance here.

Today I had:
1 qt. apple/fennel/celery/cucumber (this was very refreshing)
3/4 qt. orange/celery/cucumber/beet greens (this had a lot of fruit sugar and made me feel sleepy afterwards)
1 qt. zucchini/garlic/rosemary/oregano/corn (this juice made me feel awesome - very energized)
2 cigarettes
1 long enema session
16 oz chocolate/decaf coffee/pumpkin seed milk
1 T flax oil

I had all liquids today and did the enema, but because I had the chocolate milk and cigarettes, I don't count today as my first feast day. I am 5'6 and 3/4''. I think I weigh around 130 lbs right now (give or take a few), but I can check on that tomorrow. My reasons for embarking on a juice feast are manifold. To name a few:

-I wear prescription glasses and would like to try and improve my vision. I understand this might not happen in three months, but I think a juice feast would help.
-I would like to be more connected and in tune with the world around me.
-I would like to strengthen my spirituality.
-I would like to increase my energy level.
-I would like to see what I am capable of when I am not distracting myself with food/cigarettes.
-I would like to feel happier.
-I would like to see more beauty.
-I would like to do a favor for my body.
-I would like to learn more about how this human body works and functions.
-And I would like to just make a solid attempt at helping myself because I think it is something good I can do for myself and therefore, for everyone/thing.

I am glad I wrote these out so that now I can refer to them when I find myself having a difficult moment.

That is all for tonight.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I want in

Right, so the truth is, for about a year now, I've been feeling kind of lost.

Blah blah blah...if you don't feel like reading this whole longwinded post, you can skip to the end where the punchline is.

Hurricane Katrina - So a few years back there was Hurricane Katrina. I try not to talk about it too much because, well, because its in the past and life moves on and for most people its pretty stale old news. But, for me, it was a catalyst or harbinger or some major changes and shifts that occured / are occuring in my life. The Saturday before HK, I was 23 years old working as an actuarial assistant in a 3 person consulting firm. I had a penthouse office of my own in downtown New Orleans complete with two executive-style dark wood desks, a fancy round sitting table and chairs and a beautiful view. I had a start-up salary of 40K with plenty of generous fringe benefits to boot. I had begun dating a handsome, successful, vivacious gentleman and I was exploring raw foods more than ever, maintaining a pretty hardcore high raw diet with occasional massive chocolate binges. Anyway, not to get too wrapped up in details, after Hurricane K, I lost this job (to my surprising relief), the guy I was dating dumped me 6 weeks later, my 3 closest friends had to relocate and move away, my father and brother whom I was sharing a house with both moved out and my Dad went to California for work and is still living there now. And he took the dogs. No, our house didn't flood like many other people's did and we were very lucky for that. But SO MUCH changed. Entire neighborhoods of the New Orleans metro area were and are still wiped out. Destroyed, uninhabited, like modern day ghost towns. I took all these changes as good fortune and struck out on my own to start up my dream raw food business at the farmers market. Feeling purpose to my life for the first time ever and ready to help nourish people with truly good food in an area where food was sometimes scarce (many grocery stores and food establishments were closed for months or more due to damage, lack of electricity, lack of employees and so forth) , I began to experience things more wonderful than I had ever imagined. I felt full of love and grace and abundance and this poured into everything I was doing. After a year and half or so of working at the farmers market, things were different. My situation felt different and I couldn't understand why I wasn't feeling the way I had when I started. So just as my market sales were doing better than ever, I decided to leave the market. I knew I wanted to try and grow my own food and this desire was becoming overwhelming. So from scratch and with very little experience, I turned my dad's backyard (a little bit to his chagrin) into a kitchen garden. For almost a year, I putzed around living off of savings and doing odd things here and there. I knew I wanted to grow food on a larger scale. I went to the SSAWG (Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group) conference in January - that was awesome. In Feb/March, I spent a lot of time at Tommie's house learning about growing sprouts, shoots and wheatgrass. An informal apprenticeship of sorts. I started searching for farming internship opportunities and thats how I landed up where I am now (see last post). However, now that I have been here for a couple of months and I am feeling more at home, I've been getting online a lot again, searching searching searching...

And then it hit me. I saw Philip's 100 day prune eating video. BOOM. Bingo. Something moved me deep inside. Then I saw some picture of Suki and she was super tiny. Ding dong. She was in on it, too. I began reading and found David and Katrina Rainoshek's juicefeasting blog on day 8o-something and I saw the video with her and her mom where they went hiking in the Grand Canyon and I was like...holy hens, this is it. I want to do this. So after being way out of the internet loop, I've just come back to find all these people (jawdroppingly radiant, might I add) finishing up extended juice feasts and I haven't felt this excited or driven to do something in a while. Because even though I am doing what exactly what I know I want to do - working at an organic farm - there is more. I think I want to juice feast. I had heard a while back about March 1st being the beginning of a Global Juice Feast, but I had no idea how much all the juice feasters were going to ignite me. When Angela did hers over a year ago, I thought it was pretty far out and for about 6 seconds I considered doing it myself and then I thought, nahhh. I will get too skinny. Then Courtney moved the world with her feast and I thought about it again. She was super helpful and encouraging when I asked her some questions about it and she made the point to me that I could always feast for 30 ro 60 days instead of 92. Yeah, I suppose. And then I forgot about it again. But when I saw Philip and he was talking about putting an end to the mediocrity in our lives and he had this indescribable angelic inner glow to him, I was like YESSSSSSSSSSS! Amen and Hallelujah. I've got to do it. I couldn't get to bed that night. I kept thinking about juice feasting and wondering if I should do it. I knew I wanted to, though. So Penni, Bronwyn, Ayrie, Constanze, Terilynn, Chaya, Ben, Katrina, Philip, Suki, and all juicefeasters, thank you thank you thank you for setting really amazing examples and for paving the way. I have spoken with Simon about it at length and he is going to support my decision to do this while I am working and living here at Noah Valley Farm.

I made an attempt to begin on June 1st. By the 9th day I was having a really really hard time. I was feeling miserable from low energy and doing lots of physical work. So I have eaten food for the last three days, but even as I was eating that bite of food on day 9 I knew that this was just the beginning and that I was going to try again with even more resolve. So, I've decided to try and get a few supplements in addition to drinking juice since I will be needing some energy to complete small daily tasks around here such as carrying hoses around and keeping things watered. I am going to try and figure out what supplements are the most vital and take it from there. I feel very ready for this. I wasn't sure at first if I wanted to try and blog about it, but I figure if all the other juicefeasting blogs out there are proving to be such an amazing resource for me, then I can put my reservations aside in the hopes that perhaps my being open about this experience will possibly be resourceful to someone else.

Punchline: I want in on the Global Juice Feast.

Thank you, juice feasters.

me and my buddy

Monday, June 9, 2008

Farm Friends

Carmella, aka (by me as of right now) Beauty Inspiration, tagged me a while ago. So:

1- I wore headgear in middle school for my overbite (at home in the evenings only)

2- almost got expelled at the end of 8th grade for smuggling a tiny bit of vodka to Shoney's on a school field trip. This was probably the biggest (or second or third biggest) trouble I have ever been in. It was a major crisis for me since some of my friends got in trouble and everyone's parents and all the teachers found out about it.

3 - Mom and Dad named me after Ms. Hepburn.

4 - My little brother is cooler than I am.

5 - I moved to a farm and have 5 new roommates. Meet the players:

Simon! (giving away strawberries)

Gypsy! (aka Glamour Girl)

(no photo yet)

Balder! (the Tough Guy)

Honey! (the House Hen)

There are about 50 or so chickens here at Noah Valley Farm (near Jacksonville, Alabama), but Honey is becoming our resident House Hen. I think I am falling in love with her. She likes hanging out with us at the house. Yesterday, I opened the door and she was standing on top of a reposed Gypsy. It was too cute for words. Simon put her on my belly while I was resting the other day and she fell asleep on me with her neck stretching up to mine. She's a poop machine, but I guess we all are.

Our main current gig here at the farm is a 30 share CSA. We pack 30 bags of produce each week for the shareholders and deliver them to pickup locations.

I am very happy to be where I am right now. TONS of good food!!! Its like going to the farmers market every day. Or having the farmers market in my backyard. 24/7. But better because the food is even fresher - still growing. AND I get to help grow it! (need I say more?) I am learning a lot and putting my energy towards something that I believe in and feel good about. Plus I have a great benefits package: I get exercise, fresh air, and plenty of time for sun worship. Oh, and I am constantly surrounded by beauty.

For more pictures of the farm, go HERE

Now, who is coming to visit?

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