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Fall garlic in our western fields
It's hard to believe it's almost June.  I've been a farm hand for a month now, and it's already changed my life.

What to say about my first month farming?  There's so much - things I didn't expect, new skills I've learned, parts of myself I feel growing as I work with the soil.

You've already seen a typical "day in the life" from my Farm Girl Diaries: Week 1 and Week 2 - so I'll give you a deeper insight into life as a farm hand on an organic veggie farm


 
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Last week on Farm Girl Diaries: 
It was my first week on the job at an organic veggie farm here in the Rocky Mountain Foothills. 
I dirtied my boots, iced my knees, practiced Spanish, and found out that if we don't get rain, my job is in serious danger!  Yikes.

This week...


 
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It's official - I'm a farmer! 

Well, a farmer's assistant, anyway.  And pretty soon here, I'll have the farmer's tan to prove it (okay... it's a freckle line - who am I trying to kid?)  So here's a run-down of my 'breaking-in' on the organic veggie farm, here on the Rocky Mountain foothills - it's really a 7-day stretch over two work weeks.

Coming up on this week's Farm Girl Diary - new friends, local food politics, Spanish-language learning, major drought drama, and a lot of planting! 


 
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There's Bessie!
It's finally happened.  I caught the raw milk bug.  Yep... I'm into it.

Ask anyone who knows me - I can be stubborn.  Alternative health and food trends often leave me skeptical at all the hype.  It took me 3 years to start drinking kombucha, and another 4 months after that to even research its health benefits.  Now, I'm so 'into' it that I make my own kombucha.

So how did I become a raw milk convert? This morning I got an email from a local dairy owner, offering a (raw) milk share from her soon-to-be lactating cow, Bessie.  Shares are about $3.50/gallon, 50 cents more than the local organic milk I've been getting from the grocery store.  Usually the cost (and having to drive 30 miles pick the milk up) would be enough to tip the balance towards store-bought. 

But... I looked at the pros and cons between store-bought and farm share, and raw milk won out:


 
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Red Wagon Organic Farm
I just got offered (and accepted) a full-time job as a farm hand at Red Wagon Organic Farm.

Who knew?  When I was a kid, I never liked helping my mom in her veggie garden (I blame the Michigan mosquitoes for that), though I did always love to eat peas fresh from the vine. 

Then, when I was 20, I was a guest at an off-grid organic (& bio-dynamic) farm.  When I ate freshly picked herbs from that land, I could feel their life force radiate into my veins.  I know that sounds strange, but there's an incredible difference between fresh, local, lovingly-grown food and trucked-in, several-week-old produce from the grocery store. 

Since then, I've become passionate about local food

Well... I'm going to be a farmer.

 
I recently watched "Radically Simple", a short documentary about a man Jim Merkel & his quest towards sustainable living.  Merkel teaches and exemplifies a simple lifestyle, one that will allow all Earth's billions of beings the space and resources to live
Ever seen the bumper sticker, "Live Simply So Others May Simply Live"?  That's his whole point. 

Merkel leads workshop participants through a painstakingly detailed assessment of their Ecological Footprints, an estimate of how many resources you use, versus how many we each can afford to use.

Essentially, your ecological footprint is how many pieces of chocolate mousse pie you're taking at the party.  Turns out, I'm a little glutton and I'm eating three pieces of pie... but there's only enough for everyone to have one!

 
_"...keep our shape soft and our plans mobile..." 
~We'Moon 2012 Astro-Overview

Life has a tricky way of shifting shape, so we must stay ever fluid and change our shapes to suit.  Sudden changes in plan have led me to seek a live-in internship on an organic farm across the country.

My heart is pulled towards the land, and the I'm filled by the possibility of my own growth alongside young tender shoots.  Here are excerpts from my personal statement - I hope it inspires you to move towards your dreams.

"... Several years ago, I was a long-term guest at {an organic, off-grid farm}.  My time there was transformative.  {There}, I learned to move to the rhythms of nature, the cadence of the sun, the smell of wind across freshly turned soil.  I crave this immersion, the connection to the land that farming creates.  I’m called to simplify my focus and lifestyle - I want to sweat and get my hands dirty, to build a stronger community through shared work, and to learn the skills needed to better serve my planet. 

... I want to actively build a network of wonderful people, and I am drawn to those who are drawn to the Earth... I dream of building a homestead based in permaculture, where my family can grow in symbiosis with the Earth... Earth is the basis of all my future goals, as I believe that the health of our planet is of fundamental importance - all human acts of goodness and inspiration rely on a thriving home planet."

 
My diet doesn't fit into any easy label. 

When I say I'm vegetarian, friends raise their eyebrows over my occasional hamburger and call me a fake.  When I say I'm a flexitarian, it's dismissed as lazy vegetarianism.  When I say I'm a locavore, well, people are just confused.

The truth is, none of these dietary labels are accurate in the first place.  For me, food is highly personal, and my needs and intuitions change over time - daily, sometimes.

Currently, my diet could be described as a semi-locavore lacto-ovo-pesce-pollo-flexitarian.  But who really understands or wants to hear that?

If anything, I'm an intuitive eater.  (An intuitian?  Intuivore?  Hmm.)


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