Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Roller Derby, BioDynamics, and Mowing...

Hello guys!  It has been a busy week, but I'm taking a day off tomorrow, so I think I can stay up and write a little.  Plus I slept almost 12 hours last night :)  I had a crazy full weekend.  On Saturday, we went to the Roller Derby in Ithaca to support our fellow farmer friend who lives down the road.  She was fantastic, and the roller derby was really exciting.  I've never been to one before!  The rules were a little complicated, but I started to get the gist after a bit.  Our farming friends also have an apprentice, Eric, who I got to meet on Saturday.  He seems like a really nice, thoughtful person, and it was good to get to know him.  We do potlucks with them once a week, and we'll also be doing some workshops together this summer.  We skipped the afterparty (it was already almost 10, way past our bedtimes), but we stopped for milkshakes on the way home.

On Sunday, we went to our first big farm potluck.  It was just my kind of party - tons of good food, music (they listen to Gillian up here too!), and people milling about.  Wine and walking tours to see the guinea hogs (adorable!).  We didn't actually play any music on Sunday, but I'm hoping that will happen next time. I went home full, happy, and sleepy - again, way past my bedtime!

On Monday, I went to my first CRAFT session.  CRAFT stands for the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training.  Donn and Maryrose are mentors in the CRAFT program, and I am a member through them.  They host farm tours and workshops throughout the season.  This session was a tour of Remembrance Farm, which is a biodynamic farm outside of Ithaca.  They are part of a multi-farm CSA, and they focus on salad greens, which was interesting to me.  The afternoon was a workshop on biodynamics, which I found fascinating.  I only had a vague notion of what biodynamic farming actually entails before the workshop.  We talked about the preparations and practicalities, but Nathaniel, the owner, actually gave us a good perspective on the bigger picture too.  This included some explanation of how biodynamics asks you to view the whole farm as a living organism, to minimize inputs and waste outputs, and to think about the health of the farm as a whole.  He also talked a lot about contemplation and taking the time to sit, observe, and be open to changing your practices.  I really appreciated his perspective and it definitely inspired me to learn more about biodynamics.

After all of that, I have been exhausted this week!  I passed out at 5:30 last night, woke up at 7 to eat dinner, and then went back to bed.  I think I might be caught up now :)  This week we've done some work in the shop, taking apart mowers and various other machines.  I love working on mowers.  It's like working on a car, but without any electronics, small compartments, or fuel systems.  Okay, it's not really like working on a car at all!  But it's fun, it's much easier than working on a car, the tools are the same, and you get to get greasy.  We've also done some driving, and I'm learning how to drive a mower.  I'll have to post a picture soon.  These things are kind of crazy looking.  It's basically a little wheeled cart pulled behind to horses, with a mechanically driven 7 foot long mower blade hanging off to one side.  I got an introduction a few days ago, and I was suitably intimidated (the blade is REALLY sharp).  I tried it but didn't mow for very long.  Today, I took a second turn, and I was much calmer, more relaxed, and ready to pay attention.  I felt pretty good about the whole experience, and I'm starting to really enjoy driving.  However, I still have a lot to learn.  My reaction times are still slow, and I suck at steering while trying to do anything else.  Whenever I have to pay attention to the mower blade or anything external, my steering goes to shit and I start mowing in a crazy line.  Today I accidentally shaved off some of an ornamental and knocked over two potted plants!  It got a little hairy, but Donn was right beside me the whole time, and I didn't panic.  Overall, I had a great day, and I felt like I learned a lot.  I can't wait to practice some more.

Okay, sorry if this has been a little rambling...  Tomorrow I'm going to chill, run some errands, and maybe go riding with new friend!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I finally got on the computer and caught up! I love seeing the pictures, the lambs are adorable!
The land just looks so rich, for lack of a more creative word.
I am glad you are blogging more, it is fascinating to hear about everything you are up to!