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Archive for July, 2012

Inspired by the chronicles of the Barefoot Sisters (two sisters who hiked the Appalachian Trail barefoot), I have fooled around on various hiking trips, taking off my shoes for parts of the trail, testing my endurance, and “training” my feet to welcome the uncertainty of the ground. Never before, however, had I spent the entire day on the farm working barefoot. That was until I became increasingly aware of how I clunked around in my work boots while the animals roamed the pasture effortlessly with their bare paws and hooves. After that moment of blatant juxtaposition, I decided to liberate my awkwardly booted feet, and return to my primal being. With one shoe unlaced, my toes wriggled in anticipation to meet the ground. They were welcomed by grass that was still wet from yesterday’s thunderstorms. The grass refreshed my feet, and the cooling sensation penetrated my entire body. This was a worthwhile jailbreak, I decided.

Since my fascination with the barefooted people of the world began a few years ago, my ears have been alert to related news in the barefoot world. There is an entire subculture dedicated to regaining the lost sensation of bare-feet on the ground, and informing the public about the health benefits of the shoeless and sockless life. The other day, I stumbled upon this New York Magazine article, “You Walk Wrong.” Allow me to share with you some of what I learned.

– Your bare toes help you to grip the earth, and with that, provide you with more stability and balance.

–  There are a whopping 24 (or, for some people, 26) bones in the foot

– It is not against the law to drive barefoot.

– barefooters.org is the official site of the Society for Barefoot Living. They have some interesting facts and articles on their site.

– Shoes are unnecessary and can actually cause additional health problems, such as wear and tear on the knees.

– You should give it a try!

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: The pigs’ names are Hunky, Dory, and Papaya.

 

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I am moving to Mexico in a month! After just a little under a year-long application process, the Peace Corps invite came in late May. After careful consideration, I accepted. I will be living in Central Mexico and working on an Environmental Education project. Total dream job. I am excited. Terribly excited. Scared? A bit, yes. I can’t deny that one. The Peace Corps is life-changing some say. So Mexico, here I come por dos años y tres meses. In the meantime, I think I should brush up on some español, sí.

the twigster,
Josefina

PS: Guess who got some poison ivy working on Threshold Farm this week? This itchy girl.

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The beginning of a new adventure...and Biscuit the farm dog

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Oh, we’re soaring now.
Soaring, soaring
High above the trees.

Higher, higher
High above the trees.
But we cant stay too high for long

No.
We must find somewhere to perch,
If only ’til the morn.

Let’s perch here for a while,
But just for a while to be sure.
Nothing but sunny skies today.

Soaring, soaring
High above the trees.
But I can’t stay on this branch no more.

No.
We must keep on flying.
We must find another way,
Another way to soar.

the twigster and her sister,
Josephine & Francesca

PS: If you find yourself in Woodstock, NY, stop by Candlestock. This candle store has some of the most unique candles I have ever seen.

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They are the only ones who understand me. I am the only one who understands them. Four skinny trees with skinny necks and pointy elbows like mine. Four who do not belong here but are here. Four raggedy excuses planted by the city. From our room we can hear them, but Nenny just sleeps and does not appreciate these things.

Their strength is secret. They send ferocious roots beneath the ground. They grow up and they grow down and grab the earth between their hairy toes and bite the sky with violent teeth and never quit their anger. This is how they keep.

Let one forget this reason for being, they’d all droop like tulips in a glass, each with their arms around the other. Keep, keep, keep, trees say when I sleep. They teach.

When I am too sad and too skinny to keep keeping, when I am a tiny thing against so many bricks, then it is I look at trees. When there is nothing left to look at on this street. Four who grew despite concrete. Four who reach and do not forget to reach. Four whose only reason is to be and be.

– Sandra Cisneros, excerpt from The House on Mango Street 

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: The trees in the sidewalk can just as well be the trees in the forest. Let your mind escape itself.

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When we first arrived at the farm, we noted that the garlic wasn’t quite ready to emerge from the cool earth. No, as steadfast as it is pungent, the garlic was prepared to wait patiently for a few more days of intense heat, growing proportionally stronger with the heat index. So, we spent those days weeding and eating, all the while waiting for the garlic to summon us. As we were in the field, ripping weeds from the earth, the sun baked our backs. The heat the garlic needed, I grudgingly noted.

A few days passed, and a few less pounds of water weight I carried. Growing delirious from the sun, I walked over to the planted garlic. Just as I was about to reconcile that I would not be able to harvest the garlic during my time at the farm, I was given the signal. Several of the lower leaves of the garlic were brown, but the top five or six leaves were still green. The garlic was ready to be relieved from the dark den it had known the entirety of its life. The garlic was ready to metamorphose from a mere plant to the beloved raw garlic cloves we all reach for while cooking.

Francesca and I were so excited to harvest the garlic. This was the main reason we returned to Threshold Farm – to see a process come full circle. Cycles are inherent to the entire concept behind the farm, permaculture. Produce no waste, create feedback loops, and integrate the community. We loosened the dirt, and before long, the circle we began to draw in October, was complete.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: The vampires will stay far away from me. Hehe.

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Row after row of carrots demanded our attention. Overtaken by weeds, the bushy carrot greens signaled us down to their level. “Look,” they pleaded, “could you help me get some room to breathe?” As worshippers to the tasty and nutritious vegetables of organic farming, us wwoofers knew we had to answer the carrots’ request. A chemical spray certainly wasn’t worthy or welcome for the job. No, this was the job for a wwoofer, a job for someone willing to work hard to see the carrots thrive, a job for someone averse to sacrificing nutrition for ease.

Defying the 90° F weather, we started removing the intruders around 7:00 AM in an effort to evade the sun’s direct light for a few hours. 2 wwoofers hoed down the majority of the jungle of weeds, while another 2 wwoofers delicately picked out the weeds from among the juvenile carrots. Although hand-pulling weeds is a time-consuming process, it is also a safe way to ensure that you don’t eliminate your crop while trying to help it. On our hands and knees, we worked down the row, kick starting the arduous process of defeating the carrots’ competition with the weeds for light and nutrients.

Succulents, grasses, and stinging nettles were ripped from the soil, and placed in the valleys of the beds. Once the carrots’ pests, the weeds became the carrots’ allies, returning nutrition to the soil and nurturing the planted vegetables. As we worked, we began to see the defined rows of carrots emerge, their greens as glorious as the plumage of a proud peacock. Biscuit, the farm dog, visited us from time to time offering an encouraging nudge as we worked. When one o’clock came around, our weeding ended for the day and we returned home for lunch. In celebration of all we had accomplished, I loaded my hand-rolled sushi with a handful of sweet carrot strips, savoring each crunch that ensued.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: Did you know that the greens of carrots are edible? Try mixing them in with your salad for a new twist on a summer dish.

Weeded versus unweeded rows

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