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Posts Tagged ‘wwoof’

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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Systematically, Francesca and I threw individual garlic cloves onto the raised bed. Clove after clove thudded to the ground, each six inches from the prior. As we worked, the white cloves began to transform the mounds of dirt into polka dot displays, a juvenile form of natural art. Snaking our way through the beds, we returned to the start of each to drive the cloves four inches underground using nothing but the force of our thumbs. Barefoot as we worked, we welcomed October’s cold and hard morning soil underfoot. So desperate to connect with the earth after too many months in the city, I wanted to align myself with the terra on every level possible. I savored the sensation of soil between my fingertips and welcomed the sun’s rays on my back. I watched the roaming chickens with adoration as the creatures pecked at the soil in pursuit of their morning breakfast. I inhaled deeply as the wind passed bringing with it the smell of cow dung from the barn. All the while, Francesca and I kept our system alive, mimicking the cycles of the earth. Throw garlic. Push garlic into the soil. Return to the start of a new row. A rhythmic routine.

Long after Francesca and I left Threshold Farm to return to the Big Apple, the scent of garlic followed us. We caught whiffs of the pungent yet somehow sweet odor lingering on our hands, and with that perfume still in our nostrils, Francesca and I vowed to return to Threshold Farm to see the fruits of our labor.

Now, five months later, we are back in the garlic beds, ready to reap what we sowed. Here we are in Philmont, NY. Stay tuned for more adventures on Threshold Farm.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: Threshold Farm now has some piggies! Oink.

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I have one more week, to the day, until I depart for Chicago and begin traveling throughout the west. As one adventure often leads to another, I am wandering with a fellow wwoofer (Parker) I met while working with Lowernine.org down in New Orleans. Of course budgets and my tentative Peace Corps departure in July will factor into travel plans, but otherwise we have little restrictions on where and when we will travel.

To start off the adventure, we’re going to work for PAC Tour, Pacific-Atlantic-Cycling Tour, during their Arizona Desert Training Camp for three weeks. While I admittedly know zilch about cycling and endurance cycling at that, I am intrigued to see what it’s all about while also taking in Arizona’s countryside.  Texas is the farthest west I’ve made it within the US and the frontier is calling…

Travel plans thus far…

New York City -> Chicago/suburbs of Chicago -> Road trip to Arizona -> Arizona -> ?

PS: Check out the logic behind this bold statement: “There is nothing natural about the concept of wilderness.” This is one my favorite essays about the wilderness and the western frontier by William Cronon. I’ve struggled with this essay and often come back to it and reflect upon Cronon’s message.

The twigster,

Josephine

Image

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While in college, I was always thinking of crafting projects, which evolved into the establishment of the accessories line, Glitter and Glue. After a few Saints-themed hair accessories were created and worn with pride, G&G sadly tapered off. A new chapter of my life, however, has led to the establishment of yet another crafting brand! Allow me to introduce you to the new farmers market exclusive line, Oysters and Okra, O&O.

The other day at the farm, we ripped out some BIG okra plants. They had been planted a while back, so their production level and quality had diminished, and it was time to see them go. While the destruction transpired, I became fascinated with the roots of the plant. The roots are super long, malleable when wet and incredibly strong, almost rope-like. Pulling the leftover roots remaining in the bed, I started bunching them as I ripped them from the soil. Organically, the idea to make wreaths from these roots emerged among the farm crew, and just in time.

The farm has experienced a bit of theft the past two weeks, leaving us less and less to bring to the farmer’s market to make some money. The wreaths are an answer, a temporary answer at that, to the lack of produce to sell at the farmers market – an additional money-making endeavor. Over the past two days, we made about ten wreaths, all embellished with objects found directly within the local environment. Big, iridescent oyster shells stick out from the soil in our Lower Ninth Ward farm, making them an easy choice to jazz up our humble wreaths. Basil thyme grown on the farm is also woven through the okra roots, emitting its sweet scent.

Until we begin the nightly vigils at the farm to prevent thieves from slicing away our lettuce, it looks like we might need to get a bit creative. We’ll see how these wreaths sell at the market, Oysters’ and Okra’s big debut. If nothing else this volunteer house will sure feel homey with ten wreaths hanging on the walls.

The twigster,

Josephine

Hoop house we made today to grow some tomatoes

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