Friday, September 7, 2012

Washington Expedition Postponed

Though disheartened that I cannot set out on trail this fall, I have decided to postpone my expedition through Washington to summer 2013. The decision was made last month after struggling with some health related problems. I am hoping that, body permitting, I will be able to get out on some smaller excursions before the season is through. It would be good to spend some quality time in the wilds.

Friday, May 11, 2012

They're just so Darn Tough!

I am so pleased to welcome Darn Tough socks to my backpacking adventure this fall.  I'll be walking in style and in full comfort using their Boot Sock Cushion 1403 and 1/4 Sock Cushion 1401.  It is such an honour to be working with them, and look forward to sharing many stories and photographs along the way!   Based in Vermont, Darn Tough socks are an American-made family owned and run company, who stand behind their product and are darn proud of it! Made with specially selected materials, utilizing a unique high density knitting technique and created with extreme conditions in mind, these socks can stand up to whatever challenge that may be flung into ones path.  Go check them out at, it'll be darn tough not to!
Many thanks to Mark Comcowich for all your kindness!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Today is my birthday!
I turned 28.
For breakfast, I ate gummy bears.
Everything tastes so much better on birth days.

As I welcome this day,
I celebrate the moments I have forgotten to see.
The gifts that aren't wrapped in fancy paper.
All those beautiful moments that remind me
How lucky I am to be here.

One such memory:

A day at the ocean.
We danced and watched crashing waves
Folding into the sandy shore.
Breathe in. 
Breathe out.
I wished I was swimming, 
Surfing between the waves.
I swam,
Somewhere else.
Let me be brave,
Said my thoughts,
Going beneath the surface
Cold. Cold. Cold water.
A gasp of air,  
Scuttling to shore
In hopes of outrunning the cold
But then laughing joyously before rushing back in.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Washington Baby!!! Bring on the mountains. Bring on the miles.

Map of PCT WA-
 I am so excited to share my adventure for 2012!!! These plans have been in the works for so many months now, trying to figure out the amount of time I have to play with and where I should go. This year my feet will take me out to Washington to wind down the summer and welcome the fall along the Pacific Crest Trail in conjunction with the Wonderland Trail.  Now, this may be me asking the weather gods to spare a few days of sunshine as I take on an infamously fickle area known for its rain, but hell soggy feet is nothing new to this little lady!  How I have never come to explore Washington in all my years of traveling is beyond my scope, but this is the year, and couldn't think of a better way of experiencing this area than by foot!

Wonderland route-
My journey begins along the Oregon/Washington Border  at the Bridge of the Gods on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) starting early September. Hiking northwards, I will traverse the first few hundred miles along the PCT, before reaching a junction that will take me westwards to connect up to the grueling 93 mile terrain of the Wonderland Trail which circumnavigates Mount Rainier. The Wonderland is said to be a butt-kicker, with 22, 000 feet in elevation gain, I'm looking forward to the challenge.  On average, it is said that it takes about 10-14 days to complete this trail in its entirety, my hope should my body and feet arise to the challenge is to complete it in 6-8 days.  A daring feat. This will be the hardest section of trail for me, but also one of which I relish with great anticipation. Once completed, I will relink with the PCT, continuing northwards until arriving in Manning Park in beautiful British Columbia. This journey from start to finish will be about 650 miles with the anticipation of completion in 35 days. As I set about planning, there's much to learn.  Resupplies and bounce boxes, where to get water, permits for the parks and trails, route planning through Wonderland, bear and other creature ninja strategies, food plans, gear needs with the feather light in mind, raincoat power vs garbage bag, maps maps and more maps, comforting the nerves of my mother...oh yes there is much yet to cover. But this is the most exciting part (said with hands being rubbed together complete with mischievous smile) it's gonna be good. Real. Good.
This is just the beginning!

Friday, March 9, 2012

"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready.  The challenge will not wait. ...Time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny."
-Paulo Coelho

Driving down the open road, music streaming through the stereo, a song comes on and I can't help but to turn it up, as my left foot begins to tap on the floor, shoulders dancing. The artist begins to sing, and I join along. Not just a gentle hum, but full on belt, sometimes using my fist as a microphone. As the song finishes, I yelp, whoop and holler.  I feel the wildness, the joy and freedom that the road has given me. Behind me is the the farm. As I get further away, I am filled with a lightness of being.  I never realized how much my time there had affected me.  I had become on edge and stressed, wound up like a tightly coiled snake, constricting the life and fire out of me. But wait, before opinions are formulated and we begin to walk down a path that I have no intention of setting, let me set the record straight. My experience over the past three months was one of gratitude...maybe something I can never put into words, but as the miles tick, and my mind reflects I realize it was a time of great testing. This whole past year in fact, was a journey. And the farm? Well, lets just say it was my final.

While hiking along the Camino, I experienced a great deal of amazing things, some hard, some fun, some scary, and some just bizarre. It was monumental in so many ways. Along the trail, I had time to think about my future, assess the things I want to work on, fix, repair, give and do.  What things I could let go of in my life? What things, places or people do I wish to nurture and put time into?  I learnt a lot about who I was, experienced days of great joy, only to then have days full of tears, loneliness and frustration. Oftentimes, having nowhere to turn but to myself to find the answers.  But each day I grew, and awoke ready for what the next adventures would hold. I felt open, excited for everything that surrounded me, what was in my present and what mysteries and surprises would come down the road.  At the end of my journey, I was tired, content but much had taken place. So many faces, places, languages, lessons that I had learnt and ones that would continue to reveal themselves over the course of a few days, months, or even my lifetime. Today, I am still learning. Somedays there are small reminders, who slip into my mind, propelling me back to a time and place on the trail. I close my eyes and enjoy the moment, a smile creeping across my face. How could I forget? Or even just to experience an 'Ah-ha' moment.  I made several decisions on the trail that I was not happy with, not seeing the gifts or blessings those choices brought. Only now, have I come to truly appreciate where the trail led me and the gifts that were a result: trusting and listening to my instincts, refusing to settle for less, and pushing my limits to see what I am capable of.  I carry these with me always, my little reminders. We can all do incredible things, and the only one to hold us back is ourselves.

Struggles came when I returned home. How do I go from a grand experience back to life? How can I talk to others about what happened out there? What could I say? Even to those who have been in similar situations, I couldn't find the words, and instead tucked my adventure in my back pocket. Adjusting was difficult, and I am not one who can easily open to talk about where I'm at, especially when I don't understand myself what I am experiencing.  This takes a toll on the relationships in my life. For who likes to see a loved one struggle?  Fall came, and I propelled myself back into life, ignoring the nagging voice in the back of my head that I wasn't looking after myself. That I was stretching myself too thin and wasn't taking the time to deal with where I was at.

Isn't it incredible how life sends us what we need? At first it is subtle. Do we notice? If not, then something very unsubtle lands in our lap and are then forced to see it and confront it, come what may. In my case, something very giant landed in the form of Green String Farm. The next three months would be one of the greatest challenges I have faced thus far in life, taking me as far away from myself as humanly possible and then eventually (and thankfully) returning me back to myself.

In life we have these moments in time where we take stock of where we're at: like a personal check in. How am I doing? What's good? What am I needing to work on? You know, those state of the union aspects that keep us all growing, developing, changing. Well say you compiled a list of all the things you wanted to work on. And then say, some person stole that list, and decided to challenge you, so that all those things that you wanted to work on, confronted you, maybe even all at once. The great test to see what you are made of. How would you fare?

 Here is my story.

First. Confrontation is not my strong suit. In fact, if it were a suit, it would be made of nothing, because in general, I would rather ignore the situation, close my eyes, cross my fingers and hope that whatever the problem was, it would "POOF" disappear, and then I could happily wipe my brow away and sigh a sigh of relief. But, be an outdoor instructor or any person really who wants to make things better, ignoring any situation never solves anything. Common sense no? If nothing else it creates further conflict. Well....of all my years of dodging, I decided sometime during my trip, that I would be courageous. That I would use my voice and stick up for myself, what I believed was right, and voice concerns as they aroused. But of course, being mindful of picking my battles. For really, we need to discern between when it is time to speak up, and when it is time to let it go. I was always in awe of one of my friends back in high school, who would stand up for others. I remember at times, watching this beautiful peaceful creature stand-up and fight, face turning red, hands trembling but staying firm, refusing to watch someone else get hurt. My hero....and I would ask myself if I would have that same courage to stick up for someone else when the time presented itself. Sometimes yes, other times no and have sat with those consequences and regrets with a heavy heart. Regardless, the farm offered many an opportunity to use that quiet little voice of mine. Problems with the house, problems with housemates, poor communication, untimely information, unreasonable expectations, weird stuff: a crackled voice soon became clear.  I found a way to start talking about what was going on.  I think in our day to day, we have become so accustomed to smoothing things over, that our voices become rusty, and soon confrontation becomes something scary, but it doesn't need to be. With practice, it becomes easier, and it isn't something about right or wrong or about hurting someone else. It is about expressing something that is affecting you, and that you want to do something about it, whether it is to understand, or make a change, or whatever it may be. Why? Because you care. Because, I care.

I once toyed with the idea of living with a small community of people, where space is shared. Careful what you wish for because I got to experience it first hand.  But lucky for me, it was only a 3 month stint and a valuable learning experience. I lived in a house shared with 11 other people. In one small space, this is a lot. We shared everything, lived together, worked together, ate together, slept almost together and with two toilets who had their own temperments, it was certainly a recipe for disaster.  We were a lucky crew....for who I lived with were all incredible people. We got along, shared experiences and grew together. But for those who need space to retreat to, this was not the place to be. I struggled greatly with I am fairly independent by nature. I found there wasn't often a place I could go to find solace, feeling restless at the house as though obliged to always be doing something. This wore me out and took a heavy toll. I also struggled to make connections with many of the people in the house, finding that I was in a different place in my life, and that I was stretched thin socially. I craved downtime to rejuvenate. I craved connection and deep conversation, but I found none and wasn't always in a place to offer any of this to others. It would take me a long time to feel a connection where I was, and even longer before I would be able to open up and to give of myself.  Eventually, I did find a way to slow down, and look after myself.  There was a time half-way through my internship, where I considered quitting, but I knew that I was there for a greater purpose than just farming, something told me to stay. And so I stayed, and began to face all that I had been running from.  How, oh how, I wondered, did everything become so serious and intense? And how on earth have I landed myself in the middle of all this? This was not life, this was so far from who I am and it was time to get back. If you are unable to recognize yourself, you know it's time to do something about it. Seed planted. Something was changing.  I learnt how to love and see beauty even if it wasn't pretty every day. I learnt to laugh and find joy when life made me want to throw my hands up in dismay. I learnt how focus my energies on that which is positive. I found a way to uncoil.

What I am trying to say by all of this is that I have uncovered a new confidence within myself. Rather than to fear life or to cower behind the uncertainties and instead of carrying around the weights of the worlds, I found that I could put them down.  To know I can laugh at my own follies, or catch myself getting wound up, reminds me that the only one who makes life hard and serious is myself. It is important to stop and listen, to look at the bigger picture and know that everything is going to to be ok. In fact it is more than alright, because I'm alive. Maintain an openess for all that is around, to all people who are encountered, whether they are merely passing through or stay a long long time. To take a moment and be grateful for what is in my life. To count my blessings, because there are so many. I just have to stop and see them. I learnt how to speak up, I also learnt how open up with others. To share rather than to hide. For me it is not easy, I've always questioned if what I had to say was worth saying.  But to open up and begin by saying "hey, here's where I'm at..." and go from there, is about learning how to share a part of myself and discovering that my friends, family and loved ones are there, have always been there. This is how I was able to find my way, to let go and trust...while also being able to see and laugh at my white people problems, finally understanding that they aren't worth the stress. These can be put down at any time and I am free.

Now, miles from the farm, I am able to put into perspective my winter. How did I fare, I wonder? It was challenging but when I drove away I left knowing that everything was going to be alright.  There are no regrets. What lies ahead remains a mystery, but instead of wondering and worrying, I find myself content to be in the present, drinking in the moments while humming a merry little tune. I have a fiery spirit with a will like no other.  I know who I am and am learning how to be myself without apology, hesitation or doubt. Taking it one step at a time.

 Tomorrow, the road beckons me home.  Very soon my long journey will come to an end. Rest and repose? Oh yeah! Maple syrup making? Hell yes! Fiddle practice? Family beware, it's been awhile.  In the meantime, I am happy to say my days of owning a storage unit has met its demise. That darn storage unit!! (said with a twinkled eye and shaking fist)

It's good to be back!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Completed Spice Rack!

It's been a long time coming, but at last I am happy to announce the completion of my intern project: a spice rack for the kitchen. Whoo hoo! There has been so much activity in the woodshop as of late, that finding a space to work has been damn near impossible. But last weekend, I took full advantage of a deserted afternoon to slip in and finish constructing my, well maybe masterpiece is too big of a word, but it certainly fulfills its purpose to a T!  I had so much fun in the woodshop figuring out all the different tools and dust off my old math skills. Measure twice, cut once and cross your fingers that the shelves sit more or less flat when all is said and done. Can't wait to start my next project!

Check out that craftsmanship!
Adding on the brackets
"I can't find anything in here!"
This is why a person could learn to hate cooking
the organized results

The spice rack in all its glory
The far side of the kitchen: revamped and user friendly

Sunday, February 19, 2012

As usual, us interns have been thrown into a plethra of activities and the past few weeks have been no exception. Jack of all trades is what we are all becoming, as everyday is a new lesson.  Recently, it's been hiking up into the hills to understand the benefits of creek pillows as a way resolve soil erosion, ironworks with Aurelio, our onsite blacksmith, who showed us how to make a nail, hunting cardboard in the woods, building hotbeds, re-covering a basic greenhouse, sustainable tree harvesting in the forest... to name but a few. It's been exciting times here at the farm that's for sure. And now, into our final two weeks, we are abuzz with putting together our intern event for the community of Petaluma. All the while soaking up those final days as interns. Below is just a small sample of what we've been up to recently.
The crew all out for a walk with Bob

Checking out the health of a tree

An afternoon atop the hill

All nestled in ready for a ride in the back of the pickup
Lesson in ironworks with Aurelio

Aurelio sharing his wisdom 

Mike taking notes

Hunting day with the winterns. Gonna catch us some cardboard!
Ready, Aim, Fire!

Load 'em up Clay!
We built a hot bed to grow tomatoes!

Wes checking out our planted seeds
Chicken sitting time with Emily and Clay
Brian and Mike on their way to get some goat compost

Clay-Psyched to Prune
One of our final rows of fruit trees to prune

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"I'm not a hunter, I'm a killer" -Bob Cannard
Yessir, the time came to learn how to shoot a gun here at Green String. The big game? The ever elusive, well camouflaged cardboard box. These strange square-looking creatures are known to remain inanimate for very long periods of time, great for first time hunters.  In firing off several rounds, us beginners proved to have better aim than anticipated. The verdict? We got 'em. We got 'em good.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chickens and tractors....

Rain has come at last to our little farm, not to mention, the whole surrounding area. What a treat for the plants to finally get a nice long drink of water. They sure could use it too, and already looking out to the fields and gardens, it is easy to see the change of the landscape. Plants stand a little taller, trees look a little greener, birds sing a little louder. Yes, this rain has been good. During this time, us little interns have hunkered down for the weekend, taking the time to enjoy some down time and stay dry and out of the rain. But come tomorrow, back out we go. It should be an exciting day, tramping through the clay-like mud. Already, our boots, clothes and house have been covered in this soft mucky matter. It brings out laughter and smiles, but also the mutters of "we need to keep the house clean!", something which is difficult when living in a house of 12, add in a little mud and you've got chaos! But that's all part of the process no?
Our weeks are beginning to dwindle now. With only a handful left, it seems like we have only just begun. Over the past few weeks, we've been meeting and talking with prospective interns looking to get a place for next semester. Is it that time already? Yes, good golly. And soon, just as quickly as we came, most of us will take our leave, off on new adventures. But let's focus on the now.  The future will come soon enough.
Last week was exciting. The highlight (depending on who you ask...) of chicken killing on Wednesday (the chicken I'm afraid has little to comment on this lesson). Leading up to the day, I deliberated whether I would partake in this lecture.  Being rather fond of all creatures great and small, and growing up a vegetarian, killing an animal for food hasn't been a subject that has crossed my mind all too often. With  Wednesday approaching, my decision was made. I decided I would attend, and witness the show. Bob, realizing that this subject was not for everyone, approached the lesson with great compassion.  He spoke softly and gently, whereas in most of our other lectures his voice booms with passion. But this was an occasion to be humble and quiet. I had envisioned the process to be an aggressive struggle of man vs chicken, with a lot of distressed clucking of the rooster and, but was surprised how little stress the task was. Bob's method: an axe and burlap sack. There were three birds slated for the demonstration. I stayed for one, but after the first, felt I had seen enough and was content to spend the rest of the lecture wandering about the grounds instead. This was alright. I now know how to kill a chicken, though doubtful if I will ever find myself wielding the axe.  Bob, knowing what he was doing, went through the steps explaining in detail what he was doing.  The roosters head was cut with one fell swoop. It would take others a few turns. A burlap sack was utilized to contain the birds wings throughout the affair.  I learnt that the bird, after the head has been removed, will continue to convulse a few times as it's body begins to die. This was the hardest part for me, watching the headless body continue to move with blood from the neck oozing to the ground below.  Not for the faint at heart, that's for sure.  With a vat of hot water ready, depluming was the next step, then the removal of organs. I am grateful to have seen the process.  I wouldn't call it my favourite lesson by any means, but one in which I took away great learning...and felt humbled by. We have the power to take life, but hopefully we use that power wisely, taking only what is needed and with reason. I think the process of killing an animal for food is something that more people in our society should experience. To know how we get the food that we eat, and to know where it comes from, begins to break down the barrier between ourselves and our food. We could all use some perspective.
Thursday's lesson in turn, was a lighthearted change in gears. As we stood out in the first bouts of rain, we learnt a different skill: how to drive a tractor.  Firstly, I have been attempting to learn how to drive stick shift. In the handful of times I have sat in the drivers seat, though there are minor improvements, and my confidence goes up, I would say, it is a difficult thing. But to stand in front of a tractor, with its many levers and gears surrounding you from all sides, it amazes me that it is more simple to drive a manual tractor than a car. Or is it? Maybe there is truth that in a car, I am over-thinking it. You certainly have less traffic to worry about while manuevering a slow moving, easy riding tractor!  Maybe, next time I sit in the drivers seat of a manual car, I will find driving it a little more easy. Fingers crossed.
What, oh what, I wonder will be in store for this week? As I rub my hands together, I can only imagine. One thing is for certain. There will be a lot more pruning of trees in the mornings.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

House of Muir

Saturday morning. Ahh the weekend! 'What, oh what to do with the day?' I sat wondering, while sipping on my morning tea. The last two days of rain were slowly letting up, and it seemed like a perfect day to go exploring. I decided to take a trip to Martinez, CA to visit the house of John Muir.
I am not sure what the heck I learnt in school, but the more I grow older, and tour around this country, the more I realize there are significant gaps of fascinating history and people who never made it into my education. What on earth did they teach me in school? John Muir and the many national parks certainly were not subjects covered in any of my classes. The only thing I can recall from my school days, is the endless teachings about WWI and WWII, which though heavy and significant to know about, has also left me with giant voids of information. But I won't dwell, for surely the knowledge of trench foot and mustard gas will be helpful in my future no?! 
Admittedly, if you were to ask me a year ago, who John Muir was, I would probably shrug and reply "I think he is someone who makes stickers of trees."  Yosemite? "A vague concept of a place in the west, envisioned as an overpopulated RV/Car campground."  I kid you not. Sad isn't it? But that all changed last summer, when I had the sweet priviledge to see Yosemite first hand, spending several days exploring the different areas, peaks, views and venture off the beaten path to really see and absorb the beauty and heart of this National Park. In the fall, again, my eyes and feet were given a treat as I hiked a portion of the John Muir trail. In all my life, I have never set foot in a more incredible and enchanted place.  Everywhere I looked, was one captivating moment after the next. I could spend weeks, months or an entire lifetime in that land and feel as though I were seeing it all for the very first time. And all of this was all thanks to one man. Who, I wondered time after time, was this John Muir? Tid-bits began to seep in about his life, passion and tireless work to preserve some of the natural beauty of this country. And from there the learning has begun!
Since my time on the trail and visit to Yosemite, my interest in the area and the man has grown. I have come to look and appreciate all wild areas with a new eye. Recently, I've been watching Ken Burns series: National Parks; America's Best Idea.  This documentary in itself is inspirational, taking the viewer from one park to the next, giving context, history and accounts of early visitors and their tireless struggle to save these wild places. It moves my heart.

Simultaneously, I picked up a book by Donald Worster entitled, A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir.  It follows Muir from a child in Scotland through his life in America and has begun to unravel the man behind the legend. I am enrapt, and find myself being pulled out to the wilds, desiring to explore and filled with a great curiosity to understand how I am connected to the natural world around me. Once read, I will begin to read Muir's own works. 
So today, with Muir swirling in my mind and thoughts, I decided the days adventure should be to explore Muirs home in Martinez, where he lived with his wife and two daughters, tending his father-in-laws orchards, and where he would write the majority of his books. Though after Muir had died, and many other owners lived in the house prior to the Parks Service scooping it up to turn into a historical site, the house continues to stand as it used to. The rooms have changed over the years and the furniture not original to the house, the site paints a picture of what times looked like during Muir's time. The grounds, once lush and large, have now been whittled down to a small section, with a small orchard of plums, apples, apricots, peaches, oranges and cherry trees still remaining. Surrounding the homestead, is highway and suburbs.  It is a reminder as to how much time has changed. But still, as one walks through the house and grounds, it is easy to get a sense of Muir's life, his restlessness for the Sierras, and the inspiration that drove him to fight for his beloved Yosemite. 
Headed home, after visiting the house, I grew silent in thought, absorbing the experience. A dawning was about to occur. If you love something, or have an interest in something, than it doesn't matter where you are, what you are doing, or how it is done, it is your inspiration and desire alone that sets you in motion, to learn, to fight, to experience and to seek out those passions. That is how we grow.  Not everywhere we go in life, will we find teachers. Sometimes, it is us that must become our own teacher, our own motivator.  This is a lesson I have been trying to grasp and understand here at the farm. Being a teacher doesn't mean that you have to know it all. To me, it means that your mind is open to learn, and all it takes is for that first step to set your course. This is the school of life. And today, I think I've just become both student and faculty.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

More shots from the farm!

Nothin' like a little sunshine on yer socks... 
Walking to work in the morning

The crew awaits what's in store for the day

Laura and Wesley on peaceful afternoon

Rick, teaching us about being bee-releasers.
He makes his own hives!

Learning about how to be a bee-releaser

Attentive listeners during lecture at Bob's

Beautiful smiling Chip and Rochelle

At the table ready for lesson at Bob's.  Notice the teaching tools in
the front: a bottle of wine and a pack of smokes. 

Our teacher Bob Cannard

Updates from the farm

Greetings to you from a warmer nook of California. It still seems to boggle my mind that it is firstly January, and secondly that the weather feels more like an early fall day. Winter what?
Farm life continues to truck on.  Now with only 6 weeks left to the program, I find myself wondering where the time has gone? What will the second half of this internship look like?

Our daily routine is more or less set, us little interns wake up, eat our hearty breakfast and brave the early morning frost.  I've been on chicken chores for the past two weeks, which entails an early morning harvest of green leafy num nums for the creatures. With a frosty morning, and frozen plants, this has led to frozen fingers on more than one occasion. Nothing like a warm rising sun to help defrost the ole digits! By 10am, frost and being cold is as far from one's mind as could be, as the layers are shed while digging into the mornings work. What has been on the plate as of late? Painting the exterior of the restrooms, hoeing garlic, hoeing weeds, harvesting vegetables galore, pruning apple trees to name a few, all the while sneaking samples of cheese from the farm store!

In class, we have been focusing on pruning, and spent an entire week, discussing, watching, and finally getting to prune a few trees ourselves. The rule of thumb? Practice only makes you more knowledgable, you can never over prune a tree, (however if you prune too much the chances that you'll get any fruit become less and less), and keep your fingers away from the saw. Apparently, I wanted a little extra practice and went for my finger. Nothing to be worried about, but hopefully trees aren't as sensitive to pain as humans are.

An exciting discovery was made earlier last week. As I went to check on my little carrot patch, I noticed that there were four little green rows where I had planted peas over a month ago. To my delight and surprise, after giving up all hope that these peas would grow, there they were at last, all reaching upwards to greet the sunshine and world above.  What is it about seeing something sprout up and grow bring such joy into my heart?

As interns, we are asked to create and see through a project of our choice (a personal project) that gives back to Green String in some way. Everyone has been abuzz recently, talking and planning out what they will do for their project.  For me, I decided to build a spice rack for the intern house. The idea came rather quickly, as our kitchen is the most popular place in the house, but also the most disorganized and relatively useless set up. Imagine this if you will. On the opposite side of room from where the stove and counter are, along the floor, sits all our grains, flour and cooking foods. Near the stove, stands this sturdy tall shelf, which houses a disarray of jars filled with herbs and spices. This shelf would be better served  to house all the food containers bringing them closer to the cooking area.  Then, creating a better system that would allow anyone who cooks to not only better access the ingredients, herbs and spiced they need.  Our teacher Bob Cannard, has been teaching us how to use various power tools and saws in the woodshop, and have put together the plans for a basic shelf that will hold all our jars of spices and herbs.  This evening, I began my project.  With all the boards now cut and marked for the shelf grooves, it will soon be time to assemble the beast and get it into the kitchen! My first independent woodworking project- I'm excited to construct it and see how it will turn out.

This week, also comes the lesson that I have been dreading. Harvesting a chicken. Actually, according to Bob, we'll be harvesting not one, but three. This will be my first experience watching an animal be killed. I've already been privy to watching the depluming of both a rooster and duck, but to see something go from alive to very much not, will be something else. I'm sure I will have a thought or too once the lesson is over. Gulp!