Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Just another day in the life of a faux farmer...

I wanted to tell you guys a little bit about this place, the background, and what it's like here.

First of all, we're on seven acres of weedy pasture, so it's pretty open and walkable. All the land in this area used to be sugar plantations, and there's still random patches of purple sugarcane around.
Along with the couple who owns this place, there are the other two volunteers and I, along with two golden retrievers who i LOVE: carny and kaimana an two cats. i don't know how many of you heard that aliza's much-loved (by all) shi tsu roxanne died, and it's been really sad for me. so having these two dogs has been great. they're total cuddlers and follow me around as i work. they lie next to me when i'm weeding, an cry at the door to my room if i'm in there too long.

anyway. i have my own room, but it's a sort of bunk room that would sleep two other people if they came. my room has a big sliding glass door that looks over to some hills in the west and faces the batthouse with the outdoor shower and the toilets (normal flush-toilets). you might be glad to know i have conquered my fear of going to the batthouse in the middle of the night, mainly by drinking less water before bed. you win some, you lose some.

i sleep with the screen shut but the curtain open, and i usually wake up with the sunrise, at about 6. I take my time getting up, and then depending on when i finally do get up i go to the temple and do yoga for an hour or two. it's peaceful in there, and i can put music on and really relax. breakfast is at 8:30, and we're called to breakfast by this bamboo horn-type-item. it's hot cereal (either mixed-grain or oatmeal) with fresh fruit and berries.

after breakfast, i get to work. yesterday liu zhi and i weeded this patch of land and then collected nutrients from various locations to put in the ground. then we used an electric rototiller to work the earth and mix those nutrients in to it. today we planted lettuce, bok choy, basil, and broccoli into that spot which was pretty satisfying. liu zhi is a WORKHORSE and does not tire. just so you know.

once that was done, we started our next project which is going to be cutting, staining an installing the trim and molding in three rooms. this is hard, especially because the drywall is not level and has to be filled in with plywood, etc... there's a lot to think about, and it's all totally new to me. we work four hours, but that gets cut up with breaks (you work at your own pace) and you get lunch yourself.

two nights a week dinner is my job and tonight was my first one. i made my chili and cornbread, and it was a hit! it was fun, and the best part about dinner duty is that you're off of dish duty.

there are so many things i want to tell you, but it's 8:30 which is almost past my bedtime. seriously. i'm going to lay down and listen to the cows mooing (all night, folks) and the geckos clicking. it's pretty windy now too, and the wind is loud through the tall weeds and palm trees.

so i guess i'll pick up tomorrow and tell you about my trip to town today and more jackfruit! and a new friend who wants to teach me to play the guitar!

**p.s. just realized that somewhere along the way i gave up capitalizing today. and i can't get the spell check button to work. sorry.


Phil said...

What exactly do you mean by "collecting nutrients"?

Also, did "vegetarian-style" turn out to be actually vegetarian, or like chicken with a TVP crust and Bragg's?

ilyushka said...

do you sleep well with the ... three cows a-mooing, two geckos clicking, wind all a-blowing in the tall grass and palms?

Stephanie said...

1. yeah, vegetarian-style is total bunk. they actually ate chicken on my first night here, though they said they only have that a couple times a year. they also TOTALLY eat fish. which in a way sucks, but there's always salad so i've been eating a lot of that.
2. i haven't really been sleeping well... i wake up and toss and turn and have crazy dreams when i do sleep... i think i'm still just getting used to the time change and all that.

Stephanie said...

Oh, I forgot. Collecting nutrients. There are three piles of things that have to be added to the soil. Compost, mushroom compost, and sand. They're located at various places throughout the farm and I had to go around and collect them (in the right ratios) in the wheelbarrow. I made the mistake of picking up the sand last and it was at the bottom of a hill. So Liu Zhi had to come rescue me so that the wheelbarrow didn't run me down.

tina said...

Steph, this sounds awesome! Can I join you? I'll collect nutrients.