There is really nothing like a good hard day's work. I feel kind of spoiled. The first four to five days of my time at the farm were extremely laid back and fun. Bettina and I hung out, checked on the animals, and cleaned random parts of the house. There was extremely limited gardening (which was surprising for all of the garden space that they have). We ate a lot and had many breaks. I'm not saying that we didn't work - we ended up doing the five hours of work required, but it wasn't back-breaking work. Then Luke was gone for two days, and I basically hung out with Emily and did some organizational things in the house. Well, Luke's back, and for the past three days (it might be two, my mind is shot) we've been hard-core gardening. We moved a compost pile to a new spot. We prepared seven 15 - 18 ft. corn beds. We mulched them (spread dry hay/straw over them). And today, I am clearing two 24 ft. beds that are overrun with weeds, nettles, etc. Sllightly insane-o.
But I truly can't complain. I eat well (and cook pretty well, too). I sleep well. I am surrounded by pretty amazing music and musicians. The family is awesome. I feel completely at home which is funny because this is completely different from my home or what my home used to be.
I also have, surprisingly, learned a lot about teaching. I came here like many students come to teachers - not knowing or beginning to know a concept/skill/etc. Luke has been and continues to be an amazing teacher. He models (excessively) how to do something, reiterates how to do it when I am making a mistake without making me feel like a complete imbecile, and praises without praising. This is a wonderful experience, and, to be honest, it will be pretty hard to leave. Fayetteville has its pluses (my friends, my students, and the Atlantic Ocean), but this particular farm has something for me that I've felt is lacking from my life - something to do at all times without the mind-numbing influence of television/random internet-surfing, a sense of belonging, and a renewed emphasis on health and what I put into my body. I am going to try really hard to replicate or search out those things in NC.
Last, but not least, the acceptance from Emily and Luke is amazingly refreshing and freeing. They don't question decisions; they let people be themselves. They are completely not dogmatic about what they believe in or their "life practices." And it's extremely noticeable, because that kind of thing isn't rampant in the places that I live to say the least.
On a less serious note, my hands look like they were in a crazy battle zone. I burned my hand on the convection oven at the big house (Luke's mom's house by the vineyard). I was bit by the cow. I cut a corner of my finger nail and finger with the knife while chopping up kale. I found two splinters lodged in my hand last night. I have little scratches on my hands and arms. And my hands are perpetually dirty. I love it!!
Tonight's plans... there's one more 24 ft. bed that needs to be cleared. I'm going to gather up some energy, rehydrate, and attempt to tackle it in 15 minutes. They are going to make sauerkraut (spelled correctly?). Hopefully, I can finish in time to help with that. I have to go check on one of the eggs in the incubator, because, fingers crossed, there is another baby chick about to hatch.
My traveling plans... I'm going to leave here on Friday morning and head to San Francisco. I'll hang out there for the day/night and then set up camp for the night. I'll continue exploring San Fran on Saturday and then head down the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway to San Luis Obispo and stay there for the night. Then I will make the (hopefully) three day trek to Fayetteville. Per my grandma "well, they won't fire you if you don't make it on time." True. :)