For as slow as farm life goes, those three months sure went fast! The last week of July marked my final week on the farm. Who knew it would be so emotional too! This entire internship has been like an extended trip to summer camp...building friendships, living with lots of dirt and bugs, and learning and growing as an individual. Like my momma says...it's hard coming down from these mountain-high experiences...literally.
It was fantastic being around these farmers...such real, genuine people. I was able to put away the outfits, hair-dryer, make-up, and yes, even showers and deodorant, for a few days at a time. The only judgement I got was for not wearing enough sunscreen...and I see that as a life-saving suggestion :)
As Julie did in her blog, here's a little blurb on these fine folks:
Kate. As one of my roommates, she was the first intern I met. My first impression was her plopping down on our couch with the lovely large college-style pillow in her lap, ready to chat with me about my story coming to the farm....because of this I bonded with her the most...and I knew then that this was going to be a fun summer with her :) When our managers asked one of us to step up to a task, she was first to volunteer (until Dave came!) regardless of whether she knew what the project was, or if she could handle it. She's a girly girl of much strength, inside and out. Real. To the point. No BS. And always asked me if it looked like something was bothering me. And my partner in crime for Starbucks, roadtrips, and an occasional drink to give us an excuse to enjoy some time off the farm. IMUNNAMISSCHOOO! :)
Sandy. She was my 2nd roommate, brave enough to ditch the only place she knew, warm and sunny LA, for exploring another garden path in life. My first impression was her lugging my 2 ton bag of shoes out of my car and to my room, regardless of my pleas for her to not worry about it. Firecracker indeed! She was initially skeptical of nice people, especially those drivers on the country roads that would always wave at her when she ran, but she eventually warmed up to them :) I was a terrible and messy roommate, but Sandy was very motherly in keeping the apartment tidy and homely, even by cooking for me and Kate. And she loved weeding :)
Avana. She came to the farm a few weeks after me, and I first thought she was the most innocent of everyone, so wasn't sure what to say or not say around her. Turns out that she craves a good debate, but I'm still not sure she approved of my jokes when she gave me the shocked 'look'. Each of us interns took a couple days to get adjusted to farm life, but not Avana. She started on day one...and started with digging potato mounds. Now that is hard core! I told her to take a break, but she just winked and smiled...Avana style ;) She invented the Rototill dance, always made sure I was wearing sun protection, and I opened her eyes to going out for drinks with friends :)
Julie. This girl does not stop laughing, I love it! At first I couldn't believe that someone could laugh this much without giving themselves side stitches, but Julie disproved this theory right away. Most of us interns secluded ourselves from the rest of the community, and Julie miraculously bridged the gap with her compassion for everyone. She is not intimidated by creepers or new adventures with random people. Julie's also great at sharing: music, birthday breakfasts, kombucha...and the coolest present ever: my handmade Ree-may shirt! So creative and thoughtful!
Dave. This guy would not stop volunteering...more noted, he was always the first to volunteer. I first thought as the only male intern that he was attempting to prove his manhood to us established lady interns, but Dave was just naturally eager to get the most out of his experience here on the farm. His enthusiasm for organic farming is so strong that he actually practices what he preaches. While most of us compromise with what's available in this non-organic society, Dave has set a standard for what he eats, even if it's the more difficult thing to do...like making most of his food from scratch, and not being afraid to tell his mom he won't eat her food. Thank goodness for the college situation that brought him here! :)
Alisha. When I think of strength and determination, I think of Alisha. Specially, I think of how she snugs those irrigation pipes with such emphasis! :) If she's going to do something, she's going to do it well! Alisha did not hesitate to ask questions, and I don't know how she could come up with one after another, but that's how she knows so much. I especially admire how she's applying what she's learning about preserving to her personal life, moving from city to city via train...and on a budget. We'll all learn best by making acquired knowledge relevant to our situations. And she was always great at shining a new light on situations or opinions..."Well yes, I see your point, however..."
Sylvan. Slave driver. Ok, not quite, but close :) She has a real personal relationship with the garden and took garden work very seriously, as managers should to keep business going. This was Sylvan's first year as garden manager, so kudos for managing all 7 of us! (8 including Patrick :) We bombarded her with questions, and she answered each thoughtfully...digging deep into her wealthy memory database. She was always in touch with the land, seeing things that us innocent interns overlooked. I could see the real passion come out when we enjoyed her delicious recipes at her hip potlucks.
Patrick. Dreamer, storyteller, teacher, jokester, poet. He was the other garden manager, telling us many stories of his past travels and experiences that brought him to where he is today. What we first thought would be short stories became hours of detailed tangeants to a story, complete with jokes and life lessons. And suddenly it was lunch time! Us interns had Patrick all to ourselves on Mondays, so we soon learned that although Mondays included smelly compost and trench digging, it was also a day to ask lots of questions, and sit, reflect, and enjoy.
We all have a passion for the fields. We are proud of our hard work. All of us are strong, eager to learn, and even more eager to help. We all realize that there's more to life than money and reality TV shows and who won the super bowl. And we all want to educate the rest of the world with what we learned on the farm, so that we can together improve the world.
This crew has opened my eyes to farming, lifestyles, and myself. I am so appreciatives of this experience...it has really been more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined :)