View from the shower
I hate to say it but my clothes have reached a degree of filth previously unknown to me in my 23 years. Despite washing my work jeans weekly, they are now permanently stained with dirt. In fact, while drying on the line they had a faded stripe of light brown down each leg and the ends of the legs have changed color all together. Of course, I have other clothes for the evenings and a shower to use so I don't let the filth last. It's nice however to have clothes that can get anything on them without a care- grease, mud, cleaners, manure...
One of the compost piles
Yes, manure. The best way to make rich compost is to use animal excrement combined with hay and let it sit for a long time. To assist the breakdown process you must turn the compost every couple of months or so depending on the size of the pile. And that's what we did on Friday. Polly brought in the backhoe which has a bulldozer implement. She picked up huge loads of manure and moved it a few feet away to create a new pile. Our job was to use fork hoes to even out each layer of manure and cover it in hay. As the pile got larger the new loads became less stable on top and, as you can guess, large blobs would come rolling down, right onto our boots. So now there is manure on my work clothes too. It was a fast process so once it ended we'd hardly had time to think about it. The best part about it all was the fact that we were soon going to take a welcomed break and go to a tea party. No, not the political kind, it's doubtful those happen around here. One of Polly's friends has people over every other Friday for tea, snacks, and conversation. So Polly, Josh, and I had been working with manure and Ann had been working with the tractor. In other words, shit and grease...and tea. They still let us in, and even let us sit in the nice dining room. The woman raises chickens, rabbits, and ducks and gave us eggs. The duck eggs are huge!
Attempting the wonderful
Other than forking cow poo, we did a LOT of other things this week. Raked the irrigation pond (aka muckraking), replaced hoe blades, vacuumed the office, thrashed and planted oats, sharpened knives, moved the brush, transplanted seedlings, planted geraniums and begonia cuttings, cleaned the outdoor shower, planted leeks, scallions, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, weeded the radishes, and the salad mix, cut branches off a tree, cut barbed wire, and set up sprinklers. It's hard to list all of that. Doing so much really makes the week fly by. At night we can hardly do more than the most basic tasks. It's a successful night if we can take showers, use the internet, and do laundry. One night we showered, used the internet, popped popcorn, and watched a movie. That was huge.
Floyd on a Friday night
As for this weekend, we have a consensus: Floyd > Roanoke. For a change of scene, Josh and I decided to drive to Roanoke to see a movie. When we got there we were both hungry and couldn't find a decent place that wasn't too fancy or closed. After driving up and down the same streets we realized this place was not very cool. We finally found a Mexican restaurant and did what anyone would do in a lame town: get drunk and sing really loudly all the way home. We didn't even go to the movie. Oh well. Favorite song right now: Sweet Tooth- Dave Rawlings Machine. Look it up!
I apprenticed on a farm in southwest Virginia from April-October 2010. This blog contains all the anecdotes and observations from that adventure.
See more of my photos here