Published: September 16th 2008September 16th 2008
Well, so far my time here has been pretty eventful. I came to the farm at a turning/renewal point. Several people have decided to leave so we have a skeleton crew now (there are definitely farm politics/drama that I won't discuss here). One of those people that left was my boss (whom I hadn't met yet) so my
situation is interesting. I'm now hanging out with a fellow apprentice (he's been here since January though) and we're pretty much in charge of making plans for this new area we're going to put into production, which is cool because now I'm more part of the main crew and management.
The people here are still totally wonderful. I've been getting to know the property more (200 acres, but we leave most of it as rainforest), the towns more and the neighbors more. Our closest neighbors are actually from Sacramento (what a small world!) and moved out here with their three kids. The have a huge property and 12 horses (the mom rescues old track horses and abused horses as a hobby...she might take
on another 31 soon). Last night I went over and helped make some stir-fry...yummy. Someone who left the farm here is their personal assistant this week before she leaves for California and they asked me to stay there (I'd get my own room and would take care of their 3 great kids, plus get paid). It's quite tempting (maybe if the ant situation gets too bad I'll take them up), but I think that defeats the purpose of getting some farm experience. I'll still go over to visit though :)
So I started regular work here yesterday, except that nothing here is really regular, especially right now when the farm is going through such a transition, physically and management-wise. When Ben (the founder and boss) got back on Sunday, he went crazy with the lawn mower (by lawn mower I mean huge tractor machine with grass cutter on back) and has been cutting all the 6-7 ft tall guinea grass covering everything. Also since we're not really producing much for market right now, our only source of income are the "slow down" dinners we do, where we host the community (for a price, of course), and the cook makes a great home-cooked meal with our produce. We do have a lot of summer programs for college students and school children here, but now we're trying to diversify more and get more into eco-tourism because apparanty St. Croix just agreed to have a ton of cruise ships stop by here every year. We'll see how that goes...
My main work right now is to get some seeds started and to help prep the new beds, and make sure the chickens and rabbits and cats are fed. I cleared out some purple basil yesterday and made some delicious fresh pesto today! And of course I'm tropical fruit heaven! I eat 2 mangos a day when they're ripe, and there are so many different kinds of avocados and mangos, you can taste the difference between some varieties. Too bad I missed the pineapples, but they might come back before I leave.
The other night was pretty amazing. I went kayaking under the full moon in the harbor of the river with some friends...and then saw bioluminescence! It is the COOLEST thing ever. Wikipedia it or something, but there's still no good way to put it in words. Basically, it's when these microorganisms in the water turn bright green when disturbed. So if you swish your hand in the water there is lit up green water all around it. I hear the best place for it is in puerto rico. But maybe I'll try to go out again during a new moon when it's darker.
I still have yet to go to the beach! Tomorrow...
-Prices are inflated here, so a main dish at a restaurant usually costs more than $10. This island used to be the "bread basket" of all the islands. Now St. Croix imports 95% of it's food....sad....
-Lots of cockroaches
-Everyone is really chilled out here. Everyone views the islands as totally different from the continental U.S. and sees the states as really stressful to live in. It is definitely a slow life here. Everyday is about the same. The weather is the same all year round. It's pretty nice laying on a hammock here, petting one of the cats on my lap and listening to some bluegrass or reggae.
-some of these crazy ants actually DO bite...ughhhh
-forest noises are great, I love the dove coos
Alrighty...I'll keep ya updated...take care,