Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Rabbitstick

October 13, 2013

When I was looking into taking time off from work and figuring out my path it was important to me to have at least one thing to look forward to each month, be it a farm to visit, a camping trip, a trip out of the country, or a chance for learning.  During the time I was planning everything out I came across a notebook where I had written ideas for things to do in the future.  In that book was written ‘Rabbitstick’.

Living in a place where the importance of DIY, sustainability, survival, and knowledge play out in conversation daily, I knew Rabbitstick, a primitive learning gathering in Idaho would be a good option to pursue.

I left for Rabbitstick in September with all my camping gear, sunscreen, and an eagerness to do it all.  A week of learning and community, and me an open book.

I arrived on a Friday with the actual even beginning Monday after every one else (for the most part) arrives on Sunday.  I set up camp near the shadow of trees alongside a huge open meadow, next to the snake river, which would be my bath for the next 9 days.

The path to the meadow.

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When Sunday arrived and the place filled with over 300 more people, the teachers and schedules came out, allowing me to ponder over and sign up for classes.  Knowing that I didn’t want to spend my whole time on one thing, like 3+ days of braintanning, I signed up for smaller time contraining classes, like knife making, duck processing, duck scalping, and fire making.

I spend the next week being immersed in a very kind open community, much like the cycling one I am lucky enough to have in the Bay Area.  For these people at Rabbitstick, THIS was their community. And I was happy to see that it did exist outside of the one I know and love at home.

My favorite part aside from meeting such wonderful people all of which are so eager to share their knowledge was duck processing.  Taught by Tom, who every year holds a huge lunch feast for all of camp, I learned how to take a duck (already dead this time), and make it into a meal.

In process while plucking feathers.

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The finished meal, alongside the damascus steel and horn knife I assembled.

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Another class Tom taught was scalping the duck, which enabled you to use the feathery scalp of the duck to decorate- I chose my knife sheath.

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Rabbitstick is an event that taught me a lot, opened up new ideas for me to pursue (hunting, fishing), gave me a chance to camp for days on end, meet incredibly kind people doing cool things with their lives, and will be a yearly opportunity that I take advantage of to reconnect with myself and others.

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Oregon Roadtrip Part 3

September 2, 2013

After leaving the farm I headed north west to the northern most part of the Oregon Coast- Astoria.

I wanted to go to Astoria because I am a huge Goonies fan and it felt like starting at the top would make the most sense.

In Astoria is the best fish and chips- Bowpickers, a boat parked on a hill across from the Maritime Museum.  The looong line was well worth the wait.

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My plan was the camp and bike around Fort Stevens State Park, an incredible place with a network of bike trails through spruce and hemlocks, and even a shipwreck.  But with summer still busy it’s camping spots were full so I headed south.  I ended up in Cannon Beach, a place I pulled off randomly to, which ended up being the place to stop- a beautiful beach full of sand dollars, art galleries, and lots of happy people!

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I stayed in Cannon Beach for the night, and then traveled south visiting the Tillamook Cheese Factory- yum to the 3 year aged white cheddar; and the Yaguina Head Lighthouse.  Then I was off to Bend!

Oregon Roadtrip Part 2

September 2, 2013

WWOOFing has led to incredible experiences for me.  In my two experiences I have met incredible hosts who have become friends, learned about running farms for profit, and for sustainability and to be less reliant on the food culture in the US, and have challenged myself by leaving everything I know daily behind for a new way of living.

Nagdeo Farm in Gresham Oregon felt like a totally different world even though it is just a bike ride to the town of Gresham and a 30 minute car ride to Portland.

If you know me you know how much my life is focused around planning, schedules, and the need to know.  When I go into a unique experience I am calmed by understanding what is expected of me, and how that relates to the bigger picture.  This is not how Nadgeo Farm is.  In contrast I had a few tasks to do during the day, but what I put in and got out of the experience was up to me (and the schedule of those around me).  The need to take care of oneself after a bad night sleep for example would take precedence over putting in physical work the next day.  Simply put, taking care of yourself takes precedence over everything else.

It took me a week to understand that, and to start to do the same.  I was concerned at first that I wouldn’t learn what I wanted to learn- farming.  But thankfully I did, alongside another way of living.

This is of of my hosts Tracy watering the garden area of the farm.

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While at Nagdeo I learned how to make planting beds and plant seeds and seedlings.  This is some of the completed beds, and some sweet pigs I was in change of bringing water too.

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One of the draws of Nagdeo Farm was all their animals- horses, goats, pigs, alpacas, a sheep, ducks, and a chicken.  My favorite was the super friendly goats.  Now I know I want chickens and goats when I have property.

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I plan to return to the farm and hopefully spend some more significant time there.  Hopefully with my move to Oregon in 2014 I will be able to visit often and get a better understanding of how to live a lifestyle that could be really beneficial to me physically and mentally.

Then and now

July 26, 2013

I have been spending the month of July in the Bay Area enjoying the warm weather, bike rides and bike events, friends, and re-visiting One Acre Farm.

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I revisiting One Acre Farm to thresh the wheat I helped harvest and enjoy a potluck.  I was amazed with how much everything has grown- especially the sunflowers which were small stalks when I left.  There were two other WWOOFers there, including one who was visiting specifically for the threshing.

To make a yummy meal boil the wheat berries, 3:1 ratio of waters to berries; add honey and banana.  Oh my!! Cereals have nothing on this breakfast treat.

This month also meant bikey event, including the 3rd year for Pedalfest at Jack London Square.  It was great to have a chance to hang with dozens in my bike community, and pose for ridiculous photos.

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Next month I will venture into Oregon.  I will be camping at Crater Lake with a visit to Wizard Island, visiting friends in Eugene, and then making my way to a farm just outside of Portland to learn about sustainable agriculture, and ancestral and homestead skills.

Farm re-wind

June 5, 2013

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I couldn’t have asked for a better experience with One Acre Farm in Morgan Hill.  Above are my hosts, Michelle (left) and Gal (right).

Now that I am back home, I am eager to find more opportunities to visit and work on farms, and eventually find its place within my own home.  I am looking into internship opportunities to help build on the skills I have learned so far.

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Wheat, really? Yea, wheat!

June 1, 2013

When I came to the farm 2 weeks ago I was eager and excited to learn, as I came in with no background but tons of inspiration around me. Here was this amazing opportunity that would allow me to learn skills on a small (<1 acre) but abundant farm, with the trade of my labor for a place in my hosts home and wonderful fresh meals. What a deal!

On my first day I noticed a triple row of high growing wheat. My host Michelle showed me how to remove the tops, roll it in my hand, and drop the seeds from hand to hand before eating it (threshing). It was chewy due to the fact it was still not ready, but it tasted great and I enjoyed that tenderness of the texture.

I really hoped to harvest it while on the farm, and was thrilled when yesterday, my last day working the farm, Michelle said we could harvest.

The wheat have turned a rich golden brown and become a firm texture. As we harvested we made small groupings, and then put the groupings together in a teepee shape to dry.   I was clearly proud!

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For tea

May 29, 2013

Today I harvested chamomile.

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One Acre Farm

May 26, 2013

Weeding, harvesting, reading, relaxing.

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Farmgirl

May 23, 2013

So I feel pretty legit. In addition to all the harvesting (napa cabbage, artichokes, snow and snap peas, and garlic) I also have sore legs and arms (from crouching and pulling, and digging, and reaching),  and a sore thumb (from a mean lemon tree poking me).  I am pretty sure that means I am a real farm hand.

Yesterday we did a huge harvest for the CSA, including home deliveries. After had a much needed mid-day nap.

Looking forward to hiking a huge mountain in the area, and riding coyote Creek Trail also on my time off.

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Day 1

May 21, 2013

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Woke up early and started the day before it rose to the mid 90s. Helped clear two rows of squash of weeds, trellessed one row of squash plants, collected eggs from the very sweet hens, and assisting in some organic debugging- smash! (So gross).