Paul informed me today that we have been approved through the USDA for two grants. One for a new hoop house and the other for funds to develop and NOP, or National organic program to help develop a…well this. Basically, the government will pay for you to become organic. We are already Certified naturally grown. Quite exciting. There aren’t very many people in the great state of Arkansas participating in these programs. When Paul called to the USDA office to see about applying, the person on the other end of the line didn’t even know what he was talking about, because there aren’t a whole lot of takers in this area. Paul had to be passed off to one of the higher ups to get any information. But we’re in there for better or for worse.
So, we have been busy the last month with house guests and currently, today received one more. Courtney and Grace came to us from the “Garden State”, Bruce Springstein bandanas and all. They were hard workers on and off the field. They stayed in the luxurious RV for four weeks total before they high-tailed it down to the great state of Texas for some goat farm action. They’re lucky that they did, because right after they left the temperatures dropped, freezing! Inside our house we have had a fire going for the last couple of days. Nuts, it’s March what? During their stay Alyssa from Chicago also joined us. She was on spring break from the College of Wooster in Ohio…yeah, I’m not sure where that is either. Alyssa only stayed a week, and for future WWOOF’ers, that’s not long enough. It’s amazing how quickly seven days flies by on the farm. Nonetheless she was a great help while she was around. Speaking of Chicago, we have a new WWOOF’er who just showed up about an hour ago. I don’t know much about him, except his name is Eric, he has a red beard, he drives a Buick Skylark (it’s dark blue), he was wearing glasses when I first saw him and the next time I saw him the glasses had dissapeared…and…..yeah, that’s all I know about the guy as it stands. I will have more deets after I grill him over dinner. OOOOOHHHH, he’s from Chicago…remember, I said “speaking of Chicago”, I almost lost my point there. He also has a nice tone to his voice, like he should be on the radio or something. I know what you’re thinking, “great Amanda, this tells us NOTHING”. And you may be right. I was all jazzed up to sit here and vent, but my vent is turning into nonsense, and sometimes, nonsense is the best sense.
January-ish, possibly early February, greenhouse and gorilla(s).
Snow and freezing temps outside, almost 70 inside AND it’s not even insulated yet!
Inside Hoop house, snow on the ground outside.
Lettuce on the inside.
A team of tree cutters came through and cut down a bunch of trees lining the driveway because they interfered with the power lines. This is a group of neighbors helping to clean up the mess that the tree guys left.
Back side of the greenhouse.
Paul and intern Johnathon putting up a gutter on the hen house to catch water for them to drink.
Rose, the first place volunteer in our ever-expanding group of volunteers and Grace, one of our latest WWOOFers getting rid of the lettuce in the hoop.
Courtney, WWOOFer #2, keeping it real, building potato beds in Carharts. And to all of my Humboldt homies, she’s wearing a “Drive thru Tree” hat from Leggett California.
Johnathon, Grace, Courtney, Amanda making potato beds.
Courtney and Grace stayed for a month volunteering for us.
Stuccoing the Greenhouse was part of the agenda.
Ike took this picture.
Lettuce out, potatoes in.
Plantin’ ain’t easy.
John and another guy, I don’t know his name. But, he came for a day to volunteer.
Tractor came to plow it up.
Zack. Says he’s “WWOOFing”, but I’m not so sure. He has a strong back, but if he could only get up before 2.
More tractor action.
This is Courtney and I getting ready for 26 high school students to come and volunteer. We’re straight up bustin’.
These students were from all of the area high schools. They are a part of a program called “Upward Bound”. Their supervisors found our farm through a volunteer list serve via the University of Arkansas. I was worried that these kids wouldn’t be into it, but was pleasantly surprised at how into it they were.
So we are turning over the dirt that the tractor plowed, to get rid of the grass and roots.
I gave them a greenhouse tour. See the girl in the blue? She was the only one who was not into this farming thing. She picked at the same clump of roots for two hours. It’s cool girl, that’s why you’re in that program…you’re a somebody who has options. Farming isn’t for everybody.
We had them plant potatoes too. We have about 2000 sq. ft. planted.
The girl with the sunglasses on told us her sister was “impregnated”. It was random, and funny, but that’s Arkansas for you.
This patch was tilled up to eventually plant sweet potatoes but for now, it will be an irish potato patch…because the theme of this photo essay is POTATO.
This is Alyssa, she visited us from Ohio for her spring break.
Here’s a better picture of Alyssa. Thanks for your help girl, it was fun having you.
Here’s some community garden action happening. The group dug a trench and is laying pipe for water spigots throughout the garden.
And this was this morning, when Grace and Courtney were leaving. They are off to Texas, continuing their farm tour of America, and we are keeping on here on the farm. Best of luck Ladies, you were an awesome help!