Saturday, May 30, 2009

Outside Burlington, VT

Last night was such a wonderful night. This weekend the house was rented out, so everyone moved to the big white house except for The Logger and I, who stayed in Bonnie and Oliver's apartment. I headed over to the big white for dinner last night and everyone was sitting in the living room playing guitar and singing. I started to think about how lucky I am to be in a place with so many wonderful and interesting people. I have already been feeling this way or a long time, but last night I was really feeling it. It was surreal to be in such a wonderful place full of so much love. Everyday is a new confirmation that I made the right choice by leaving the life I used to have.

Dresden, Kelly, Elyssa and I went to Burlington for the day today. The drive up here was so amazing. I have to get out of Manchester to be reminded of just how beautiful Vermont is. This place is so different from everywhere else I have ever been. I guess I haven't spent much time in small towns, but I love them so much. I was so excited to see Burlington, because I had never been there before. I found myself a little disappointed. It looks just like Boulder. It's such an engineered city, planned to look the way it does and attract the kind of people who live there. I like it just fine, but I wouldn't want to live here. I've always known that I prefer to be in a huge city or a tiny town. Medium sized cities give me trouble. However, I had a great time, especially sitting out in the park being surrounded by so many people. I forget about the rest of the world when I am at Teleion.

I'm looking forward to going over to Dorset for the summer, but I'm not super-excited to be leaving my wonderful Teleion house-mates (or my private bathroom). The kinds of stresses I will have will be completely different. At Teleion I worry about the plants being too overgrown before getting transplanted, and I worry about cucumber beetles. The theatre is such a rush to get many complicated things done in such a short amount of time. There are weeks of relaxation, followed by a sleepless week of changeover. I'm glad to have a world separate from the theatre to escape to.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

OK, this post has been sitting open on my computer for a week now and I haven't put it up. I can't deal with myself. Sorry I'm so lame.

I have some fun things to talk about, including bike rides and food (of course). Yesterday Dresden asked me if I was up for a bike ride, and Kelly and Elyssa were into it as well as myself. Guv was standing there while we talked about it so he of course wanted to come. The only problem with that is that his little bike is not so safe to be taking out on the street. There's this crazy bike attachment that can be put onto another bike that would allow him to ride beind as a kind of trailer. It basically adds another person and another wheel to the bike. There were several obstacles involved in this: The bike it attaches to is too tall for me, so riding it is possible, but stopping is tricky and impossible with Guv on the back without someone to hold the bike up. Guv also has no sense of balance on a bike, so when he peddles he shifts his weight wildly. We got around this by agreeing that Guv should only peddle when we were going up a hill. The last problem, and most obvious one is that pulling Guv up a hill on the bike is freaking hard. We only did three really tough hills, but by the last one I was sure I was going to die. The up side of all of this is that when we were on straight road, or going downhill having Guv on there was no problem at all and he was great biking company. I'm glad he came along, it was fun to have him back there there whole time and made the ride so much more interesting.

Today was a potato day at Theo's. However, before we could head over a number of confusing things had to happen. Guv had to get to school, the white van needed to be loaded up, Oliver needed to do tractor work at the big white and then drive it over to Theo's and someone needed to pick up lime from the Big White. Bonnie couldn't take Guv though because Oliver had driven the minivan to the big white and all of the kid's car seats were in there. Dresden and I offered to take him in the Jeep, then swing by the big white and pick up the lime and the minivan while everyone else took the white van to Theo's and Oliver would drive over with the tractor and meet us there. This seemed to be a great plan, until Dresden and I passed the white van in town. Everyone was sitting on the curb and the van was parked. They had run out of gas and Mike and Elyssa had hitched a ride to the gas station. Dresden and I still needed to get the lime and the minivan and head back to Teleion before going to Theo's, so we said we'd look for them on the way back, as they seemed rather content. Things took a little longer than planned and by the time we got back to where they had been, they were gone. Turns out that The Logger saw Mike walking back and picked him up. Problem solved. On to Theo's.

We spent some of the morning and all of the afternoon there planting our own potatoes and helping him plant his. It's amazing how much can get done in a short time, with a good group of focused and willing people. We planted about ten beds of potatoes, which was close to 500 lbs. A good potato yeild will give us 10 lbs for every one lb, but we will probably get closer to 5-7 lbs per 1 lb, which is still a lot of freaking potatoes. Oliver used his tractor to make the furrows that we plant to potatoes in, and in order for the thing to work properly two people need to stand on it. I really wanted to get a picture of it, but before I could get my camera out, Theo's brother declared the activity unsafe and put a stop to it. Boo.

After many, many hours of working, Theo took us all over to his neighbor's pond for swimming. Bonnie came with the kids and some bathing suits. Talula did not like the cold water, but I couldn't get enough. I kind of wanted to swim all the way across, but the water was so cold it was hard to breath, so I stayed close to the shore. I wanted to bake in the sun a little (or allow my clothes to bake, as I was wearing about ten layers of sunscreen by that point), but Theo's brother again ended our party and told us it was time to go.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

I've been slowing down on the blogging, but not because there isn't anything to say. In fact, I have too much to say. We've been so busy planting, cooking, welcoming new people, getting the soil ready, and cleaning up neglected areas. A few new WWOOFers have come and things have been getting done so quickly. It's wonderful to have so much activity in the house and the fields. I especially like looking up from whatever I'm working on and reminding myself that while I'm working on this one project, someone else is getting something else done. A few weeks ago if Elyssa and I weren't doing it, it wasn't getting done yet.

The newest WWOOFers are Nathaniel, The Poets (Sara Rose and Mike), Dresden, and Kelly. They came almost all at the same time, but spread out enough for people to get a general feel of things before new people arrived. It's great that everyone is so positive and willing to work. The whole vibe of the house has changed drastically with so many people buzzing around doing their thing. Sarah Rose and Dresden are both vegan so my desire to lay off dairy has become much easier as there is always vegan food available. Our pizza nights might turn into make-your-own-pizza nights, instead of ordering from Christo's.

The food projects have become rather interesting. I attempted to make rice milk twice, the second time worked out better than the first, though house consensus was that both were good substitutes for store bought, and were obviously cheaper. Oliver made soy milk yesterday and the okara byproduct is always an invitation for creative cooking. Okara is is a tasteless, dry-ish substance that makes a great filler with enough flavoring. Kelly and I worked on making "chicken" nuggets this morning. We made three different kinds: Curry-mustard, carrot-ginger, and tomato-basil. Kelly is wanting to expand her cooking knowledge so cooking by just tasting and throwing things in was a great way to spend the morning. After lunch we threw together some quick sauces and will have ourselves an okara feast for dinner. To make into more of a comfort food night there will be french fries (baked, actually) and sweet corn (off the cob).

Kelly and I went for a quick bike ride before heading back to Teleion to start prepping potatoes for planting, setting aside a few for french fries with dinner. It was a nice, short little ride and I'm glad that the new WWOOFers are so interested in outdoor activities. We even cut the potatoes outside because it was such a nice day. The black flies have become annoying, but not enough to actually keep a person inside. I have been chased inside a few times by allergies though.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Teleion Holon - Manchester, VT

OK, OK, Let's talk about the farm. Where did I leave off? After that crazy week of hot, summery weather Southern Vermont went back to Spring. It's been doing it's fair share of raining and it's not cold, but having jacket ready is a good idea.

We're a little more than half way through the tomato planting process. One greenhouse is done and Elyssa and I started the other one yesterday. The greenhouse we use to start the plants was so full of tomatoes it was hard to find room for new things. It's nice to get them out of there and into the ground where they belong.

The tomatoes make the back of the van look like a jungle

I'm going to try and remember my camera today to make some photos of the finished greenhouses. The smaller greenhouse has really wonderful beds in it. We put down the mud we got from the bottom of the pond, covered it with peat moss, mixed in some lime and chicken poop and then went over all of it with the tiller. What we ended up with was a fluffy raised bed that is so easy to plant in that we don't need a shovel. The tomatoes were into it.

We've got three new WWOOFers coming this weekend. One today and two more on Sunday. Elyssa, Oliver and I have been working crazy-long days to get all of this stuff done; it will be such a relief to have three more helpers. We spent some time getting more organized so that it would be easier for the three of them to get quickly into the swing of things.

Bonnie and I took all of Wednesday to clean out the basement, clean out two supply closets, get those supplies together to put in the closets, and we made up the new WWOOFer rooms. I love the basement right now. I've been harassing Elyssa to go down there and look at it while it's still clean. We got rid of most of the stuff that was junking it up, but I suspect that more junk will make its way down there and the cleanliness won't last. But maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong.

A bag of overgrown potatoes we found while cleaning. At first glance we both thought they were a bag of white sticks.

One thing I'm very excited about is that there will be three more people to split up the letting out of the chickens at 5:30AM. I know everyone thinks that we get up at start work at 5AM everyday because it's a farm, and maybe that's what other farmers do, but we don't. I think the veggies like to have the early morning hours to themselves anyway. Anything earlier than 6AM is just mean and those chickens are the meanest.

Some cool news:
Solving the problem of "Range Anxiety" in electric cars
Europe pisses off Canada