Thursday, October 14, 2010

Still tryin.....

So I think about writing every day! Really I do! I know what keeps me back.......the line between the Feral Farmer and me. I guess looking at it more personal vs. professional. But I have really just come to the decision to do away with that line. Because I am the Feral Farmer. And no, feral is not defined by using the word cats. Cats can be feral, but they are not one in the same ; ) Personally I have been obsessed with feral children ever since I can remember. I think I have a connection with them (since I believe I am a bit feral myself). Feral cats fascinate me too. Cats in general do. I believe I have a connection with them as well. So in these connections I went searching for a true definition of feral.

I like what wikipedia says..."A feral organism is one that has escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to a wild state. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, can disrupt ecosystems and may, in some cases, contribute to extinction of indigenous species. However, returning lost species to their environment can have the opposite effect, bringing damaged ecosystems back into balance"

merriam webster says this...": of, relating to, or suggestive of a wild beast
2a : not domesticated or cultivated : wild b : having escaped from domestication and become wild "

So I see myself definitely not domesticated, not so much as a wild beast, but driven; my drive is fueled by my passion to bring damaged eco-systems back into balance. My every day experience makes up this passion so I must write about these every day experiences because it what makes up the whole.

So as I truly promise to get better about posting I will start off by sharing the funniest story about my beautiful 6 yr old daughter......I went along on a field trip with her clas to an orchard and Bella had to go. I sent her to the port-a-potty and five minutes later she comes to me showing me the most beautiful pink soap she had ever seen and was so kind as to share with all her friends so they could wash their hands was a urinal cake!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahaha! I am still laughing about it. Even cuter, when I woke her up I noticed she had snuck her giant pumpkin into bed after lights out last night!!! I really do love being a mom! So much I have decided to be a Daisy Scout leader AND Brownie leader. I am sure I will have LOTS to blog about with that!!!!!!!!

I do have a special thank you blog with final donation weights soon to be posted. It is so hard to express the gratitude for all those that helped me do my part to eradicate hunger in the Miami Valley!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Yes. It has been awhile. A lot has happened over the summer and now it is time to restructure and organize. I do this every year. I start to nest, preparing for winter. If I am not organized before winter hits, it will be a looooong winter.

My summer in summary...........the garden was much more difficult than I anticipated!I really thought "if I build it, they will come". I truly did experience religious prejudice. But on the up side of that experience I am close to 2000 lbs in donated food!!! That excites me to no end!!!! I also know that despite weeds and overgrowth you can still produce crazy amounts of food! However, I also found out I am allergic to every single weed that sprouted in that garden ; ) I spent many nights drugged up (down) on benadryl! I would be covered head to toe in red dots, bites, sneezing to the point it was unsafe to drive.

Despite how hard the summer was I am going to do it again!!!! Not at the same church, and will probably downsize it a bit. The city of Dayton has vacant lots they are trying to beautify by leasing them out to those who are interested in community gardening at SUPER cheap prices! I have looked into acquiring enough lots to actuallly run an urban farm that produces for the Foodbank and has educational opportunities available to single moms and kids. Pretty much back to my original plan but leaving out the residency side of it for the time being. One step at a time.

So I must also confess.......I withdrew from graduate school and then a week later got my "official" expelling from the program. Heads of departments don't necessarily like to be referred to as "arrogant a@@holes".......I know I know..........that was very unprofessional, but I have not been happier!!!! It is truly a victory for me!!!! I hate theory. It's ridiculous!!! It only creates Don Quixotes!!!!! I could spend the next year writing papers in theory of solving the hunger problem in the Miami Valley or I could take action!!!!!!!!! I am an action kinda gal! One day when I find the politically correct way to tell my story, I will. Just know, even though I was a mere three classes away from a graduate really was an absolute victory for me.

My focus the next couple months is to reorganize the non-profit. I have to re-apply for federal tax exempt again. They leave no room for error in your paperwork. The shirts should be up for sale by the end of the weekend, beginning of next week. I am hoping to get enough sales to pay for the federal filing again........$350. Fingers crossed!!!!

Good things are in the future!!! I feel it. It is my time to live my dream!

Friday, July 23, 2010

even ladybugs do it

Yesterday in the garden was beautiful after I was able to overlook the massive weeds!!!!! I had a good harvest 72 pounds! That was really exciting for me!

Again my mp3 player was dead. Why can't I be better about charging that thing? Especially when it is nearly a lifeline for me? Probably the same reason my cell phone and home phone never get charged either.It was pretty early so I wasn't worried about running into anyone, but there was that chance because today was food pantry day at the church. The tomatoes look AWESOME! They are not quite ready to be picked yet since they got in the ground about three weeks late. But what really makes me proud is the fact that most of them were near death when I got them and now they are gorgeous!!! It makes my mouth water just thinking about taking the salt shaker with me to the garden and having fresh tomatoes right off the vine!!!! I promise I will harvest some for the pantry ; )

More peppers to harvest, of course! I have seen enough jalapenos for awhile! Since everything was delayed nothing is coming out of the garden at the same time, so I am having to pass on salsa and pico............that depresses me!!!!! but what do I see just beyond the peppers?..............MMMMMMMMMM more basil!!!!!!! I get all excited seeing the bushy green plants!!!! I could roll on it like cats do catnip!!!!! Seriously I could. Basil and tomato leaves!!!!! Yeah..........rub them all over and wear them like a perfume!!!!.........I warned you I was a weird garden geek haha!............As I squat to start to pick I see another real red ladybug!!!!!!! Nope...........I see two real red ladybugs!!!!!!!!! And they are doin it!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I move on to the next bushy green basil and let them have their moment.........brown chicken brown cow.................teehee! I really do giggle as I walk onto the next plant and start to pick. I love the way my fingers turn a tinge of yellowish green from picking basil and how for the rest of the day I will have the hint of fragrance.

Onto the cucs! YEAH!!!!! Tons of picklers!!!!!!! My first thought I must admit was a negative one.............thinking about the people staring at these mini cucumbers wondering what to do with them.........well they would know if I had my workshops...........ok, never mind. It is that thought though that makes me inclined to take this harvest to the place of my choice today......I come out with a decent harvest of cucumbers!! They were cute, the cucumbers grew down from the vine into the dirt so the cucumbers were erect pushing the vines up so I could actually see where they all were. Again, regretting I didn't have my camera...........seriously needing to get better about that!

Speaking of erect.............It absolutely tickles me to see a ripe okra!!!! The most amazing blossom in the garden that eventually turns into cute little erect penises! teehee! Really adorable!!! Then snip...........have to harvest them!!! A bit phallic with a twist of Lorena Bobbit..........ok, that was bad! I love Okra!!!! From the seed all the way to the rue in a thick jambalaya!!!!!

I finish with my squash and zucchini. Tons of zucchini but most of my squash has been picked for me. That's ok. The amount of zucchini makes up for it!!! Since I have never gotten permission to use the scale in the closet by the church office I bring my digital scale with me that only recognizes foot placement so I actually have to stand on the scale take my weight and then hold the bags and do the math. Yesterday was extremely difficult because I had to do it a couple times, making the math even more difficult .............which I am self proclaimed stupid when it comes to math...............because the harvest was so large I couldn't hold all the bags. The ten minutes of math was worth it!!!! 72 lb harvest!!!!! My largest one yet!!!!!!!!! And it is filled with food that can actually make a full meal!

I walk into the pantry to gather some boxes since I can't get anyone to give me my totes back. I actually think someone thought that was how to distribute the food! I have lost lots of totes : ( Anyhow, I walk in to find last weeks harvest still sitting there!!!!!!!!!! SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!?!?!? Some of the food had maybe a day left!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTH? That made my choice pretty easy at that point! I am donating this harvest someplace else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!St. Vincent's Hotel was MORE than happy to take that food!!!! I wonder what was on the menu last night?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Project Share

Yesterday my day started with a 7:30 dentist appointment that I was not even scared of (that is for another blog and if you know me that is quite a miracle)............I am listening to NPR which I usually avoid that early in the morning because it is filled with heart wrenching news, but an amazing story came on about Project Share.

The story is about a poverty stricken family having to make quantity over quality choices in regard to nutrition. We have hungry kids, but why are they overweight? Because in a family of 5 the average food stamp allottment is $600 a month. A gallon of milk costs 3.69 (non organic) a 2 liter of orange soda costs 89 do the math the mother says. HELL YA! I am on my soapbox!!! I am that mom that has to avoid choices like that because of subsidized bullshit! I have been that mom that has also been tisked at BECAUSE I have used my food stamps to buy organic groceries.....why how dare I ? Because I am poor I don't have the right to make healthy food choices? Ok, I will fill my kids up on HFCS and have them be obese so the doctor bills can even the savings out on these groceries. Does that sound ok? ............But this is what drives me. This story pulled out my soapbox for me and reminded me why I do this. I was hell ya'ing the radio as I sat in my car for a good five minutes before I went in.........

The food pantry is a whole other soapbox that I can go on and on about. Did you know most of the donations to a food pantry isn't sellable according to the FDA, but I guess they don't care if the poor eat it.............seriously?!?!?! Some of the food I have seen that comes off those shelves are science experiments! My favorite is the gelatinous fruit cup that could probably survive a nuclear war! Seriously?!?!?! It makes me feel claustrophobic thinking about having to eat one of those. I could feel it becoming a part of my being, like I was eating an alien life form to host. Ok..........that is kinda stupid, but seriously those things are disgusting!!!!!

We have fields upon fields owned by the evil empire mons@nto ( they might come after me and say they own my blog and my computer because I typed their name) that grow food to make our kids fat! Want to talk about government conspiracies? The supreme court ALLOWED COPYRIGHTING LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thousands upon thousands of acres that kill the god given life in the soil. Absolute death is what they copyrighted. The run off, the HFCS bullshit, the raping of the local farmer...............I could go on for days. I have had too much coffee this morning so I will go back to my original intention of this blog...........MY garden, and MY attempt to make a change in the local food pantry.................

On my way to the garden I realized my mp3 player was out of juice. Damn. That is my protective bubble while I am there. The entire drive there is just filled with thoughts of disappointment about what's happening here and why it's happening! Also reflecting on how I took off saturday morning when I DID have help coming, but I just couldn't stay because I was going to vomit (literally~ironically due to food poisoning~ and figuratively~because of my devastation of another tilling gone bad)I pull into the driveway to find someone been picking in my garden again..........

I step out of my car seriously wishing I was a smoker again. It would taste so good right now............I take a deep breathe and text Tom.........playing on the "too many chiefs" I text .......ok. it's time for a pow-wow. Please look up project share. There is tons of money out there for me but I need a tax id........something tom has known for mmmmmmmmmmmm, maybe FIVE MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Deep breathes in and out..............peaceful gardens kristi.............peaceful gardens! I see some of the beans need picked, but I am over them so I walk past. Peppers, peppers, and more peppers. Of course, the one thing no one is interested in anymore. I get to my tomatoes and basil. A bit upset since some of my tomatoes I was looking forward to picking are gone, but excited to bushes of basil!!!!! As I am squatting finally coming to peace I spot a real red ladybug!!!!! If only I had my camera! Exactly what I needed! ................Then the youth minister pulls up and gives me a shout. He sorta makes fun of me for taking off on saturday. Damn! Not in the mood dude, I was finally coming to peace............... But then as we start to talk I find out he knows nothing of this. Nothing of anything about the garden. There have been no announcements in church. Nothing in the bulletin. No conversations with elders of the church. WTH?!?!?!?!??!?!?! WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Tom said...................but..............he............WTH?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?! I am in total awe! I can't believe it. The youth minister asks why didn't I go to blah blah blah,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I was told Tom was my go to.............even kinda told I couldn't go to anyone but him.................WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!?!?!?!?!?!

The youth minister begs me not to give up after I explain I would finish the year but wasn't coming I can't even answer that right now.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Too Many Chiefs.............

As I type that title I remind myself of the offense I took to it when the gentleman I am supposed to deal with at the church replied that to an email regarding members of the church taking charge and giving orders in MY garden. Too many chiefs........hmmmmmmm. I will get back to why I took offense to that, but let me first give you the short version of the story. My presentation in August seems to be turning into what NOT to do when working in collaboration to eradicate hunger.

I started this project back in January. Laid out all my plans and didn't get the ok to move forward until mid april. Yes, mid april. I should have been tilled, mounded and planted by then. We agreed it was my garden on the condition the harvest went to their food pantry and any overage was my choice where to donate. I was told there were other churches that wanted to be involved and promised all sorts of donations and materials. But most important Tom (name changed) made me promise him to not exclude anyone; go out of my way to include all! Ummmm, excuse me Tom, did you read my mission statement that I gave you three months ago........obviously not.

Me.........I am a single mom going to graduate school that has now taken on an acre and a half garden that is 70 miles round trip..............I have a super strong faith in the Creator. I believe I do his work with my hands in the dirt. I feel a closeness to him when that sun is beating down on me and I am dirty head to toe knowing all my sweat that drips off my brow gives these plants my love to grow strong and feed all His people. I understand how people become so overwhelmed in their faith to speak in faith allows me to speak to His creatures while I work His land. The church I am working in collaboration with is a Mission Christian church...........................outwardly I am known as the weird barefoot hippie that wears rings on her toes, has too many bumper stickers on her car that boogies in the garden with bright pink headphones and has too many tattoos. I really want to hula hoop in my garden, but then they might really think I am certifiable. I try to live the Native way; that is where the offense of too many chiefs comes from. They see me as a pagan that needs to be saved. How do I see (g)od in a tree? .................How do they NOT see (g)od in a tree? But most of all they cannot see we serve the same (g)od and want to feed His people. story................To quote Beck "I worked the fields til the sun went down" all by myself some days. I have maybe 80 volunteer hours logged, from 6 different people. I would say 30-40 of those hours have been hours of MASS DESTRUCTION!!!!! I have had people in the garden without contacting me first; making their own decisions. Over half my garden has been destroyed by people tilling thinking the best way to weed is to till (I will post pics of all this). I have had people harvesting the wrong times of day killing entire crops and leaving me feeling a bit like Henni Penni! Worst of all no one is weighing it for me. I have had minimal donations (most of it coming out of my pocket, except for the seeds and hay), still waiting on a water source~ was promised a massive water storage thingy that was to be delivered the end of May.........I water each plant individually with a wagon and a tote filled with water......remember this is an acre and a half............I have yet to have a meet and greet with the church.....maybe because I am a freak (to them).......not one workshop has been transportation to include WIC participants is never available..............I have yet to receive their tax exempt id so I can have fiscal sponsorship while I wait for my status to be approved (this prevents alot of grants)............... I have even had members of the church secretly donate their weekly tithe to the garden (you can declare where in the church your 10% goes)..................i haven't seen a cent.

Then the name of the garden....................remember I was given the speech of it being all inclusive right............I had been told the name had agreed to be Field of Grace ~ perfect...........the name of the church is Grace Brethren and it still leaves it open to all without religious influence. The day the tomatoes were delivered I was informed the name was NOT field of grace but God's Garden.............oh crap.........the dreaded interfaith dialogue I now have to have with a driven Mission Christian..............excuse me please, it would be easier for me to go throw up now. I took a deep breath and remained calm. It had been my covert operation to prove to this church that those who did not believe as they did were still good people and we connected on the simplest levels.............the conversation couldn't have gone worse and I actually contemplated doing something drastic like puking or wetting my pants just to get away from the damnation I was taking at that moment. Grandfather? Why they hell do you call Him grandfather, well that's just absurd. Why can't (g)od be in the name of the garden, it's cuz of him it's all happening.............i try to interject............but we don't all call him (g)od. We speak different languages while we all believe in the same (g)od. What the hell you talkin about..............we had some of them muslims here, but they chose to never come back cuz we made them pray to Jesus with us to get their food..........that's why we are a 501 (c) 4 so we have that right to pray. So we can let all know the way to heaven is through the Lord our Jesus head is screaming isn't that idolatry?!?!??!?! Lord is (g)od. Jesus was His Son. His prophet..........but I stay urge to scream Jesus would have loved me just the way I am, why can't you?...............again I stay quiet and try to gently explain to simply leave language out of it. Welcome all remember.

So I blog not to complain, but to give a story to those who have my same passion to feed the hungry of the world. I am looking for my own land with my own building. I will finish the season because it is not the hungry's fault I am being taken advantage of, but I will not return to that land next year. Hopefully some rich benefactor will see my passion and give me 20 acres with a house and barn to recreate Dohi-Utsi (healthy peaceful mother) half way house for single moms to learn self sufficiency and natural original idea.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Yes, yes, I know it has been way too long.

Yes, Danielle you have been in the back of my mind everyday and I am finally going to put your voice to rest and blog ; ) It has been insane!!! I am not sure I really sleep when I go to bed. I must sleep walk because I honestly wonder how I get it all done. Don't get me wrong my to-do list is still a mile long and continues to get longer daily!! But I do wonder how I get as much as I do done!

Going to take a mini vacation next weekend so this week is going to be jam packed getting ahead so I can relax next weekend and not worry about all the stuff I have to come home to!!

One of the things I am getting crossed off my list is my etsy account. I finally opened one for the gardens. The Feral Farmer.

100% of all sales will go directly back into the garden and my personal hunger revolution! All my goods will be made with 100% organic yummy goodness that comes from my personal garden! My first listing will be for my Feral Berry Jam! Homemade strawberry goodness from my crazy berries!!!! My prices might be high, but please remember 100% of all sale go directly to fund Wookiye Gardens!!!

The big garden is doing ok. I am having some problems with all the rain and also in dire need of plant food! I have been trying hard to either get a donation of fertilizer or compost or both, but have not had much luck. If enough comes in from the sales of the jam I will just take it and buy some! I am desperate at this point! I am also coming up shorthanded and finding myself out there all by myself on that acre and a half more times than not. I am tired! Gardening on that scale is hard work and sometimes very very discouraging. I have yet to give up, and won't for that matter! Just putting it out there to those of thinking of large scale's hard work!

I will post pictures soon. I am waiting for a bit more growth. I was about two weeks behind what I planted in my personal garden. Also would like to get some of those crazy weeds out of there that sprung up every time it rained!!!!! I am breaking down two of my personal strawberry beds this weekend and taking almost 150 plants over to the garden. It will be nice to have that corner back in my personal garden! It really started to take over!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Almost two months.....

I know, I know!! I suck at blogging!!!! Thanks to Danielle from One Green Tomato for inspiring me today. I need to freshen up on my blogging skills and learn to add pictures! Her posts are very neat and tidy and are complete tutorials!! Thanks Danielle!

So the mini plot has turned into an acre plus! That is my excuse for my absence! I have been insanely busy finishing up one quarter and jumping right into the next with barely a spring break!! I am truly excited about this summer! I don't see any sort of failure in my future, even if my crops are small! It is the first year and glorious in it's own right!!!!!! I am so excited to finally be a farmer!!!! I have big plans for Wookiye Gardens and am truly grateful how it has all fallen into place! All the hard work and early morning hours will be worth it!!!!