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!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Piling Up!

Things are definitely piling up around here! The snow really put a dent in my work time! It is a bit hard getting work done with three caged animals going stir crazy! teehee! I am slowly catching up, but would most definitely would love it if I was all caught up ; ) But are we really ever? hmm?

The conference was amazing! Heard from Joel Salatin himself! What a rebel he is! He was the key-note speaker on saturday and didn't even know it until I ran into some long lost friends. Great food! Great information! Awesome child care! I feel so at home at places like that! It is garden geekdom at it's best!

I ended up letting my children talk me into bringing home three chicks. They were irresistible! So I need to get out in the back yard and finish my coop and build a fence my darn dog won't jump! I really didn't think all these pets through! I need a fence! Then I can get my dwarf ewes haha!

On the business front, not much has happened. I am still trying to gather people to build my board and review the business plan. I must admit with the delay of the meeting I found myself procrastinating on the paperwork! I really need to get busy on this! I lose my babysitter in about a month and my time to work on this will be limited to early mornings only, which I would really like to start getting away from!

I have started taking pictures while I do stuff for the garden. One reason is for my presentation for class and the other is for tutorials. I have decided to start posting tutorials on either here or my website. I need to figure out how to do all that. It has been awhile since I have worked with HTML and it was very little that I could do! I go to a power point class today to learn how to jazz up my power point. I have 20 slides so far. So I am on track with that!

Not much else to report. I feel the need to hop over to business work now!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Catching up!

I know I know, more than a week passed this time! I am going to blame it on the OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association) conference this past weekend! Still trying to catch up and manage three kids while being snowed in for the second week!!! It cleared up long enough to go to the conference and then another storm hit!

What an amazing weekend! Daycare was provided so we all went! The daycare was run by a woman who runs The Waldorf Center in Columbus! The girls had an amazing time and actually cried when we left! Kolby had his own conference and activities to participate in! He made a solar oven, his own compost, and even toured the planetarium! Great weekend! As for myself, I could go on and on about the amazing people, incredible food, and fantastic workshops! Joel Salatin himself was the key note speaker on saturday. I didn't even know he was speaking and ironically just this past week watched Food Inc. (that is another post in itself). What an inspiration he is! Wow! Still haven't fully processed everything! I can't wait to get ahold of his books!!

I feel so at home at garden or farming conferences! I feel like everyone speaks my language! I could honestly stay there full time! But I guess that wouldn't leave me much time to play in the dirt and feed people ; ) There was a display for a hatchery there. They had day old ducks and chicks. They were incredibly adorable! The kids were drawn to them like magnets! Every time we walked past the display hall they made a b-line straight to that table. Well, by the end of the weekend they had convinced me........we came home with three chicks. Pancake, Sunflower Seed, and Birdie! They are quite cute! Cheep cheep! I made a brooder for them and they seem to be happy! They are downstairs with all my starts in my grow room! cheep cheep! Guess I have to hurry and finish the coop!

As far as the non-profit goes. Things are still coming along slowly but surely. Still trying to find a day where everyone can meet and we can go over the business plan. Would like to have that in order before I file. More updates to come! Must sign off and work on business ; )

Sunday, February 7, 2010


At least a full week hasn't passed since the last post ; ) In the last week I have gotten most of my seeds, with the exception of the ones that are on back order. I ordered from a couple different places this year and am keeping track of every detail. I will be doing starts for both gardens (mine and the church's), so the greenhouse better go up soon. Actually it goes up next weekend! I just couldn't wait though! I did starts two days ago! I got my blueberry bushes in the mail the other day and had to transplant them and it felt so good I couldn't stop! I have five flats of starts now ; ) I spent the entire day playing in the dirt and planting seeds! I cannot wait until spring and I can feel the dirt in my toes! Then I will truly be happy!!!

So I want to talk about the blueberries. I have never seen bare root bushes before. I just recently found out crowns would be a bare root as well. After I placed my order the company called to verify shipping since some came straight from the grower. They were calling about the potato seeds, not the blueberry bushes. I wondered about that! Then tuesday night I am almost in bed and someone knocks on my door......scares the crap out of me!!!! I go to the door and there is my box from Peaceful Valley Farms. I open the box and there is a bag with sticks. These are my blueberry bushes?!?! They are bare roots! I transplanted them in temporary homes in milk jugs and have them in the basement now. I also found out that blueberries need more than one variety so they can cross pollinate! So of course last night I ordered two more bushes (sticks) and while I was on the site ordered some grapes too!

I am going to be so busy with gardens! I cannot wait! The conference is next weekend and I am so excited for that! I can't wait to meet all my fellow garden geeks! I truly feel like a family at these conventions!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I know I know......

I know I am not doing very well on this blogging. Have I happened to mention how busy I am starting a non-profit, going to school, and raising three children! Whew! So I have excellent news!!!!! My plot went from a 30 x 30 to .......drum roll please........ 200 x 500!!!!!! Haha! My first response to that was "wow! that much land can produce a lot of produce!" haha! I almost can't believe it! Does anyone remember that song from the seventies for the tootsie roll commercial? Where the little boy is skipping and he is singing and the words go something like......and everything I turn to see becomes a tootsie roll to me......... i can't find the lyrics, but anyone remember? That is me! Skipping along looking at open space and it morphs into a garden and I am singing some little song about "open fields turning into gardens"......haven't figured out a cute jingle yet! Hey! That is a great idea!! I could have a contest and have the Feral Farmer's fans write my song!!!! I will organize that! First I need to find that commercial!

So other than that, nothing huge and exciting has happened! But that is pretty huge to stand on its own i think! I am going to cut this one short......I have sooooo much to do! I have a deadline set for myself for next friday. I have to get busy to meet it!

...................I found it!!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I am ashamed. Almost a week went by since my last entry. I have been busy!! My sitter was off for most of the week last week and then when she returned I had to fit a week's worth of work into two days.......and my shoulder is killing me! I haven't mentioned it before, but I have a pinched nerve in my back at my shoulders and it is causing me a GREAT deal of pain. My frustration is that it limits me. It is driving me insane I can't be out there moving stuff around. I sit and stare through my sliding glass doors and wonder how I am going to get this project off the ground when I can't even tend to my own yard and garden. It has been raining all week so my level of excitement has been dampened. Even though I am injured, I push through. Which that in itself isn't good because then you don't heal. Oh well, what am I supposed to do? Sit around and whine while people are hungry? I think not. Not much keeps me down.

So there are a TON of updates!!! I met with Ken, the practicum advisor, and my project is approved!!! Have some finishing touches to do on the paperwork and that is finished and I can move on! The little stuff is what takes me FOREVER to do ; ) Then I met with Rob, who has experience opening a non-profit. This meeting was by far the most encouraging!!! We reviewed everything and I am right on target! In fact he was so impressed with what I have done so far that he wants help with the techie side of things! That meeting had me on cloud 9!! Really tough part is only my federal tax exemption. I have a lot of "busy" paperwork to draft up! Five River (where I am taking the master gardening course) likes my idea as well for the donation garden and talked about a pilot program possibility!!!! YIPPIE!!! All these things are coming together!!!!! And tomorrow I have a meeting with a church who wants to set up a donation garden on their property and turned the project into a "chain of gardens" through out the faith based community!!!!

This is all so exciting! I have ordered my greenhouse and it should be here soon. I have mapped out my garden and ready for spring! The weekend of February 12-14th me and the kiddos are going to the OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association) conference! I am sooooo excited about that! Kolby even gets to take the workshops with me! I have really turned into a garden geek!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More gardens!!!!

I have not been good at maintaining the daily entry ; ) I will work on that! Good news over the weekend! I have two churches that are interested in gardens. I have yet to work out the details with them, but that is really exciting! My chiropractor has also started to spread the word! Not sure if I mentioned this in a prior blog, but he has offered to volunteer and also volunteered necessary farming equipment as well!!! Amazing how some people just want to help!

I am waiting to hear back from Five River. I sent an email to the teacher of my class asking about the donation garden also being part of my class project that I have to complete as well! That would be so cool if all these projects can come together not only to complete my project, but to feed people!! I have more places on my list to contact. I am hoping for gardens all over Dayton! Every church, every parking lot converted to food production!

I am not good at waiting. While I wait, I tend to put too much on my plate. I like to keep busy so I keep adding stuff........when I am about to topple over with stuff to do is when I will hear back from all these emails...haha! That is ok! Seriously! If I could stay busy from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed tending to gardens I would be happy!! I need to stay organized and stay on a schedule. Give every garden at least one day a week. Doing all this while maintaining my own garden will be the challenge.

I am so grateful I am only going part time to school! Only four more classes though! YIPPIE!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So Much To Do!

I have so much to do! My sitter is gone for a week starting tomorrow so I have been getting all my running and such done before she leaves. I can have the next week sitting at my computer working on business stuff. Really, I am sitting waiting to hear back from people. I have a couple emails out about fiscal sponsorships. If not my backyard become my "pilot project"!

This coming week my goals are to write a newsletter, get more people to follow the blog or facebook, find a place to have a gathering (and later on a seed swap)........I would like to tentatively set up a meeting in three weeks and then have one monthly until April. I need to contact someone at school and see if I can use one of their spaces to gather people!! Shouldn't be a problem. I would also like to have my 501 (c) 3 paperwork finished by the end of next week. I need to meet up with Rob on that.....probably should email him when I am done with this post ; )

I can see the gardens! I have beautiful visions of them as a matter of fact. I know this will happen. My patience of the timeliness of it all is what will be tested! I would love to snap my fingers and have food everywhere! I see a garden everywhere I see a vacant lot! And thanks to Bobby Wilson, president of the American Community Garden Association, I see gardens in barrels where dirt is non-existent! Gardens Gardens Gardens!

I have my first Master Gardener class tonight! I am looking forward to that. I have to put in 50 volunteer hours with the parks and I want to do with the Grow With Your Neighbors program. They said too in the interview for the class that most people end up with employment within the parks or city after they finish the class. We shall see! Should would be fun to make all my donation gardens through the parks and rec. and leave all the business stuff to them, while earning a paycheck and benefits! Haha!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

letting out a little bit of helium

I talked to my advisor yesterday and she had to let out a bit of my helium for me.......get my head out of the clouds. I knew she would have to. I am the dreamer, it goes with my sign (Pisces). Anyhow, she suggested for the time being work under another non-profit until I get all my stuff filed and approved. She said the exempt status alone takes almost six months and I really can't collect grants and donations until I have that. She said to look for what is called a "fiscal sponsor". I had come across that in my research and it does sound like a good idea. She said it will give me a track record so when I am a legit non-profit donors will be more likely to hand over money!

I have a couple idea of how I work under fiscal sponsorship so really I am not THAT disappointed. In fact, going that route gets the project under way faster and that is what she kept hearing me talk about.......the actual garden. Near the end of the conversation she did bring up to have a Plan B. Throwing idea out, I already have one!!! WHOO HOO! She said a pilot project could also work to build a track record if I couldn't find a fiscal sponsor. Well guess where I can set up a pilot project?!?!?!?! MY OWN BACKYARD!!!!!!!!!

Ideas went running through my head!!! I could have the girls come here or I can use Feral Farms (my vending business) and "sell" only to WIC recipients!!!! My mind went a hundred miles an hour after I got over being pulled down from the clouds (it only took a couple hours). My babysitter is leaving for a week starting on Friday so not many meet ups scheduled. I am going to spend this week doing more research, working on gathering more volunteers, planning my own garden, and planning another "pilot plot" and finding a place to build that! *Also need some fundraising ideas.

Monday, January 11, 2010

coming along

So things are slowly but surely coming together on this project. It would be nice if I could snap my fingers and it all be done!! Today I have a phone conference with my advisor. She was a CPA in her "past life" and has lots of experience with non-profits. YEAH! I knew this all just seemed too easy! I am sure I will have plenty to do after my phone call with her!

Yesterday on the facebook fan page a good conversation started about WIC. It is sad to say that WIC is the most successfully run government funded program. That is really saying something. If you have ever been on WIC you know what I am saying. First of all it takes almost three months to get an appointment. Then you get your appointment and sit and wait for almost two hours in the lobby before you are even seen.

The big complaint I hear is WIC does not allow organics. The main reason for that according to WIC is cost. My undergrad thesis proves that wrong. I am in the process of trying to have my paper published and once my non-profit is recognized, I am on my way to congress! I will post the paper somewhere later. It is a lengthy paper and I am not sure where to post it. Organics would not only save the programs millions of dollars a year in cost alone, but would also save millions in health care cost.

I feel this blog is weak today. It has been awhile since I have been on the political side of something. I have spent the last year and a half in theory classes waiting for this class. I feel a bit rusty on my soapbox, but I am sure I will find my way back! Just like riding a bike, right?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Three is the magic number!!!

Yes it is! No more, no less! Haha! That's for all you school house rockers or fans of De La Soul! Great news!!! I found my third board member. Actually, I really should say she found me! A woman I am in school with, who I look very highly to, emailed me and volunteered for the third position, telling me SHE would be honored. I would be honored!!!! I am so excited! She is a wealth of business and organizational knowledge and has a pretty good sized "mini farm" herself! I am so excited to get this started!

So that makes my best friend Joy, Bill Marvin, and Barbara Cowley-Durst! Bill is a professor of mine that never gave up on me! He is a walking encyclopedia! I am beyond honored at these amazing people who want to serve on MY board of directors!!!! I have an email out to another wonderful soul, Stephanie! She would radiate energy and creativity to the extreme! She did just start a new job, but it would go beautifully with what she is doing! I really hope to hear from her!!

I haven't heard anything final on my proposal. I did just turn it in yesterday. I tend to write up in the clouds when I write stuff like that! I like to paint dreams with words and sometimes people miss the point because it is not laid out 1.2.3. When I am passionate about something I try to make everyone I talk to either see the visions in the brilliant colors with me or at least feel the passion when I am talking about it. The latter is not hard! I am Italian , loud and animated! When I have said the word AMAZING you know I am on fire!!!! Ok, I went off on a tangent. I am just really excited this is starting to happen. Since I started my Masters I fought having to do papers on past conflicts. I wanted action, not reflection! I now see why the reflection is much needed, but how grateful I am that I am now IN ACTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to shine this quarter! I am going to renew faith in professors that might have lost it during some of my "outbursts"~

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fans Fans and more fans!!!!

What a way to start something! My goal yesterday was 100 fans on facebook and was able to shut the computer off at 8pm with 103 fans. While I was sleeping they multiplied! I am at 138 now! How exciting! That gives me such motivation!!!

Today is the official start of classes. I have waited for this class for a year and a half! This one and my thesis! I have been dying to do some action work instead of bookwork!!!! I was honestly starting to feel a bit like Don Quixote and hunger was my imaginary windmills!!!!!

I officially have one grant (a small one), already been offered seed donations and now I am finishing up the paperwork !!! Next it is convincing WIC to let me build a garden!!! I don't foresee any problems since there are successful WIC gardens all over the US! But you never now with government funded programs!! Bit of side info~ WIC is THE MOST SUCCESSFUL government funded program out there! That is so sad if you knew how WIC worked. Sad to think they are the best. Can only imagine what the other programs are run like. Well, I can tell you how welfare in general runs, but that is for another post! I could go on for days about welfare!

This is exciting! Not only am I working hard on a school project but I am actually building my career out of this! That is more exciting than words can describe! Speaking of which, I must get back to work!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Here we go

Tomorrow is the official start of winter quarter. Four more classes and onto my thesis! I will be the first Graf to have a Masters. I look forward to giving my dad bragging rights! Not only is tomorrow my official start of class, but also my practicum! Wookiye Gardens will hopefully come to life! I am currently working on my 510 (c) 3 status (non-profit tax exempt) , gathering my board of directors and hammering out my articles of incorporation. I am already miles ahead my projected goals for the class.

So what is Wookiye Gardens? First of all, Wookiye is peaceful in Lakota. It is also the one word I was so sad my daughter out grew; instead of monkeys they were wookies! When I came across the word it seemed only perfect! My initial goal is to set up a community garden attached to the local WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) office. I am torn between the county I live in, Greene, and the county next to me, Montgomery. The only thing I can honestly say about that is I get enough money in grants to provide both!

After many email exchanges with my advisor we have also decided to skip the graduate seminar course and do a capstone project. A capstone is an "action" thesis. I am lucky too because they no longer offer a capstone as an option; I was grandfathered in. I get to graduate with honors now! YES! More bragging rights for my dad! So anyways, my capstone is to expand the garden into a community center and eventually being some sort of halfway house for single mothers. But first, the community center. Here is where the tearing between the two counties comes in. There is a property in Beavercreek that is AMAZING, but is being held in federal court with no pending end. The other property is in Huber Heights and is an old VFW of sorts. It would be PERFECT!! And it is even next to low income housing. This property is REALLY SCREAMING at me! So there we go, my capstone project.

So this is my adventure. I hope you enjoy the ride! I write like I think, very sporadic and spontaneous and without much boundary.