Up in the mountains of western North Carolina, I am surrounded daily by beautiful views, amazing food, and a peaceful life. The farmers at Long Valley have practiced organic methods for 30+ years; however, the farm is not certified, so they call themselves “eco-biotic,” meaning “environment” and “pertaining to life.” Our days are busy and pass quickly; it is hard to imagine I’ve already been here a month because it seems both longer than that and that it has passed by rapidly.
I am camping, enjoying the grounding qualities of sleeping outdoors on the Earth, listening to the nightly noises, and seeing the most beautiful night skies far from city lights. I saw the most magnificent shooting star of my life so far. The moon has been so bright; I am highly anticipating the full moon coming up on August 31st. I’ll be making a reishi tincture
that evening (After further research, I found that tinctures are best started on the new moon and strained on the full moon; I’ll have to wait another couple weeks.) from a reishi mushroom I found at Finca Mycol back in Florida.
The family at the farm are warm and kind, fun and hardworking. They eat a late dinner after a long day’s work, so I had to make the difficult decision to begin forgoing sharing dinner with them to get to bed early and avoid eating too late at night, something I have learned to enjoy and felt the benefits of on farms so far. I have been spoiled by having many of my meals prepared for me by the woman of the farm. Her cooking is delicious and mostly consists of fresh farm produce, grown right outside the door. This is another reason I have been neglecting to update the blog: I haven’t been doing any recipe experimentation or any of my own cooking (besides my morning oats or cereal and a sandwich here and there). I do miss spending time in the kitchen and being the one preparing meals for others; however, it is a nice change to have food lovingly prepared by someone else for the family, of which they have made me feel a part.
Living so close to nature and putting my energy into nurturing the growth of wholesome food throughout my days has been deeply rewarding. It is bewildering to consider the notion that I’m finding I prefer sleeping and living outdoors to sleeping on a conventional bed. Wiggling out of my sleeping bag, stumbling out of my tent into the dewy air each early morning, with the knowledge I’ll be getting sun on my shoulders and soil under my nails, communing with nature throughout the day, is an indescribably comforting feeling. I wonder how this will affect my decisions about living situations when I return to “normal” life (post-wwoof). Should I rent a room in a house like I’d planned? Should I try to find a part time wwoof situation closer to home? This realization definitely strengthens my dream to one day live in a completely natural earth home, or perhaps a rustic cabin with an outdoor kitchen. My grandparents tell me I should have been born 150 years ago, but perhaps returning to a life more related to our own sustenance is the way of the future as well; perhaps it is timeless.
I have been reading the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn recently, and it has definitely made me think about things in life more deeply. If you haven’t read it, check it out at the library.
Long Valley has quite a diverse array of produce, and we are at the height of summer production with several types of beans, tomatoes, corn, basil, tomatillos, okra, potatoes, Concorde grapes, pears, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, winter squash coming in, and probably more I’ve missed.
I spend my days helping with harvesting, weeding, mulching, and going to markets. We’ve also planted some fall crops: cruciferous veggie seedlings and onion seeds. The farm is tucked into the mountains and is so beautiful and quaint with its old barns and lovely flowers growing everywhere. I’m also amazed at the amount of medicinal wild plants growing around the farm: yarrow, red clover, jewel weed, wild carrot, plantain, and I’m sure many more I don’t know yet. I’m planning to make my first salve soon with plantain and yarrow, beeswax and sesame oil.
Being on the farm has been so inspiring, renewing, and fills my brain with buzzing dreams of my future garden and goals. While I am being mindful to treasure my days on the farm, I have also been dreaming about the many projects and the planting I’ll be doing when I get back to Florida. I am excited to become immersed into a new community in Orlando, while learning and teaching others, making new friends, watching things grow, and putting into action all the ideas upstairs. But before that, I still have another six weeks of sponge time, gathering the knowledge and wisdom coming at me on this beautiful farmstead.