Here is the final excerpt from Jordan’s farming journal about her experience interning and living on the farm for two weeks. Enjoy.
Jordans Farming Experience, Part III
Day 7: worked from 8-9:30 (1 ½ hours)
I woke up and helped milked the goat, which is becoming more frustrating because I cant seem to get the perfect amount of milk out. Oh well, if I just keep trying Its weird because my right hand is so much better than my left, but as I kept going I started to get the rhythm of it so that was nice. Then I just came back from watering the greenhouse for an hour, and it was SO cool because a little baby praying mantis landed on my hand! That was amazing. Because its Sunday, its another relaxation day. After pancakes and watering, I am helping Ilene make homemade strawberry jam! We used the strawberries we picked yesterday, and just finished one batch. [We went canoeing for a special break and] I was sitting in the boat thinking how I wish I had this life, and how I hope to someday raise my kids like this. Everything is always so happy here and relaxed, even though they work hard, they know how to take it easy. Nothing is ever rushed or hectic, and even though Ive struggled through working and being tired a lot, I have always stayed content. Even today when I was watering the greenhouse for an hour, I kept singing. It was kind of weird to me, but I wanted to sing and see how I felt. I felt happy, even while being sweaty and hot. I wish I didnt have to leave on Friday. At least I have some more days here (Its Sunday night).
Day 8: worked from 8-3 (7 hours with breaks)
Milked the goat at 8 today with Ilene, it was great! She said by the end of the week I will be drinking the milk I milked myself. I am getting so much better at it and I really love doing it. Then I went to watering for an hour, which was nice again because it was relaxing but at the end of the watering there was this HUGE jumping spider that was near the plants, so I really didnt want to finish. There is a new intern that just started today from University of Maryland, Mike, and hes really nice. Together we put in an irrigation system for some of the vegetables. I also planted another two rows of sunflowers today (I transferred there from the greenhouse) but it is 98 degrees outside and I am basically dying. We also uncovered the zucchini from the mesh white cover it was under to protect it from bugs, and it was so beautiful after. Ilene and Phil are having a few friends (and their kids) over for dinner tonight and then to pick strawberries, I look forward to it!
Day 9: Worked from 7-9 (2 hours)
Watered the plants earlier this morning, it was fine but I was totally paranoid about spiders. I woke up to the HUGE spider on the edge of my bed, and basically freaked out. Ive gotten used to a lot of things, but giant spiders are still not what I want to see right when I wake up. Luckily Ilene managed to get it out of my room, but it was seriously the most disgusting thing ever! I helped milk the goat after watering which was good because I keep getting better at it. Not perfect at all yet though. Breakfast is almost ready, and then later today I go to Shannon and BJs farm because Ilene and the boys have a busy schedule (just like last Tuesday) so this will be fun.
(After getting back from the farm)
The farm was nice, but it was super hot out so Shannon took me and her little boy, Luke, to get a weed wacker and some ice cream. I only really worked at her farm for a half hour today, which was great because I couldnt bare the heat.
Day 10: Worked from 7-9 (2 hours)
In anticipation of the busy busy busy Thursday and Friday ahead, Ive had an easy week. Its also been too hot to really work on the fields (Its been a 100 degrees) so instead after my daily routine of learning how to milk a goat and spending an hour watering the greenhouse, Ilene took me and the boys to park/beach day with their home school group. It was really nice because all the home school kids in this particular group, and their moms, meet at a different park every week [during the month of May and the summertime]. This park had a little beach, so all day I sat on a towel, slept, and read. It was nice to just totally relax, I felt like I was on vacation.
Day 11: Worked from 8-5 (9 hours with breaks)
I have fallen into routine here, Ive become comfortable not only in this place, but with this amazing family. I wish I wasnt leaving. This morning I woke up at 8 and helped milk the goat, but this time was different. I truly milked Avenille, I got almost an entire mason jar full of milk, and it was incredible. It totally just clicked today. Then I spent a long relaxing while singing and watering the greenhouse plants, today it took an hour and a half. Yesterday was really hot, so I have to over water today. It was a really interesting day; Amanda and Mike were here (the two other interns). Phil already plowed 6 rows for more vegetables to be transplanted into (the vegetables in the greenhouse) so we put down drip tape that rolled out along all the rows, and then used black cloth over them where the plants will grow out of. This took literally three hours, and it was really windy but we got it done. We used special staple things that we put into the ground over the cloth to hold it down. Tomorrow we are going to use a blowtorch to make holes in the cloth so we can transplant the plants into it. I love being part of this process because I get to see the end product (csa pickup) to the beginning, making rows for the plants. Also, the most beautiful thing happened today. The plants that we planted five days ago started to germinate today. They all popped up. I loved that so much, I planted them all, and I watered them, and I gave them life. That was very special to witness.
Day 12: Worked from 8-6 (10 hours)
My last day, and also CSA day. The day was amazing, because after harvesting everything for the CSA we helped plant the flowers in the black cloth from the day before. It was really nice to see the whole cycle come together, from watering plants, and me harvesting to me seeding and transplanting plants. It was beautiful. After CSA day was over we had a bonfire, and then my aunt picked me up. It was so hard to leave, but bearable only because I know I will be back every Thursday and Friday. This was a spectacular day, better than I could have imagined.
Two days after leaving
Although it is nice to be home, I desperately miss the farm. The more I reflect on my time there, the more I realized I have never learned so much in my life, or felt so at home and complete. It was truly a blessing to have been there. Although I appreciate the lifestyle I have, and know I am very fortunate for everything I have, there is something inside of me that knows this isnt the right way to live; we are constantly focused on how others perceive us, and would rather spend time caring about ourselves then caring about our environmental impact. Things are much too fast paced around here. A large reason why I enjoyed being on the farm was not only what I learned from hard work and farming, but also being able to see a happy family. My parents have been divorced since I was 9, so this was such a nice thing to see a family so completely happy with each other… I loved learning from Noah and Jonah, they are so smart and such beautiful children. They are given so much independence and freedom and truly know how to just enjoy themselves and enjoy nature. Some kids I know are constantly on their own itouches, and although I love them deeply, they rely on technology (television, computer games, music videos) for entertainment, and dont eat anything but fake food and processed junk food. [I’ve grown up] being afraid of bugs, being rushed around to different sports growing up, being stuck in a school building all day, shopping for cute clothes, and eating bad food… I am finally seeing a way of life that Ive never been exposed to, yet its a way of life that Ive secretly craved for so long. Now that I have seen such a simplistic and beautiful way of living, it is all I can think about. I hope the rest of my journey in life revolves around the beauty of food and nature and finding happiness without conforming to what is socially acceptable or socially right. I wish to free myself of everything I know and pursue my dreams of traveling, opening my eyes to many different ways of living, and to one day have a farm of my own where I can teach and learn from other people, as well as maybe even have my own CSA one day and help nourish others with completely organic and local food. I hope that I can help change this world through showing that we must help nourish our planet rather than destroy it. But the most important message I learned while being on the farm, was to be proud of who I am, and to always be myself because it is all I have. Ilene, Phil, and the boys opened my eyes to a way of life that makes more sense than anything I have ever known. My senior project was the best experience I have ever had so far, and will carry the lessons I have learned from working on a farm forever. I am forever grateful.
Note from Ilene:
This internship was of Jordan’s design, to fulfill her final high school senior project for her graduation from The McLean School. She was graded on her choice of internship activity, her journal, and her presentation to the senior class and all the teachers of the upper school. Jordan was one of two students in her class to receive highest honors.