The Organic Apprentice

sowing the seeds of learning!

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I’m finally sharing the progress of my heirloom tomatoes. I ordered seeds online from and they came surprisingly quickly. I decided to go for Green Zebras as they won the blind kitchen-table-taste-test last summer at Bantry Bay Farm. Similarly I also went for a pack of Black Zebra seeds because the pictures looked juicy. The third variety I picked is Purple Russian because it also looked incredibly delicious and has a really nice plum shape. Admittedly I took a chance on 2 of 3 varieties that I picked but I think the chance is all part of the fun!

There is some leaf curl happening but I think that its due to the either dryness of the air or the intense sunlight.

I’ve also been pruning back the suckers/secondary growth to encourage vertical growth and fruit development. I’m happy that the varieties I chose were indeterminate (vs. determinate).


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Just Ploughin’

Last week began with two of the ‘farmiest’ activities I can imagine: pulling potatoes and ploughing a field! 

I was enjoying the open spaces and warm sun so I decided to take a quick video (POV perspective mostly) from the driver’s seat!

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Chainsawing… FARMSTYLE

The following video is a record of my first experience using a chainsaw. Although I have had long-time exposure to chainsaws I have never had any in-depth lessor on how to use one. Regardless, I rarely find myself thinking “Boy, I sure wish I had something to chainsaw right now” anyway.

The video is 9 minutes (or almost) from start to finish. I encourage you to at least watch maybe the first two minutes  for entertainment and demonstration value. From that point on, or thereabouts, it is just a lot of me being rugged and manly.

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Earth & Feet: a love story

It’s incredible how much is going on below our feet all the time. However, we seldom pay attention to the booming industry of sensation and experience found lying across the face of the Earth. So begin by considering how much information and experience we miss out on by blocking out that sensory input by wearing shoes/footwear.

Now, coming from a long-time camp person where wearing shoes was mandatory at work, I initially never considered working barefoot because the thought of “working barefoot” seemed like such a heinous breach of… something. With a quick reality check I began to rapidly appreciate how enjoyable farming barefoot might be for the vast majority of people that, like me, would never consider it otherwise. I admit that I have yet to work barefoot around the farm (apart from the occasional light duty on the weekends) but was inspired along this track of thought by one of our ‘Wwoofers’. She has been working without footwear all week and appears to enjoy it.

My recent barefoot jaunts to the nearby beach had taught me the #1 most important aspect of walking around places barefoot: pay attention to where you’re putting your feet. SO SIMPLE, yet also incredibly important and necessary. Wearing shoes eliminates the need to pay attention to where your feet are planting themselves. By removing that barrier (and resulting sense of foot safety/security) I found myself very connected to the place I was at any given moment as the information I received from my feet made the ground as much of a thrill as the forest’s edge, the river water, or the clear skies above me. These adventures were part of my undivided leisure time but for the same lessons learned there made me rethink my gut reaction to working barefoot.

Let me also add, that I still firmly believe that working a walk-behind tiller, tractor, or other large machinery without proper footwear is not the greatest idea. By gaia, you can do whatever you want to in tandem with such device. I just don’t feel like experiencing the sensory information related to losing a few toes; at least not right now.

If incorporated into a therapeutic program of sorts I would choose appropriate (and safe) work to be barefoot for. Participants would then engage in the programmed activities barefoot. The only issue I can foresee where exceptions may have to be made are in the case of individuals with extraordinarily sensitive feet who may find greater discomfort/pain in the experience than anything else.

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Arugula Pesto Aurora

This sounds awesome! Too bad our arugula didn’t fare so great :/

Homeward Bounty Farm

I keep thinking that this is an odd season, but what season is normal anymore? Will we learn to be the most flexible and diverse generation of humans living on this Earth? Will we start to understand change as normal, be easy-going and learn to purely live in the moment, as the future becomes increasingly unpredictable? Will we have to select for and breed varieties of vegetables to mature in smaller and shorter windows, because the weather tomorrow, weeks and months ahead will continue to consistently weave in and out of elements? Will we find the stability in the unsuitability?

       In a heat wave! I get the feeling that this heat is eagerly waving ‘Hello’ and I wave too; also eagerly, ‘Good-Bye,’ but it doesn’t seem to pick up the subtle cue. It took my cloths approximately 15 minutes to dry on the line the other day. 100…

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Program: Barefoot Beach Walk

Program Title: Barefoot Beach Walk 

Details: Participants walk along the beach barefoot. They are encouraged to pay attention to the sensory qualities of their present experiences. This may include the sand underfoot, the temperature of the air or water, the breeze off the water, the smell of salt, the sound of gulls, and so on. Being barefoot alters the experience as suddenly participants must also pay attention to where their feet go (less so on sandier beaches though) as it is important to watch out for rocks, glass, or urchins. 

Benefits: Participants would likely appreciate the relaxing environment while walking alongside the water. There are the obvious physical benefits of walking outdoors (fitness, fresh air, sunshine) but social, cognitive, and spiritual benefits could also be a part of this program. Cognitively, nature contact improves mood, attention span, and reduces stress (to name a few). The beach setting might also provide an open setting that encourages social interactions between participants. Such types of benefits are more difficult to quantify. ‘Spiritual’ benefits may include a range of benefits from time to think, closeness to nature, calmness (akin to walking meditation), and help coping with life issues or transitions. 

Duration: The walk can vary from a half hour (which I’d recommend as a minimum) to a full, 3 to 4 hour, afternoon. In the latter case I’d also consider leading group discussions/talks and two or three other “micro-programs” to use the time productively. 

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Day 60: Time to Get Semi-Serious

So today is my 60th day at Bantry Bay Farm since arriving on May 1st! Today is a great day, the rain is holding off while I’ve spent the morning writing program ideas and laying about. Today also marks the approach of the second half of my apprenticeship. I feel that I should truly begin focusing on the Therapeutic Recreation aspects of farming. I have been writing down ideas for TR programs over the course of the past two months. Not to mention the buzz of new thoughts and cool ideas that stream into my head every now and again. Farming provides great inspiration for writing both creatively and seriously. 

So looking ahead to July and August you can expect:

  • More TR program ideas!
  • More TR-Farm crossover posts!
  • More photos!
  • More video posts!
  • More CSA days!

I’m really going to push my posting on the weekends and aim for an average of 3 during the course of the work week. 

On top of blogging, farming, and being a pretty cool cat I am also getting ready to start looking for a job upon my return to Montreal. I’m looking forward to seeing what these next two months bring. Undoubtedly they will continue to keep me busy on my adventures through organic agriculture!