The Organic Apprentice

sowing the seeds of learning!


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“Dixit” Disturbances

It’s incredible what you can learn about yourself through simple recreation sometimes. Last night six of us gathered around the kitchen table and played a couple of board games. With Sarah leaving today at some point and Chrissy arriving for the month there was much to celebrate! The two games we got to were Dixit and Apples to Apples.

Both games have a similar rules system where players interpret a word or image with their own word or image. I have played Apples to Apples before and find that the wordage and vocabulary makes for an abstract yet still rules-driven game. Dixit on the other hand seemed much more ambiguous in it’s rules and arbitrary in it’s rulings. 

I have nothing against creative or abstract games. However, Dixit did not sit well with me. I felt uneasy and uncomfortable with the game. I used the word “guarded” to describe the feeling at the time. I couldn’t understand what about this quirky board game was making me dislike it. Perhaps it is my history of Dungeon and Dragons playing as that game runs on a distinct rules system with objective methods for making decisions (rolling dice, skill modifiers, etc.). Rules systems with clearly defined parameters tend to make it easier for me to engage with the game. Dixit was just TOO open-ended for my liking. Call me a game purist but it lacked the comfort of a rigid set of rules by which to play and judge player progress.Image

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Distractions

I’ve found that time on the farm passes extremely quickly. The morning passes before you know it, pretty soon afterwards the afternoon finds a way to sneak past you. Of course some days feel a bit longer than others. However, overall I’ve found that with fewer distractions than in the city I can focus more on tasks while here at Bantry Bay Farm. Because of this focus I get into more of a state of flow. The problem arises when that focus is broken; sometimes by the weather, the view, or a simple curiosity. These interruptions are, thankfully, brief and do not seem to interfere with my ability to remain focused on task. However, occasionally other more formidable distractions arise that I have a harder time ignoring.

I thought I had successfully avoided any form of attachment or distraction before I left Montreal. But as it turns out sometimes distractions have a way of finding you.

One of the questions about farming that I hadn’t really ever considered asking anybody was “How do farmers meet people?” If you consider the lifestyle of a farmer they are left with little time to mingle. Yet, many farmers appear to live happy and successful family lives.

Let’s put aside hookers, craigslist, and beer goggles for a moment. The only way I can imagine anybody living a farm lifestyle meeting somebody special would be by pure, natural, unaltered coincidence (consider it “organic coincidence” if you will). Maybe this is enough for most people. I think that maybe organic coincidence is also the greatest way to meet people. It’s like the universe throwing you a candy bar and/or high-five and saying “Here you go, just because you rock dude.” It’s nice to feel as if the universe is on your side especially when what it offers is truly something special.

So as much as I have been distracted at times these past couple of weeks I can’t help but continue to enjoy my time at Bantry Bay Farm. The flowers are out, crops are thriving, the air is fresh, and life continues to be good!


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CSA week #3

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Another great CSA day! We began harvesting a bit before 7:00AM and were ready for the CSA before noon. The bags got packed around 3:00PM and pickups went smoothly from there. Bags were stuffed with beet greens (which have some sizeable beets on some of them), kohlrabi, red sail lettuce, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli! We also harvested a good handful of garlic scapes and about 8.5 pounds of baby zuchinni! 

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Can’t wait to do it all over again on Thursday!


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When Peggy Met George…

So this past week we received a new addition to the Bantry Bay occupancy. Nobody was more excited (I think) than the old horse George because the newcomer is a female horse (‘mare’) named Peggy!

Here they both are grazing in the back pasture of their enclosure:

<– Peggy & George –>

George is wearing a fly mask (I just finished ‘googling’ what it was and what it was for) because he’s been getting bitten around his eyes/nose lately by, ironically, horse flies. There has been a lot more noise than usual coming from the pasture which I presume is owing to the prescience of “another horse”. George and Peggy appear to get along rather well. When one moves into an area of the enclosure the other tends to follow. They won’t likely be seen wandering outside of the enclosed pastures as their caretaker, Julie, has repaired the fence and hooked up the electric fencing… which definitely works.

In any case, it’s nice to have another horse around the farm. I like to treat them as intelligent, observant, and highly intuitive creatures that add greatness to an already incredible farm atmosphere!


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Potluck Mission July 20 + The Trials & Exhilarations of Starting A Small Farm

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Young Agrarians

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Stoked for our first potluck in Mission, BC at Ferndale Farms! Thank you to Taylor McPherson for hosting on his farm and Alyssa Belter for lighting the Young Agrarians event fire in the area!!! This is an all ages event:)

Date has been changed to: Saturday, July 20, 2013
4pm Farm Tour
5pm Potluck

There will be a BBQ
BYODrinks
Bring something to grill
Bring something to share potluck styles
Bring tools to eat with

If you want to camp overnight please bring what you need to make it happen:)

Address: 34219 Laxton Avenue Mission BC

To join the event on Facebook click here.

Check out Taylor McPherson’s recent article below reprinted from Footprint Press

Photos by Taylor McPherson

Taylor McPherson article

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Potato Beetle 101

Earlier this week Mike and I were preparing to adjust he row covers on our potatoes when we noticed some insurgent potato beetles on some of the plants. The numbers were uncomfortably high so we began hunting down the beetles plant-by-plant. I observed the full cycle of potato beetle life from egg to reproductive adults as I went about my exterminating.

The only stage not included in the photographs are the juvenile beetles. At that stage the beetles are small, brown, round, jellyish bugs.

Luckily the beetles are easy to spot due to their bright colouring. The eggs are also very obvious as their bright orange colouration makes them stand out brightly against the green leaves of the potato plants.

You may know of the Colorado Potato Beetle for the havoc it wreaks upon large monoculture potato crops. This havoc is what led to the rise of genetic modification and pesticide use to control this crop pest. Even with our smaller-scale organic operation Bantry Bay must contest with the pervasive beetle. However, instead of turning to sprays or modified plants we focus on keeping the plants covered (with the fabric cover’s edges buried with soil) and do regular spot-checks to remove beetles from the plants. It’s a tough battle but we do what we can!


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Project Layabout: building my own hammock!

I made a short video of the building of my own hammock out of recycled materials. I’ve since lain in it and found it amazingly comfortable. Lying in a hammock looking into the canopy of two gorgeous trees sure is a great way to kick off the summer!

Keep an ear open for the constant chatter of birds in the background. This is what I live with on a daily basis, it’s amazing.