A Day in the Life

My day:

  • 6 am – Up and at ’em, tiger! Lots of animal care, followed by self-care and some coffee (that’s kind of redundant, since coffee totally counts as “self-care”).
  • 7:20 am – Out the door and on the bike to…
  • 8:15 am – White River State Park and prepping for the Growing Places Indy CSA. Assess plants and get a general plan of attack down.
  • 8:30 am-12 pm – Do yoga; schlep a bunch of tools, containers, and other accoutrements out of the parking garage closet; harvest, wash, and store the veggies (we’re talking kohlrabi, chard, kale, beets, radishes, lettuce, herbs, service berries, and so much more I’m forgetting now).
  • 12-1 pm – Lunch at City Market, watching the world go by at the weekly farmers market downtown.
  • 1-2 pm – Attend awesome discussion on food culture and food access in Indianapolis with the people from Living Well Community Garden and KI EcoCenter. One of my favorite quotes from KI EcoCenter Program Director Paulette Fair: “When a child comes in eating cheese curls at the community center, I say, ‘Why do you make me love you more than you love you?'”
  • 2-3 pm – Actually GO TO THE BATHROOM, chug some water, and lie in the grass for a minute.
  • 3-6:30 pm – Put out all CSA veggies and make ’em look pretty (which doesn’t require much effort, thankfully). Give veggies to happy people who seem to feel the same way about beautiful vegetables as I do. Learn how to use a broad fork. Learn how to patch a tube on a bike tire. Laugh a little. Pack up, clean up, and schlep everything back down to the dungeon-parking garage closet. Check out and mentally high five everyone.
  • 6:30-7:30 pm – Bike home.
  • 7:30-10 pm – Pet puppy and pick mulberries. Put away delicious fresh veggies. Make dinner (chard/kale mix sauteed with garlic, over easy eggs, feta, and sliced radishes). Pack up lunch and set out clothes for tomorrow morning. Talk to mom. Finally answer work emails for the day, which are far too numerous.
  • 10 pm (aka NOW) – Blog about your insanely packed, yet insanely awesome day.

Next up? Couch time with the dog and the dude until I pass out in t-minus 25 minutes. What a tremendous week, although the coming weekend will be a welcomed relief. 

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Trying to Find the Words…

I don’t quite know how to put this yet, but I feel like I am somehow cheating at life last week and this week. I started the apprenticeship with Growing Places Indy, and I can still say, without a doubt, it’s one of the best choices I’ve made/opportunities I’ve been given in this world. EVER.

20130607. Garden jungle.

(Meanwhile on the home front… the garden has taken on jungle proportions…)

It’s like I am living this decadent reality when, really, all I am doing is taking care of myself, taking care of plants and the earth, and taking care of people around me. I guess it’s a little sad that this feels so decadent, but that’s not the part I’m choosing to dwell on. Instead, I’m trying to fill myself up with the awesomeness of feeling this way and trying to figure out how to prolong it long after August 10 when the apprenticeship ends.

20130607. Nasturtium and garlic.

(Nasturtium and garlic make friends…)

And, for the record, we apprentices have already begun talking about how sad we will be to see the apprenticeship come to a close. It’s only the end of week two, but when every day feels like three or four days packed into one (in a good way), I feel very close to these people already. It’s like a happier, soul searching, plant- and food-centric boot camp.

20130607. Beaker does not like being left out of the garden.

(Beaker expresses her discontent at not being allowed to eat – and poop on – all the backyard garden plants…)

I’m surrounded by truly amazing people: the apprentices, the leaders of the program, and the handful of people who have come in to speak with us. It’s just too much! My heart feels like it’s bursting.

20130607. Beaker is the best mulberry forager.

(Beaker scavenges mulberries from the grass while I scavenge from the tree…)

I’m clearing my mind of the extraneous bullshit, being present (really and truly PRESENT), learning so much, working hard, eating well, talking and sharing, doing yoga… I feel like I need to milk every moment for all it’s worth because it’s such a foreign feeling, it’s just not NORMAL, and I fear it could go away at any time.

20130607. Garlic scape.

(Alien shapes find their way into the garden via garlic scapes…)

I feel centered and balanced and vibrant and like I’m paying attention to these things for the first time in years, if not ever. I feel supported and like I really could do anything, like there is a community of people, all around me in the program and in the city of Indianapolis, who can help me accomplish these things and who want me to succeed. And vice versa.

20130607. Mulberry.

(Mulberries fill jars and stain hands and lips…)

Just for the record, here are just a few of the many things I have done or learned so far:

  • Biked 116 miles in two weeks.
  • Learned how to take a soil pH test.
  • Learned how to grow micro greens and sunflower and pea shoots.
  • Laid out irrigation/drip/t-tape across many garden beds.
  • Realized I could still do cartwheels and yoga is actually way more centering and invigorating than I thought.
  • Opened myself up without fear.
  • Met local business folks who are working to put out sustainable, amazing products (and learned I should just do it – with a halfway decent business plan in my pocket, of course).
  • Harvested greens and herbs and helped organize/disperse green goodies at my first CSA pickup.
  • Laughed and got stressed out and talked and picked myself up and worked it all out and laughed again and shared more with strangers than I have in YEARS.
  • Found myself feeling nostalgic for the present, if that’s possible.
  • Began thinking about fundraising ideas and putting together proposals so all of this year’s apprentices can “pay it forward” for next year’s (I’m sure) equally, if not more, amazing apprentices.
20130607. Dinner tonight! All from the backyard or Growing Places Indy.

(What dinner looks like on most nights: beautiful greens and eggs from the backyard, herbs from Growing Places Indy. We lead charmed lives…)

My Little Whirlwind of a Life

I seem to have very little time on the computer these days. This is certainly not a complaint, just an observation. I’ve been on my bike, in the sun, learning, talking, doing – and when I am on the computer, it’s to dedicate some time to my day job, which has so graciously and kindly allowed me to have this summer of awesome.

It’s funny how extracurricular internet is the first thing to go when life gets busy-happy (or, like last night, just plain exhausted… OMG SO EXHAUSTED). Nevertheless, it’s high time for a post about all the awesome goings on over here.

VISITORS FROM AFAR
Over Memorial Day weekend, I hosted two of my favorite ladies – good friends from San Francisco and North Carolina who I wish lived much, much closer. We ate ice cream and delicious food stuffs, played with chickens, napped, watched Sherlock and Portlandia and Jenna Marbles videos on YouTube, visited the butterflies and the meerkats at the zoo, and went to the Indianapolis 500 parade. It was a much-needed weekend of girl check-in and resting time.

The ladies, the ladies!
20130525. Sarah, Carrie, and me. Indianapolis Zoo.

Butterfly cocoons, looking like leaves and beads and the rare jewels that they are.
20130525. Butterfly cocoons. Indianapolis Zoo.

The most pensive meerkat.
20130525. The best meerkat. Indianapolis Zoo.

Petting sharks.
20130525. Shark petting. Indianapolis Zoo.

GROWING PLACES INDY URBAN FARM APPRENTICESHIP: It Is ON!

Our first day: Introductions, bicycles, strawberries and garlic and Jerusalem artichokes, downtown Indy, yoga, rows of greens and clover, chickens, markets, more veggies than I probably know what to do with, and some already stellar people.

20130528. Growing Places Indy.

An overall good motto to live by, right?

We finished our first week, and I can honestly say this is one of the better decisions I have made in my life. It’s on the same level of deciding to go on a solo trip around Europe in my late-20s or transferring schools to Humboldt State in my early-20s. And it’s only the first week! In the past three days, I have harvested mint, oregano, lemon balm, strawberries, chard, kale, radishes, and… a lot more. I have also biked nearly 60 miles in those three days.

Even better, I have eaten some amazing food and have an entire shelf in my fridge dedicated to locally produced or homemade items (some of which was produced in my own kitchen).

My current office.

My current office.

At White River State Park, thinking about a nap under this sign.

The best part of all? My fellow apprentices are pretty fantastic. I’m not surprised at that – I am just so excited about HOW fantastic they really are. I am also super excited that I will get to be the veggie share/CSA coordinator this summer, as well as work on fundraising for next year’s apprentices (a sort of “pay it forward” model) with another of the apprentices. If you have any brilliant fundraising project ideas, let ’em fly!

20130530. What ever could be hiding in that over-stuffed bag?

What ever could be hiding in my ridiculously overstuffed bike bag?

20130530. The sexiest top shelf of a fridge ever - completely local or homemade items.

My first Growing Places Indy CSA share, of course! Our top shelf is nothing but ultra local produce or stuff made by our chickens or me (mmm, apple sauce canned from last fall’s orchard visit).

THE STATE OF THE GARDEN
I would be remiss to not mention the fact that our garden has been off the chain this spring. It has also been a long, cool, wet spring, which means my earlier season plants are rocking my socks off. Let’s just close out this post with a few pretty garden pictures, shall we?

20130529. State of the garden - lettuce.

Some of the lettuce leaves are about a foot long. DINO LETTUCE.

20130529. State of the garden - tomatoes.

Baby cherry tomatoes.

20130529. State of the garden - strawberries and lettuce.

Strawberries and lettuce for last night’s dinner – mint strawberry salad with pea tendrils. Yeah, it didn’t suck.

20130529. State of the garden - tatsoi.

TATSOI!

20130529. State of the garden.

Long view of the garden.

It’s May! … and Everything’s Coming Up Christie

I am in love with this month, and it’s still only the first day. Why, you ask? Here’s a small sampling of what we’ve got going on in the next 30 days:

    • My nephew Zachary’s first birthday on 5/4 and my brother’s birthday the next day.
20120629. Vacation to Colorado to visit the family.

The goober last summer, only about 8 weeks old.

day 4 - brian and sarah at the teahouse.

Brian and Sarah at this teahouse we hiked to up in the mountains years ago, somewhere in Alberta.

    • My birthday on May 18, oh yeah!

100518. sad bird.

    • A fantastic homebrewing festival this weekend, Big Brew 2013 at Great Fermentations just down the street from our house, featuring classes on cheesemaking and wild yeast cultures/sour beers, followed up by a cookout at a friend’s house (I’m bringing deviled eggs, of course!).
    • A tour of Fruit Loop Acres, which is a truly awesome urban endeavor by two pretty awesome people, from what I hear, this Sunday.
    • Mother’s Day and a visit to my parents’ place up near Chicago, including a huge family picnic and my brother, sis-in-law, and two nephews visiting from Colorado.
20111024. playing with ben.

Me and Ben, my almost 4-year-old nephew, who I think is pretty much the coolest.

090815. me and mom, deception pass.

Me and my amazing, beautiful, wonderful, ridiculously caring mom at Deception Pass in Washington a few years back.

    • A visit from three fantastic women to little old Indianapolis – Sarah from San Francisco, Carrie from North Carolina, and Nikki from Toronto are all going to be IN MY HOUSE AT THE SAME TIME! I *almost* literally cannot wait and feel way too lucky. We will eat ice cream at BRICS and brunch at Three Sisters and go to the Indy 500 parade and hit up 100 Acres and the IMA and watch bad television and hang out with the chickens in the backyard and cuddle Birdie and and and… I just can’t wait.
20111002. visit to asbury park, nj.

Two of my three girls, on an adventure in 2011 to Asbury Park, NJ, to see Jeff Mangum play his first show in a long while. Best weekend ever.

    • AAAAAND… the start of my apprenticeship with Growing Places Indy on 5/28!

20120920. Happy!

The last couple of months have been rough ones. This month, though… this month is going to be the greatest one ever. Sometimes (okay, most of the time), I really love my life.

P.S. Also… Chris is currently prepping our hop trellis. That’s right… We’re also planting our HOPS this month! I’m telling you, “m” is for May and magic.

Officially Official!

It’s official! I just sent in my acceptance to be one of eight lucky apprentices at Growing Places Indy’s 2013 summer apprenticeship program. I am so dang excited. DANG excited! It starts the day after Memorial Day and ends in August. The end of May will be here before I know it, but it still feels like forever to wait.

I am also so grateful to my employer for letting me do this. I’ll be taking a part-time sabbatical (and probably working rather strange hours) during this time. I’ll be busy, but I can do anything for 10 weeks, particularly when it’s stuff I really want to be doing. It’s really important to me, too, that I give my employer my all during those 20 hours a week. I never, ever, EVER want them to regret allowing me to take this opportunity.

From Growing Places Indy’s website, here’s the breakdown of what I’ll be doing this summer:

SO! DANG! EXCITED!

In totally unrelated news, yesterday I knitted a hedgehog
20130413. I knitted a hedgehog today.

And bought some splurge yarn to knit this sweater.
20130414. Splurge yarn for splurge sweater.