Chigger, Please!

Last weekend marked our final one as urban farm apprentices with Growing Places Indy, and in celebration we took a very special trip to Hobbit Gardens Erth Gathering Center to get a tour of extensive herb gardens, participate in a Native American sweat ceremony, and share possibly the most amazing potluck dinner I have ever had. Constance is an herb farmer, which makes for a beautiful, colorful, and delicious smelling place, full of the buzzing of bees, flutter of butterflies, and flowers in every direction.

20130804. Hobbit Gardens.

I would love to sit down with Constance and pick her brain about every plant and its uses and benefits. Her whole demeanor (a ball of energy, quick to laugh, rattling off scientific names like breakfast cereals) and outlook (“gardening is not a benign act”) was a breath of fresh air.

20130804. Hobbit Gardens.

The only downside: by Monday, the chigger bites started showing up. By Tuesday, nearly every single one of us had extensive, itchy bites popping up in all the wrong places. And I mean ALL THE WRONG PLACES. A sampling:

20130807. Chigger, please!

Tomorrow marks our last day as apprentices. I’m a jumble of emotions: sad, nostalgic, missing my new friends already, excited to move forward onto the next adventures, and a whole lot I can’t even put into words.

At one point today, we had about 12 itty bitty kiddos walking through the garden, reminding me of one of the many ways this summer has been so incredibly special. We had a bucket of husk cherries out, and I showed them how to remove the husk and eat the berry inside (they even got to throw their “litter” – the husk – right on the ground). Every kid tried one, some came back for seconds, and only one spit it back out. I call that success!

20130807. I got every kid to try a husk cherry, and only one spit it out. Success!