Thursday, 15 December 2016

November

November on the farm


In November we felt the real Irish cold...









Some days the fields have dawned with frost. When the soil is frozen, we usually work inside the polytunnels planting sprouts or weeding in addition to classifying the potatoes that we had harvested. One day it was so cold that even the water for the horses appeared frozen.


This cold weather doesn’t stop the production of the farm. Here, we have plants and vegetables that are adapted to the cold and to the winter season like the brassica family. The least resistant plants as lettuces are sheltered from the cold in polytunnels. Onions, carrots and potatoes are stored in places insulated from cold and moisture.







Amazing harvesting with winter vegetables

Brassica family

 Although some days the kale leaves are wilted by the cold, every Monday and Friday we make a great harvest of this vegetable.

Black kale
Black kale

Red russian kale leave

Scarlet kale

Scarlet kale

We are also harvesting cabbage. We have several varieties as Savoy cabbage, common and red cabbage. The last cauliflowers and broccoli of the season were harvested as the frosts have affected their growth and their production.

Savoy cabbage

Savoy cabbage 

Savoy cabbage leaves with water

Broccoli
Another crop that has been affected by the cold has been celery. Although it tastes good, plants grow at a very slow rate.


In the polytunnels we continue harvesting mustard and baby spinach.
In this month we also continue harvesting herbs like parsley and coriander although due to the cold, their growth is too slow. The mint herb is definitely finished.
Inside polytunnels we have many varieties of mild and spicy lettuces. In addition, spring onions, chard and beets which don't stop growing.

Second polytunnel

Third polytunnel
During November Kevin has taught us to plant garlic. Garlic is a crop that needs a lot of care in the sowing process. How have we planted garlic? (link)

Garlic
Other tasks we've done on the farm have been cleaning the horses' stable, weeding leeks, and walking with the horses.
horses' stable
Weeding leeks
Goi and I continue learning about horses. We usually walk with them about three times a week. We practice orders as turn right, turn left, go back, stand and walk forward. Each time we feel more confident with them and I think they too with us.


Horses
Shadow
Misty
Cocco
Buddy
On 26th of November we had a Farm Member's Meeting. The members of the farm called us to elaborate a presentation about the work of the EVS in the farm. The others EVS and I made a brief statement explaining our personal situation before coming to Cloughjordan and why we decided to be part of this project. It is curious to hear the different concerns of my fellow EVS and the different reasons why they wanted to dedicate a year of their life to support the community farm. In the presentation we talked about our experience and vision as volunteers and workers on the farm. This presentation helped us reflect on our volunteer work. In addition, it helped us learn to work as a team by organizing and agreeing on different aspects about what we wanted transmit to the community’s members.

Another extra-work learning that I have felt this month and that I would like to share is the change of our lifestyle in the ecovillage. For example, in these months I haven't bought anything unnecessary. Yes, it is true, I had to buy two pairs of working gloves, some pants and rain-resistant boots but that was really necessary material to be able to work in good conditions on the farm. I don't know what has made me see how absurd consumerism is, maybe being away from a big city, maybe not having money, maybe being disconnected everything from TV and its publicity... maybe It has been all together, it does not matter. Another opportunity we have being EVS in CLoughjordan is that each month we have an amount of money to buy food in a cooperative (Independent Irish health foodsLimited). This responsible consumption has also helped me to "open my eyes" since I discovered food and products that I didn't know and hadn't had the opportunity to buy before. Many of the products of the cooperative are organic and responsible with the environment. For example, this month I discovered a coffee that I love called Grumpy Mule.

Peru Café Femenino is a coffee produced by the women of the Union Cecanor Co-operative in Peru’s Lambayeque region. Part of the Café Femenino Coffee Project, this coffee is grown, processed and traded exclusively by women in a way that allows the coffee’s natural qualities to shine.

Another example of responsible product that I had the opportunity to discover has been the ecological toothbrush. I've never stopped to think of the difficulty of managing a common toothbrush as a landfill becouse they are made of non-recyclable plastics among other materials and, for obvious reasons, the common brushes aren’t biodegradable. Little by little we are discovering products that are more responsibles with the environment and, therefore, also with ourselves.
We learn a lot this month!! 

Some photos in November...

Goi & I in the Cloughjordan's main gate 

Goi enjoying a tree swing

Cloughjordan' sky. Can you see any constellation? I've found the big dipper constellation! -Is in the lower part, near the trees! :)
 So far, the reflection of the month of November.

Thank you and all the best like always!
Blanche (we miss u!!), Goi and I hahahaah