I have been on 2 farms in the past 2 weeks and here is what I have done:

1)   I am a fan of hitchhiking as I have done it a lot lately. I also really like riding in the back of trucks with 300+ lbs of beans/rice/corn/whatever.

2)   The first farm I was on was an all-organic farm about 8K from the bus stop. Hiking that in the dark was a little scary, but the stars (and lack of light at all) made the journey well worth it! The mist over that farm, when it was raining, was out of this world beautiful. Seeing clouds swallow mountains is breath taking!

3)   This farm was also off the electrical grid. As cool as the bio-digestor (goggle it!) is, it doesn’t keep a flame all that well and very constantly. Most of my meals had to be cooked over a wood flame (I now kick ass at starting fires… but keeping them going is another story). My machete accuracy is also improving, as I had to chop all my own firewood. However, I got sick of just eating beans and rice with no spices.  Also, it became more and more difficult to cook food as all the wood was wet (from the days and days of constant rain). Finally (after 6 days of not talking to a single person, a lot of reading and a lot of arguments with myself) a girl (Elyna) showed up! I quickly realized that I was a little miserable at that farm. She suggested that we leave– so we did!

4)   We both arrived at “The Biosphere” (another organic farm), but it’s more of a family who all lives and grows and eats here. The energy (if you believe in that sort of thing) is excellent and I feel cozy! (Read: I don’t feel like I’m in a 3rd world country). The other night we watched Princess Bride while eating popcorn. The only thing that was missing was hot-cocoa (which we’ll make tonight once we get more dolce) out of hand-picked cocao. They have a kitten who sleeps on my bed every night which makes me miss my whore, but having a decent kitchen/volunteer facilities makes it worth it. They also have a duck who likes to “run laps” on the roof at 5:30am. (I think she’s practicing her take off and landings.) I’ll be here for the 21st (they’re having a big festival for the end of the world) and then I’ll move on to Leon w/ Elyna (if we’re all still here).

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Here is are some of the random things that I have learned:

1)   If you cut a log/branch for firewood (with a machete), stand the branch up and hack at an angle, turn the branch, hack again, turn the branch, hack again… (Rinse and repeat until you get some grooves/wedges and/or can snap it.)

2)   Fried green bananas are pretty damn tasty. Also, there are about a thousand different varieties of bananas. I really like the small super-sweet ones. J I wonder if I’ll ever eat Dole bananas again.

3)   To milk a goat or a cow, you use the same technique; it’s just that one utter is bigger than the other.

4)   You don’t need baking soda/powder for tortillas. In fact, I prefer it without.

5)   Malanga is probably the best food I’ve eaten here so far. It’s a root that grows in swampy-areas with big full “cow-hoof” leaves. It tastes like a buttered potato, slightly sweeter and a more creamy texture. If it weren’t so high in carbs I would eat it with every meal.

6)   The mountains of Nicaragua are breath taking! Especially after it rains and you are high up in the cloud.

7)   With all the different places I’ve been working at, I’m slowly, but surely, keeping a list of what I like/dislike in Bosses, management styles, what kind of team I like to work with, what kind of work I excel at vs what is difficult for me, how I would lead a team/project differently, how to be more efficient, etc. This isn’t really interesting to anyone BUT me, but I thought I would mention it as this is something I’ve spent a great deal of time figuring out lately.

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