This morn was our last day of biking and we couldn’t have planned for the weather better if we had tried. All week long, we’ve been trying to stay ahead of the bad weather; rain, snow, slush and what not. Yet each day’s conditions of our journey seemed to be calling us to the road. And that’s a call that’s hard to ignore.
Over our entire trip, we covered 95 miles in five days. While that may not seem like a great achievement to some, to our untrained and downhill-loving bodies it certainly was. Indeed, by last night we were ready to go to bed at 9:00 pm. And yes, we did. However, around 4:00am, we all seemed to wake up; Amanda hungry for breakfast, and most others for a toilet trip. We finally got up at 7:00 still wishing we could cling to our covers and pillows. Liz, however, had not slept much because she had gotten a bad bout of nausea, and everything that follows that, in the night. She decided that biking was not going to agree with her body so we ended up leaving her at the farm while we biked the 7 miles back to school, got a car and came back to get her.
Since we had had all day yesterday to discuss the farm and CSA with the Leber family, we said our goodbyes to Amy, Andy, Ethan, Dippy, and Kitty Cat and went on our way.
After picking up Liz and once back at school, we jumped in the car and headed down to Gettysburg and the Ragged Edge coffee shop to see our friend Elaine from the Everblossom farm at work at her winter job. We surprised her with a happy birthday “Horeo” (an Oreo with honey in the middle), had a bit to eat and drink, relaxed on the couches, and got to chat with Elaine in the midst of all the hustle and bustle.
Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that each of the farms we visited are very different from each other and unique in their own way. Each one taught us an important lesson about organic farming and Community Supported Agriculture. It was such a blessing to be welcomed into these peoples’ homes and lives and to learn about their passions for farming.
We want to express a special thanks to everyone from the Goldfinch, Everblossom, and Shared Earth farms. You have taught and inspired us so much. We hope to stay in touch and cross paths again soon.
When we woke up this morning each of us immediately looked out the window to evaluate the weather. We had been planning to visit the Shared Earth Farm on Wednesday but decided that, if the weather was ok, we would move the visit up a day. There was no rain or snow as predicted yet we proceeded to perpetuate the uneasy relationship we have with weather.com only to find out that our window of opportunity was narrowing. The rain was on its way and would hit in an hour. We ate breakfast, packed our bags, loaded the bikes and were off.
The seven mile jaunt from Grantham to the Shared Earth Farm was nothing in comparison to the thirty three miles of hills on our first day of the journey. Among other things, the ride was a relief for all our sore bottoms. We arrived at the Shared Earth Farm in less than forty-five minutes with not a drop of rain. The rain did come a little later.
We spent the day learning, eating delicious home cooking, discussing farming, and listening to Ethan’s extensive vocabulary. As I type he is pilling pillows, toys, and other random household items on my leg because it is a “beewding site.” This afternoon I sat on Dippy the cat when, after standing up from my chair for just five seconds, he tried to curl up on it. I got him back at some point because latter I found a handful of orange and white hair pinched underneath one of the chair legs.
Shiela, Amy’s mother, Ethan’s grandmother, and the head farmer here at Shared Earth showed us around the farm while explaining that their CSA will be expanding this year to 50 whole shares. She also educated us about the connection between the lunar cycle and plant growth. There is certainly a bright future for this CSA and its community. There seems to be immense potential as well because of its location relative to Messiah College.
Service day, April 17, 2008 at Shared Earth Farm: be there.
The rooster crowed around 7 in the AM, waking Karah and I for a morning stroll. Walking out toward the barnyard, we made a quick detour onto the feild of the neighboring farm. But, the heavy stench of manure pervaded our noses, and we made a U-turn towards the Elaine’s Everblossom Farmhouse. Before we made it to the entrance, Elaine and her chickens crossed our path. She greeted us with a cheery “Good Morning” as she continued to give the birds their seed. Ironically, for breakfast those same chicken’s eggs were frying on the stovetop. The hearty meal served as an energy booster for the early-morning garden work we had in front of us. The 2 acre garden was little but fruitful, with garlic, varieties of greens, vegetables, berries, and herbs. Elaine farms this space biointensively which means: grow as much as you can in the smallest space possible. We learned first-hand about the effort that goes into it. The greenhouse needed to be moved two lots over, and we were all the farming help she ever wanted. Together, team tour-de-farm peeled off the plastic, undid the nuts and bolts, and carried the structure piece by piece to the new plot. Thanks to Elaine and Eric’s direction, we assembled the base to our first hoop house!! It was quite the expeience.
We were off after one more bite to eat and a quick planning session in front of the antique wood stove. East Berlin was but a delightful memory as we hit the road back to Grantham. Grantham was our choice destination because the weather ahead was debatable with possible snow/rain showers for the next couple days. Biking has it’s physical and mental challenges, but the outside world also brings a whole new dynamic too.
As of this morning, we are on our way to the next adventure: Shared Earth Farm of Mechanicsburg, PA.
At eight thirty this morning we all rolled off our prospective matts or futons, and began preparing for what promised to be a rainy day of riding. Our gracious hosts John, Beth, and Ellis continued to provide us with good food and even better company as they showed us around Goldfinch farm, joined us in some focused conversation about the CSA, and then saw us off and onto the next leg of our journey. The weather had begun to turn in our favor, and with more bags on our bikes than under our eyes, we shoved off. Unfortunately, we only made it about 100ft up the first hill when my asthma kicked in full force. A quick call to Amanda’s mom set plan B in motion for the day, and 4 miles up the road she picked me up, and I headed back to Grantham via mini-van. I pulled up to my house, said goodbye to my lifesaver, Mrs. Frankeny, and exchanged my bike for my honda accord. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew were bravely facing the rolling hills and blustery wind that stood between them and our next destination Everblossom Farm. They managed with a lunch break on the side of the road where they broke out the camp stove and made some couscous. As they continued on their way I threw a few extra sleeping bags into my car (hit up the local Starbucks), and started my motorized trek to rejoin my team. The twenty mile car ride seemed like it took forever because I found myself sizing up every dip and hill in the road. I had never looked at hills in that way before, but knowing how difficult they would be to bike I wanted to give the team a rundown of what to expect. Finally, just outside of East Berlin I spotted them on a hilltop. What champions. I pulled a quick U-ey, turned on my fourway flashers, whipped out the camcorder, made many a car behind me mutter under their breath, and began to document the journey once more. Amanda led the group for the most part, keeping a good pace out in front. At one point a cop pulled up to me to see if anything was wrong since I had my flashers on. I assured him I was just supervising the crew coming up the hill, and when he saw the flock of bike coming our way he looked back at me like I had three heads. With no further incidence, other than Brother Ben crashing on the side of the road, we all road slowly but surely up to Everblossom Farm. Inside, Elaine and Eric greeted us warmly, and then escorted us to Elaine’s sister, Jody’s house, where we enjoyed a traditional Irish meal and lively conversation. We covered many different topics, raw “cooking”, a new word for mucusy…mucual, and how to soak rice with no boiling water and only a college degree…hmmm. Perhaps if we create some graphs we can figure it out. Well thats all for now. I am nothing short of amazed at the connections we have experienced almost instantly with everyone we have met. The love and support we are all receiving is overwhelming. Tomorrow will be our first day of farm work. Expect good things.
We began our journey around 2:30pm. The sun was shining, the air was warm, and the breeze gentle. Our spirits were high as we left the Davies’ house and then we turned the corner to encounter…A HILL!! We were soon to learn that we would encounter many hills…hill after hill after hill. Big hills, huge hills, and massive hills! In fact, York County should be nicknamed the county of hills.
Nonetheless, we persevered. We worked out some kinks in our bikes; Ben lost a screw, Amanda needs to stay in the lowest gear, and we’ve all had a few bumps as we get used to carrying the bags on the back of our bikes.
But we were blessed by a beautiful day! And Carolyn was able to set the video camera on her handle bars to get some great footage. We also made a hearty Cliff bar pit stop.
One of the best parts of the day was when we were almost to the Goldfinch Farm. We had just finished a glorious downhill only to look up and find an intimidating uphill up ahead. Our hearts sank until we realized that Schmuck Road, our final turn that would take us to the Goldfinch Farm, was right before the uphill! And, in case you were wondering, Schmuck Road is all downhill! It was smooth sailing to the Farm where we were greeted by John and Beth and their son Ellis, along with a delicious meal of bean and sweet potato enchilladas, cornbread and fresh veggies. We enjoyed a great evening of fellowship and tea and look forward to the morning as we learn more about the Goldfinch Farm!
As many people know, almost every day of the year has a holiday that is associated with it. Some are stranger than others. As a group, we would like to recognize at least one of these holidays on each day of our journey. Here is the schedule:
March 15th: The Ides of March
March 16th: Lips Appreciation Day
March 17th: St. Patricks Day
March 18th: Awkward Moments Day
March 19th: Act Happy Day
March 20th: National Agriculture Day
Mr. Rogers’ (would be) 80th b-day (wear a cardigan)
If you’d like to know more about the holidays of the year, check out this link: Holidays
We’re pretty pumped