Sunday Morning Farming

Early this Sunday morning I awoke to a bluebird day. I threw on my Bean Boots, snagged one of my many jackets, and scrambled into our garage for four metal shovels. I threw them into the back of the Muhlenberg Shuttle and hopped into the shotgun seat, four of my fellow early risers seated comfortable in the rows behind. We were destined for Riegelsville PA, to meet up with Dan Lieber a self sufficient, artisan, free-flowing farmer. I threw in my ear buds and dozed off to Radiohead’s Kid A album until waking up to a spotted dog, Cowbell, come running to great his new visitors. We wandered about from the prairie grass maze to the garden beds of freshly sprouting garlic, in awe of a simpler life-style. From here we divided into teams, Nickie and Simmi headed the chicken coop operation, giving them a fresh, clean home, and even witnessed the laying of a farm fresh egg. I entered into the sheep pen with Nicole and Alli, making animal noises while we waited for Dan to come back. It was our mission to manicure the sheep. We herded them into their barn with awkward hand motions and released them one by one with the help of a flimsy piece of plywood. It was my job to sit atop the sheep while Nicole and Alli wooed the stressed beast, allowing Dan to clip all four hooves of each ewe. As the process progressed the mothers would call out in conversation to their baby lambs in a series of “baas” and grunts. Realizing the stress on the mother-child relationship we carried one by one the babies outside to their waiting mothers, leaving behind Big Daddy, the ram. Here is where the fun began. Positioning a 400lb ram atop a metal stand for an extended period of time, to trim its hooves can be easier said than done. But after a successfully being squished by a dread-lock Rastafarian ram, a couple of laughs and “oh shits” from the group, we finally released the big ole from his harness and watched as he ran to his herd. We finished the day with a tour of Dan’s witchcraft corner, some ritual cleansing, and rock placement before sitting down to rest. As noon approached, the van returned, and we mossied our way over slowly, fighting the urge to never leave that place. Somewhat reluctantly we all piled back into the shuttle, I conversed and reminisced with the driver about the land in Virginia before throwing my buds back in. The Shins clouded my thoughts as be entered back into the Muhlenberg Bubble, life “returning to normal”.

 

Dan Lieber

Dan Lieber

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I Like Dirt!

Hello fellow tree huggers! I am back for the next installment of the glorious and oh so informative Muhlenberg Treehouse Blog. A lot has happened since my last post and while my fellow housemates shall have covered the week by week stories I wish to share my viewpoint on everything permaculture. As winter looms in the distance, the air begins to carry a crisp chill as it blows about. Before the coming of Father Frost, the housemates were able to finish all of the seasonal weeding left overgrown from the summer months. A great “hurrah!”, for this was our ultimate task established during the beginning of the year.

Christian and I have continued with our Friday work days and our dear friend Mira has graced us with her presence repeatedly, bringing enthusiasm and vigor every time. Last Friday, with her help, we planted the first new trees at the Treehouse (fitting amirite?) two cherry trees to grow at the center of a circle of blueberry bushes. As we dawned the amethyst warpaint of choke-berry dye across our faces, the three of us went about the rest of our day in a bit more of a primal state.

During last Sunday’s garden hours the tree-mates banded together to complete the labeling of all plants located in the garden. With Simmi creating the labels, Nickie heading research, and Christian and I running about the garden, we succeeded at placing a silver sign with common and scientific name at the base of every plant in the Edible Forrest.

As Christian posted earlier about the Solar Panel Installation, I now wake up bright and early with the rising Sun to take a warming shower powered by the very thing that first created life on Earth. I have attached a picture of the solar panels during installation and the two men that put in a full days work before driving to Philadelphia to continue working all-night on a fully sustainable house. I would like to take the time to thank these two men for their hard work and friendliness in letting Christian and I help in the installation process of mounting the panels.

I guess that’s everything for now folks! Please stay tuned as the fun is just now beginning for the individuals housed in the glorious Treehouse, surely to be a staple landmark on the campus of Muhlenberg.

As Always,
Cheers,

Ellison
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