Friday, October 18, 2013

Done with the Gypsy Lifestyle

How was Japan? Are you glad to be back?/I bet you are glad to be home. So what are you doing now? Where are you living? Are you working? Do you miss Japan?

These are 6 of the bazillion questions we get asked when we see people for the first time upon our return home. As any high school or college graduate or newly wed or any person in any kind of transition knows, some times we are more receptive to answering these questions than other times. By now, we have crafted some well-rehearsed answers to these questions. And as of the past week, we are happy to change our response to one question: Where are you living? 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are no longer living out of our car, jumping back and forth between parents' houses, be it blood or in-lawed or even quasi-adopted parents. We are not planning our sleeping arrangements around our church or friend obligations. We have even gone so far as to change our address with our bank...

#10 Camp Mitchell Rd, Morrilton! You asked me where we're living? OK, I'll tell you: #10 Camp Mitchell Rd, Morrilton! That's where we're living! 

(^home made smoothie goes to the first person to guess the movie reference!)

We have a home. And it is atop a beautiful mountain next to the Arkansas River. We are living a summer camper's dream. 

Summer camp, 24/7, it's so awesome I'm gonna die!!

(^two smoothies if you guess 'em both!)

Doug and I know we are very blessed and fortunate to call this place home for the next three years. But we know it's not going to be rainbows and butterflies (summer camp) the whole time either. This place has dirt (the good and the bad kind) just like everywhere else and we're here to give and learn and grow in it.

Doug would like to be referred to as the Camp Mitchell Agricultural Specialist, you can call me the CM Farmer or Poultry Specialist or Bob. Any which way, two mere folk like us can't possibly even dream up this project by ourselves. YOU are welcome in this place, on the mountain, on the farm, to help or observe in any way. We welcome you and your friends, church, family, girl scout troop, cousin's girlfriends, and neighbors to join us. We will hold various official work weekends and you are welcome to arrange with us any other events or work times. 

So with that, let me update everyone on the progress of the Camp Mitchell Farm Project!

The wheat germinated! My sister Katie and her dog (Mia) have begun a weekly visit to the farm to help out. Last week we stepped the wheat, meaning just that, we stepped on it. We learned at ARI that stepping the wheat when it gets to a certain size is good for the wheat's roots. It strengthens them, toughens them up. Doug and I also put up a "deer fence." We were at the co-op to buy legit deer fencing and the man working filled us in on his deer proofing secret:

Apparently deer don't like to go shopping!
Katie and I made signs for the compost
We visited the petting zoo down the road and met with Helen who happily worked with us to clear manure out of a stall in her barn. We collected two full truck beds, go farm truck!


We also ordered 40cubic yards of compost from American Composting in North Little Rock. They delivered this mountain of dark chocolate goodness on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, Katie and Mia visited. We cleaned out the greenhouse. 

Later that evening, the Knights came for a campout. We worked all day Thursday clearing the rest of the garden beds, sowing mustard, lettuce, collards, and turnips. Our big job was assembling a quick-composting box. We learned a method of quick compost at ARI in which we build a frame, layer green matter, brown matter, manure, micro-organisms, and rice bran. The indigenous micro-organisms (IMO) feed off the rice bran and accelerate the decomposition of the other materials. If everything goes as planned, this box should finish through the winter!

Waiting on germination...
Don gathering leaves for our brown matter
Kathryn sprinkling rice bran
Finished compost box, should start steaming!
Doug with some turnip greens that came up!
Germinated kale!
Other happenings on the farm include the anticipation of chicks! We ordered 25 rainbow pullets last week and they should arrive the first week of November. Our big projects now will be preparing the brooder house and eventually the coop, and clearing the land across the street where we plan to grow most of the crops and vegetables.

Agricultural Specialist
Agricultural Specialist, working lunch bar
Rainbow around the sun!
Japan was great (if you want to know more, please read previous posts on this blog). We are happy to be home. We are living and working at Camp Mitchell. We do miss Japan and ARI and all our family there. 

Your Camp Mitchell Missionaries,

Doug and Jenny

PS, we had a good time in NYC!

And a good time on family vacation at the beach!