Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 15 - by Anna Zakelj and Emma Santoianni

                Today Michelle tried very, very hard to wake us all up at 7:00, which to us was actually 6:00 because of the daylight savings. Her attempts were not very successful at first, as only five of us were present at circle, but eventually (after a bit of harassing) the remaining five trip members dragged themselves out of their tents in order to devour the available and scrumptious camping-classic cream of wheat.  After breakfast, we packed up relatively quickly and were driving out of camp at exactly 8:31, on our way to White Oak Pastures, a certified organic cattle ranch not far down the road.
                At White Oak we met with a woman named Jenni Harris, the fifth generation of the Harris family to work the ranch.  The first thing she showed us was the kill floor. It smelled similarly to the yearly AMS turkey slaughter. We saw a recently-deceased cow early in processing, right after skinning. Jenni explained to us that the cows are slaughtered humanely and completely by hand. Then Jenni took us outside and showed us a little house thing where they were raising  black soldier flies so the chickens could eat their larvae and so that the flies could eat the dead cows’ insides to turn them into compost. Then the gay garden manager who Michelle is going to marry someday told us about the soon to be certified organic garden. Then Jenni took us to see the chickens who have no fencing and are fed very little food by humans. Then we went back to the main office and picked up yummy grass fed beef to take back with us.
                 We listened to Harry Potter and consumed delicious cherry Garcia ice cream while driving to Keely’s house. When we got there we were greeted by Nicole Seals whose shoulders immediately struck me as very similar to Michelle Obama’s. She led us into the house where we feasted on chocolate Easter eggs, humus and pita chips, and strange but good chocolate covered pomegranate things. The boys were immediately sucked into the addictive and horrible powers of the wii.  Then Patrick, being the ace that he is, grilled us hamburgers made from the White Oak Pastures meat. Yummy. Then Isaac Ashcraft got crazy and broke a window with his butt which resulted in no window and glass in Isaac’s butt.
                                                             THE END

Day 14 - by Isaac Ashcraft

 Today we woke up in our dew covered tents and were attacked by the swarm of gnats again. Ughhh!  We folded up a Vietnam hospital tent for Nick at the Crystal River Archeological Preserve.  There were many giant fire ant mounds under the tent which was scary.  We then drove for “six million hours!!!” says Michelle Rehfield and Anna Zakelj.  It was about 6 hours. We arrived at Kolomoki Mounds and were all very tired.  We set up tents and had a super good curry made by Pete.  We then went to bed and I slept terribly! YAY!  See you soon peeps!
                                                Isaac Ashcraft

Day 13 - by Reginn Ramsey

Today, we woke up around nine and started packing our stuff. I was the first one packed for the first time this trip! Maybe because I had decided not to use my sleeping bag and just sleep on the COLD, hard floor. After we packed, we ate some granola, grapefruit and some tangerines. We started eating outside until we were attacked by a swarm as big as Jupiter of gnats. Everybody then decided to eat inside. After we ate, we didn’t know what to do the rest of the day, so THE staff (Pete) decided that we should go swimming with manatees. After a long time of calling, we were finally on our way to the “mantees”. So after our drive, lunch, and hours of watching a video about “mantees” we were on our way. I felt a little bit nervous with Pete driving the boat. We saw trillions of “mantees” and got to pet a lot of them. After that, we went back to the site we were staying at, ate some delish pasta, and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, the “Jupiter Gnat”-bites kept us awake.

                  Reginn (ray-in)

Day 12 - by Keely Seals

Today, we drove. A lot. We arrived at an organic grapefruit grove around lunchtime, and we traversed the rows of grapefruit trees, chomping down on as many grapefruits as we could stuff into our mouths. Not really. We just ate a few, and then we crossed a dam and picked tangerines and grapefruits alike. They were yummy-licious and I liked them a lot. We also learned how to sectionize grapefruit, which makes eating them a whole lot easier.

After we left the grove, we went to the Crystal River State Preserve, where we met Nick. He was really cool, and let us watch the movie Captain Ron, which was funny. We camped there, and ate more grapefruit. Overall, today was an excellent day.

Keely Seals.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 11 - by Ethan Rountree

March 10, Day 11
                Today (aka three days ago) we woke up at early (very very early) to get to Monsanto by 10:00. While we (Pete) were driving we got caught in a hurricane which picked up cars and flooded some small towns. Luckily Pete has ninja driving skills and didn’t let us die. When we got there the guy, named Tim, took us inside and gave us all water bottles and pens sporting the catchy slogan ”Monsatogether”. Then he talked to us about Monsanto and what they did which consisted of “staying one step ahead of evolution.’’ Interestingly enough the products that have not been tested in the US can be used in other poorer countries. He then showed us around the test greenhouses where they were growing cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes. We ate lunch in their cafeteria where we had our food in buckets that had bumper stickers saying “eat organically, local, and fairly made”.
                Then we drove to Sarasota where we stayed in a nice house. We then walked to the beach where we did not swim but instead wrote in the sand and sat around.
                For dinner we ate at “hungry Howies” an all you can eat pizza buffet. All you can eat pizza however is not necessarily a good idea because I think we all felt relatively sick afterwards.
                Finally we went back and sat around and went to bed.

                Extremely sincerely,

Day 10 - by Emma Santoianni

Today was our last day at the Winsburg’s.  We woke up at a somewhat reasonable hour, like 8:15 or something.  At 9:30 we walked about five feet out of the door to meet with a nice lady named Nancy.  Michelle is going to be just like Nancy when she grows up. Nancy runs what remains of Green Cay farm. She showed us the farm and talked about the different plants and let us eat some of the herbs.  We also saw the old empty silo where owls live. The floor of the silo was littered with mouse bones. We collected some skulls.  When our tour was done, Ted Winsburg pulled up in the tractor and told us if we got on the trailer, he’d give us a ride back to the barn place where we were staying. Afterwards, Ted gave us some papayas.
We went into the apartment thingy. We was super tired. I took a nap. Also, other people took naps.  Then Michelle, Anna, Reginn and I had a blonde party upstairs. But not really a party kind of party. More like a, “Holy buns, am I fried or what? Let’s lie here and talk drowsily” sort of party.
At this point in the day, since we’d woken up at such a perfectly reasonable hour, it was only lunch time. So we ated quesadillas. Then we walked to Publix and bought some popsicles. Then we walked back. Then we had a super crazy dinner with a whole turkey and some sweet potatoes and salad. Then we cleaned the whole house. Then the boys and Pete decided to have exclusive dude time upstairs in the room that you have to go through to get to the bathroom. Keely and I decided to hang out outside on the porch. Anna joined us and we made up a handshake and a tribal dance, then pulled up our pants really, really high.
Bedtime.  Yay.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 9 - by Isaac Galton

Today was our day to chill and relax.
In the morning, we slept in. Most everyone was awake by nine-thirty and we ate some breakfast burritos around ten. We sat around for a while and finally Keely bugged/convinced us to go to the beach. We got into the van and drove for like half an hour. The drive, especially the one through downtown Delray reconvinced me that Florida is ugly and fake looking, with all their lush, green lawns;  their perfectly trimmed hedges and ornamental plants, and red mulch. Once at the beach we enjoyed the company of lots of old, tan, fat, white people with also some middle aged, tan, fat, white people and some young, tan, white people. Almost everyone got stung by jelly fish within minutes of entering the water so we ended up mostly just making sand creations and sunbathing. We ate lunch, trying to avoid the defecating seagulls overhead. Many people were very happy to leave once we did. Sunburned, hot, sandy, and dehydrated, we walked to the nearest Ben & Jerry’s and spent some kitty money. I got a new flavor with chocolate-covered potato-chip chunks, and it was delic… sorta good. Then we drove back and showered (not at the same time). After games and reading and relaxing we ate and then did some more of that stuff. I’m really happy right now cuz I didn’t put any sunscreen on my ears and not enough on the rest of my body.
                Sincerely, your Clerk/blogger, Isaac Galton

Day 8 -by Anna Zakelj

Ted Winsburg took us to the Bedner’s you-pick farm where we got a tour of the fields. They grow peppers, tomatoes, squash, corn and strawberries. Then we went to a nature center where we took a virtual air boat ride and listened to the nighttime sounds of the everglades narrated by a grandfather that sounded like a vampire.
After lunch we went to the Bedner’s giant non-you-pick pepper farm. The farm mainly employed Guatemalans. We watched them picking and packing peppers into boxes so that they were ready to be sold. They did all of that on one big truck thing that Ted invented. Each worker had a bucket that they picked the peppers into. Then they ran with the full bucket to the truck where they dumped the peppers on a conveyer belt. The peppers rode around the truck where women sorted out the blemished peppers and threw them on the ground and then put them in boxes which were then put on a truck to be driven somewhere to get sold. Later we looked up how much a box would get sold for and it was around $24. Lauren asked one of the workers how much they got paid per bucket which is more than a box worth of peppers and it was $0.50. It was by far the fastest I’ve ever seen anyone pick peppers. Ted really stressed how efficient it was. He also said that the Bedner’s worked their workers much harder than he ever had.
Then we watched The King’s Speech and found a large pile of assorted kinds of bread in the theater parking lot. Once we got home, Michelle practiced her first aid skills on me.
The End

Day 7 - by Isaac Ashcraft

  Hello, Isaac Ashcraft here and it is finally my clerk day.  BLOG TIME!!!  Too bad today we were in the car for 6 hours.  It was nice reward though when we got to Green Cay Farm and met Ted Winsburg.  For those of you who don’t know him, Ted and his family gave the money to the school to build the Green Cay building.  Ted has lived in Boynton beach for 55 years.  They own and operate Green Cay farm and The Green Cay Nature Center.  Ted and all of us visited the Nature Center and we are now at the apartment building at the Winsburg’s.  I know to some people this is very redundant, but I find it cool.  30 years ago when my dad Scott Ashcraft was at AMS, he and his field trip visited the Winsburgs.  I find this cool and nostalgic, but oh well.  We had chicken burritos for dinner and are now hanging out at the Winsburg’s.  I am listening to Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd and all is well.  Everybody is getting along and we are all having fun. 
                Well this is Isaac Ashcraft saying goodbye, I hope you liked my first blog post ever.  See you next week!

Day 6 -by Keely Seals

Hello. I am not Reginn Ramsey, who should be blogging right now.
This morning, we got up and went to breakfast at the Golden Corral with Hector and Dr. Davis. It was fun and delicious. It made our ride to Jacksonville a lot faster, that’s for sure—no stopping for snack so soon!
We drove for about seven hours today. At one point, we played Frisbee at a rest stop in South Carolina—later, when we ate snack, we fed the local wildlife at a rest stop in Savannah, Georgia. They began to trust Ethan, which either meant that he is the new Bird Whisperer or that he just has a ton of food. Who knows?
When we arrived at the Geigers’, who are our hosts, we were immediately magnetized to the trampoline and rope swing, and we were so enthralled that we completely missed the zipline until later on. We had curry and rice for dinner, and ice cream for dessert; personally, I felt amazing.
I’m sitting in this cool office-place right now- it’s so cool! It’s nice and warm, and the shower was comfortable in every way. I’m in the mood for a dance party!
Keely Wednesday, signing off ONCE AGAIN. >:C
…even though I volunteered for this.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day Something-or-Other, aka 5. By Keely Seals.

Today, we woke up in the morning, again. What a coincidence! We had a hardcore party, and we listened to epic thrash metal whilst shaving our heads and dyeing our Mohawks blue. Not really. We just ate some eggs from Fickle Creek.
We went to the Sunset Ranch Organic Farm, where we helped spread organic-certified fertilizers  and lay black plastic. Reginn and I built funny-looking sand castles and destroyed them. We also met Hector, who worked at a Smithfield plant for ten years. He told us a lot about Smithfield, and how if one were to stop the conveyor belt, they would be fired almost immediately. And that a single accident makes you ‘accident-prone’, which makes you go bye-bye! A particularly sad bit is that when a buyer is going to the plant, they’ll lead you around into a meeting room and show you a nice little video about the cuts of meat available, completely skating over the way the animals are killed. 
Afterward, we went canoeing/kayaking on the Lumbee River with Mac Ledgerton, wandering around the cypress knees and generally being really happy and not tipping over. Even though I learned that I am probably the single worst kayaker on the face of the planet, I still enjoyed it immensely.
We had spaghetti for dinner, with sausage from Fickle Creek Farm. It was yummy and I liked it a lot. Om nom nom.
Keely Wednesday, signing off again.

The Fourth Day, aka Staff Appreciation Day. Keely wrote this.

Today, we did a lot of driving. What was supposed to be three and a half hours turned into five and some. It really only affected the staff, though, which is funny because today was Staff Appreciation Day. When we arrived here at the River Way center, we looked at the Lumbee River and climbed a rock wall. Some people were show-offs, and they played games like ‘Let’s Do Chin-ups on the Wall!’ and ‘Climb Sideways across the Wall!’
This made me jealous.
With us at the River Way center was this really cool dude named Mac Ledgerton. He showed us around, made us bring in firewood, and led us to a showcase of the Indian Education Cultural Academy. We got to see the projects of the students, who were mostly in fourth grade. But we missed the door prizes, which made me sad. I wanted to win some lye soap.
Currently, we just finished dinner, in which we had delicious tacos. Yum yum.

Keely Wednesday, Blogger-in-Chief. I like your face.

Day 3 -by Emma Santoianni

Today we woke up in the morning, as people often do.  For breakfast we had granola and fruit. Then we got into the van and drove for an hour to Union Grove, NC, to visit Tom and Sandy Colletti, a new order Amish couple.
 As soon as we got there, we started a work project planting potatoes. Isaac Ashcraft looked funny using the rototiller.  We worked for a while. Then we ate lunch. Then we did more planting. 
Even after tilling and planting and hoeing, we all still had a ridiculous amount of energy, which we let out by running around on and tumbling over really big mounds of dirt and getting very dirty.
Afterwards, we walked to the Shiloh General Store a little over a mile away. On the walk, Anna, Keely and I planned the treehouse castle in our future.  It’s going to be awesome. Pete and Lauren will live there, too, but Pete will live in the dungeon. He will eat lots of lasagna and dairy products down there.
 When we got back from the store, we had a ton of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. After dinner, we took a ride in a horse-drawn cart down the road and watched the sky turn orange. Back at the house we had apple crisp for dessert and told jokes with Tom. Now people are playing music in the living room. I am not. I am typing a thing.  But now I’m done typing my thing so I’m gonna stop and go do other things that do not involve typing. Today was a fun day.
In case you didn’t know, this is Emma. (And Keely made paragraphs.)

Day 2 -by Keely Seals, Ethan Rountree, and Isaac Galton

Today is Pete’s birthday. We woke up at the Friends’ meeting in Greensboro to some delightfully thick pancakes. Unfortunately, some couldn’t have syrup because of the corn products.  After breakfast, we promptly entered the Magic Van and drove to the North Carolina A&T research farm. Doctor Nikki spoke to us about goats, goat breeds, and various things that inhabit goats’ intestines.
Then, we went to the more agriculture-heavy part of the A&T research farm, where they tried to find the best varieties of lettuce to plant at different times in the planting season. They also grafted tomato plants to each other—the disease-resistant rootstock to the heavily-fruiting upper half. Although some didn’t survive, the ones that did sure did look neat!
Afterward, we went to Fickle Creek Farm, where Ben showed us around. He had a unique story- he’d purchased this gross, clear-cut, nutrient-depleted land surrounding a high- tension power cut and made it into a beautiful farm, where every animal had a job; not only did they serve as meat, egg, or dairy, they served as a natural rototiller, or a weedwhacker, or a stump-muncher. One of the first things he did to improve the land was actually to put goats all around the depleted areas- they dug the roots and ate some scrub, and their manure added good nutrients to the soil. Although they don’t have goats now, they still have 1400 chickens, quite a few sheep, three cows, and approximately fifteen pigs, as well as growing beds currently full of mainly cover crops. Before we left, we grabbed a few sausages for the road :D
Then, we went to our host’s house. Her name is May Toms, and she fed us some yummy lasagna, with salad and bread munchies. Because it was Pete’s birthday, we went out for ice cream.
Isaac Ashcraft touched the electric fence and pained himself. We laughed.
Ethan drank way too much water and almost exploded his bladder. We laughed.
I fell down the stairs whilst bragging about how strong and capable I am. Pete laughed. Then everyone else laughed.

Written by the new Lead Blogger in-chief, Keely Wednesday. With minor help from Isaac Galton, who is Blog chore today. I was nice enough to do it for him. Ethan didn’t really help, but Isaac wanted to say that. 

Day 1 -by Anna Zakelj

We left school at around 10:00 in the morning and drove to Kernersville where we went to Farmgirl Arts which is a small organic farm owned by Laura Fraser and Ken. Ken farms vegetables and chickens. They recently built a greenhouse, where he puts pre=germinated plants into larger flats. Then he sells the flats to ACE Hardware. The greenhouse was very organized. The floor was lined in gravel and all the flats of plants were perfect.

Laura showed us her sheep. They were rugged non-domesticated sheep. One of them had 2 sets of horns one that curled down and another that straight back. Laura said that that type of sheep can have up to 6 horns. Laura uses the wool from her sheep and Ken's dad's sheep to make felted sculptures of animals. She showed us different kinds of wool and explained how to process it.

Then we drove 5 miles to Ken's strawberry patch and cut the dead leaves off of strawberry plants so mold didn't grow on them.