Two weeks is not really enough time to get to know people well, but in a short amount of time I felt I shared a meaningful time with the people I met on Riverside Farm. So I would like to introduce my "farm family".
Jackie, the farm's owner, was a kind spirited woman full of interesting tales from teaching Science in southern California to meeting a mysterious medicine man in the desert. She was open to our stories too and could almost be called a spiritual or at least philosophical guide. Her farm definitely has brought together an interesting mix of people from all over the world, whose stories seemed to interweave together in an uncanny way.
In addition to teaching us all a bit more about herbs and farming, she taught us to listen to our hearts (or that "inner voice"); and not to always make assumptions of people or situations at face value, yet use that inner voice to guide us.
Tom is a long time friend of Jackie's, and much needed handyman who passes by yearly to help on the farm. In addition to doing some of the more complicated work that Jackie and her wwoofers are unable to do, Tom is a kind spirit who also had many interesting tales. When he's not on the road, the unmistakable Bostonian makes his homestead between Laguna Beach and Belize, where he has a flourishing ecotourism business.
Charlie, a mostly inward young girl who recently moved from China to Wisconsin for studies, was a bit harder to know. Clearly smart, philosophical, and adventuresome with an admittedly darker humor and an eye for photography herself. She was funny and full of energy and definitely brought an interesting perspective to our group.
Emily, an American born English girl, was a fast friend. After day one it was as if we were almost inseparable. I felt we could speak openly about anything, laugh, and console one another without judgment or discomfort. She was also the savior I spoke of when it came to my fear of spiders. Emily came to the farm as her first step at hopefully making America her home. Spending time with her in the magical town of McMinville gave me a refreshed appreciation and perspective on a country I often have many grievances with. Sometimes you feel people are just great souls and mates, and I believe I found one in Emily.
Andrei, a Utahan, by way of Austin, Texas was a refreshing mix to our group of gals. I connected with him initially over our ties to Texas. I feel I did not give him enough credit though for his kindness and openness. This was mainly due to my obsession with his dog, Barkley (photo below). Andrei another spirit on a quest, trying to find a life a bit more suited to his passions while also keeping the bank, decided to revisit the state where he graduated college and join us in a wwoofing adventure. He was kind and hard working, taking the hard jobs that most of us girls were in no hurry to volunteer for: swimming in a rank river to dislodge a broken water pump, carrying a half decayed sheep to burial, and working in a pen with a surly and somewhat dangerous goat. His keen sense to buy face masks while we cleaned a dusty chicken coop caked in poo, was an astute and much appreciated idea. Taking interest in all of us and seeing his blog, I think he could find his success in writing for sure. Check it out here: http://travelswithbarkley.wordpress.com/.
Now for the animals. While Barkley was not an official animal of Riverside Farms, I think he should receive an honorary recognition. He was so well behaved, always with a smile on his face, and really brought out the love that only man's best friend can. He was not only popular with us but everyone he met in town and I'm sure wherever he goes. While Andrei, probably hopes to use him as lady bait, I think he should be weary that some lady doesn't just want to snatch him up. It's like finding the right parent for your child I would think.
MacBeth, the Chinese rooster who crowed morning and afternoon & Hundertwasser, the peacock named after an Austrian artist. Hudert, as Jackie called him for short, liked to stare at himself in a mirror, jump on the roof, or hide in the bushes. He also liked fig newtons.
This is Buckey, the calm yet distant alpaca. These shots were the closest I could get to him before he quickly backed away. Gotta love the haircut!
Unfortunately I don't remember the mom's name, but Lila, the the lamb on the left was pretty much Jackie's equivalent of a dog. Every evening and many mornings she would come baaing for her bottle of milk, which Jackie was weening her from. Very persistent and seemingly loyal, she followed Jackie around almost constantly, but she really hated to be pet.
Eyore and Jenny were the farm's donkeys. They were sweet and friendly, and would smile when you fed them apples. I'm so glad I got to capture this! Thanks again to Emily for feeding and telling them "smiles" in her charming British accent. They wouldn't always do it for me.
Bam Bam was the miniature horse who is also the symbol of the McMinville Public Market. He loved to be pet and would watch us chopping wood or feeding the donkeys in hopes we would feed him again.
I don't remember all the goats names either, except Narusse, the surly one off in the distance below. The one with the green collar liked me a lot because I once saved some food in the feeding bucket and gave it to her. She seemed to think I would do it every day, but I wasn't playing favorites.
Some more photos of activity on the farm. Tom & Jackie discussing how to calm Narusse, by moving his wife back in with him. She did not like it one bit! Poor thing.
Veggies and fruits from Jackie's garden.
Andrei was well experienced with chickens, and had raised some of his own prior to this trip. He taught me how to pick one up. I wish someone had gotten a photo of that!
Charlie loved the trampoline!
Here's one of me, taken by Charlie. She really did have a good eye for photos too. I hope she can pursue it.