Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Volunteering at the Orange Cat Community Farm

During my stay in Reedsburg I have been volunteering at the Orange Cat Community Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm owned and operated by Laura Mortimore.  I am interested in working on different organic farms so that I can get an idea of the many different ways to run one.  Each farmer has a slightly (sometimes major) different way of doing things and this way I can pick and choose what I think is best for me if I decide to have an organic farm some day...or at least a super rad garden!

My day at Orange Cat always started by being greeted by the orange cat, Little Anne.  The sweetest, softest kitty.  Laura had a pumpkin carving party and mine is the scary one on the first step.  I was going for a Voldemort feel...

On my last day at Orange Cat Community Farm, we harvested the last of the carrots.  Laura uses a tractor to go over the row.  There is a weighted piece on the back that goes into the ground to loosen the soil and bring up the carrots.  This makes the job go a lot faster than forking, especially when you have many rows of carrots like Laura.  Haley and Katie stood on the piece to make sure it sunk lower into the ground so it would not cut up the carrots.

Then we dig!  Women farmers power!

Carrots and more carrots!



I have had a fun time farming at the Orange Cat and have made some wonderful friends that will hopefully visit me in Chicago sometime soon!  I am really gonna miss it here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Planting the 2014 Garlic

Back in July we harvested the garlic.  We then hung them up to dry.  After they dried, we cleaned and sorted the garlic into three boxes, large, medium and small.  The largest garlic was kept to be planted. That way we will get more large garlic next year.  We ended up with 30 pounds of large garlic.

I separated all the cloves because each individual clove is a garlic seed.  The garlic will begin to grow in the fall and then stop through the winter months and resume in the spring to be harvested in the summer.  Such an incredible plant that is exposed to each season!

I placed the root side down into the ground, 6 inches apart in a bed of 4 rows.  It was my final planting at the Wormfarm.  And how beautiful that my work will grow into the next season.  

When I'm working in the garden outback, sometimes I get lucky enough to hear a "Meow" from a visiting Crook.  I'm gonna miss him so much.  He got in the way a bit by nibbling on my hand while I planted, begging to be pet but I still adore him.

For dinner I made Acorn Squash with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette.  I shared this recipe last season as well because it is so delicious.  Here is the recipe from

Friday, October 25, 2013

Packin' It Up

October has been a crazy month around here.  Fermentation Fest is over and the artists are gone.  The sweet Mama cows have left as well.  The barn is cleaned out and I have moved the majority of my belongings back to Chicago.  I have even started working again at my job in Chicago on the weekends.  My 6 months at the Wormfarm is coming to a close.  I am really gonna miss it here but I also look forward to what is coming next.  

I gave Crook and Jem my 15 year old cloud blanky that Ziggy (my adored and deceased cockatiel) had chewed to pieces.  I realized it was time to let it go but at least the cats can now find comfort in it throughout the winter.

The frost killed the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  That may seem sad, but by this time of the year a farmer is ready to say goodbye to them.  Now the garden is full with root vegetables.  Carrots, rutabagas, parsnips, turnips and leeks.

Trouser keeps me company in the garden on these cold, windy days.

I am enjoying my last Wormfarm eggs along with some Bubble n' Squeak and sauerkraut. 

It's funny how time seems like it goes so fast but then again it seems like it goes so slow.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Turkey the Chicken

Here is what I wrote for this weeks CSA newsletter.

Turkey the Chicken

As soon as I arrived at the Wormfarm I was confused about my existence.  Farmer Kim said my name was to be Turkey but I was almost positive I was a chicken.  It was a cold, rainy May day when I was placed in my new coop.  I was to stay in the small area dedicated to the baby chicks with heat lamps, food and water.  But I was no longer a chick.  I was 1 month old and a giant compared to the others.  So I made sure to stomp on the babies’ heads as much as possible to put them in their place.

After my first few weeks at the Wormfarm, Kim picked me up against my will and took me outside for the very first time.  I was “a big girl now,” Kim said.  I was amazed by the wonder of the world around me.  The tall greens that surrounded me were edible and tasty and there were tiny bugs for me to search and devour with a gulp.  I would watch the older chickens with amazement, exploring so far from the coop that they looked like specks in the distance.  I could go wherever I chose.

As I got older my legs turned a deep golden yellow and little white feathers were growing on them.  I now had black feathers around my neck and the ones that were white started to change to blonde.  My black tail feathers shimmered green in the sunlight.  My ruby comb was growing.  I was a beautiful Brahma according to Kim.  She called me, “Turkey Girl.”

I recently turned 6 months old.  I was perched on a tree stump when Kim was walking by.  I suddenly had the urge to crow for the first time.  I wanted to crow like the older rooster but my voice cracked and it was an awkward, screechy “cock-a-doodle-doo.”  Kim stopped cold in her tracks.  She turned and looked me in the eyes and said “Turkey Girl…You’re a Turkey Boy?” 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Over the Hill and Through the Woods

I spent part of a beautiful day in the woods and walking around the neighbors corn fields.

"My sun is your sun" -Despair by Yeah Yeah Yeahs 

Home is beyond the corn.



Staghorn Sumac

Sunday, October 6, 2013

2013 Wormfarm Institute Resident Art Show Opening Reception

The opening reception of Straw Hat Wearin' Artist Farmers: 2013 Wormfarm Institute Resident Art Show was a ton of fun.  There were many Reedsburg locals who came out that I have met while I have been here.  It was very nice to see everyone.

I displayed the 9 pages of Farmer Kim and The Feathery Ladies on the wall since the book has 6 pages to go and it's not quite ready to be bound.

I had some chickens for people to take home and love.  The description read "Farmer Kim and The Feathery Ladies will become a 15 page, 18 x 24 inch fabric book.  As of now it is a work in progress.  I am telling the story of the chickens' lives at the Wormfarm.  Their days consist of roaming around completely free range, enjoying greenery, sunbathing, and jumping leg deep in cow pies to dig for bugs.  The result from such a lovely existence is big, bouncy, golden yolks, which you will never get from a chicken cooped up in a small cage."

"Hello, I'm Farmer Kim!"

I was rockin' my $6 vintage dress (that fits like a glove and is handmade!) that I found at the thrift store next door!

I curated the show and now I know more than ever that curating is not easy!  Here is work by Naomi O'Donnell titled (from left to right) Wisconsin Safari: Privacy Tent and Floppity Lives His Triumph.

Jami Lin is currently a writer-in-residence and she created this piece titled Tactiles which you can open and read her writings inside.

She also gave a wonderful reading of some of her short stories she has written while here at the Wormfarm.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Visits Wisconsin (top) and Sunflower Study (bottom)

And Terrrence Campagna's piece titled, New Branch (Reedsburg, WI/Omaha, NE/Marquette, NE)

Thanks to all who came out to see the work!