We might live in the country, but there's never a dull moment around here. It has been yet another busy week.
I mentioned that our granddaughter Rayne visited last weekend:
We picked her up on Friday night and our son and his wife came to get her on Mother's Day. It was great to have them all here for the holiday as we don't see them often enough, what with work and school schedules. Rayne loves visiting Grandpa and Mimi and spending time with all the animals. One amazing thing about her is she loves the fresh produce on our farm - and will even eat it straight out of the garden.
We had a big event on Thursday as our daughter Peyton graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Conservation Studies. Our original plan was to leave very early in the morning for her 11 a.m. convocation ceremony because we were worried about leaving the animals for too long, especially the piglets and the chicks in the barn. However, due to the horrendous traffic in the northern Virginia/Washington, DC area, we realized we needed to leave the night before. We were most worried about the piglets having enough water during our absence as they root around in their stall and turn over their water pan. I came up with the idea of using our largest feeding bowl for the water, putting a cinder block in it, then positioning it in a corner with additional blocks framing it in. That seemed to do the trick and they had sufficient water for our 26 hour absence.
The graduation ceremony was very nice and small. Since the university is the largest in Virginia, they break up the events by college. Peyton was in the smallest college at the university, New Century College, with fewer than 200 graduating students. That made for a very nice - and brief - event. Here we are prior to the ceremony, standing in front of the class sign that Peyton signed on her freshman orientation weekend:
We saw Charles, one of our interns from last year, and talked to him about his plans for the future. We also met Lauren, one of this summer's interns, and had lunch with her and her parents. I know her parents feel much better about sending her off on an internship to a strange farm after meeting the actual farmers. We met several of the professors who have been a great influence in Peyton's life: the one who inspired her to go vegetarian, the one who encouraged her to make the next step to veganism, and the one who led her in a class to Belize and has continued to be her friend and mentor. George Mason - especially New Century College - has been such a wonderful experience for her. She entered college wanting to "wash baby hippos at the zoo" and graduated with a heart for sustainability and a desire to work in agricultural projects in Central America. Her next stop? Guatemala where she will be in a Spanish-language immersion program and do volunteer work with children.
Speaking of having lunch, we got to eat at one of the wonderful Busboys and Poets restaurants. There's so much good about this small chain that I can't share it all in a blog post. One of the most important things for me is they have numerous vegan and vegetarian options on the menu. You'll have to go to their website to learn more. If you're ever in the DC area, I highly recommend a visit to one of their restaurants.
On to more farm-related business....Last week I harvested some oregano from the garden and used my dehydrator to dry it. The lazy me tends to avoid such work but I really need to start putting up my own herbs - and even selling some dried, as well as fresh cut, at the farmers' market this year. (We already put cut herbs in our CSA deliveries.) While we were out of town, one of our sweetest goats, Ramona, had twins - a boy and a girl. All seem healthy and happy. The weather continues to be crazy - with one morning dropping into the 30s and the next day getting into the high 80s! But we think those low temperatures are finally behind us. Bill is spending today planting, keeping his fingers crossed that the soil is dry enough and that we will produce enough food to feed our CSA members. We are now sold out for the summer/fall CSA, with new members who are excited about getting healthy, chemical-free food.
Have a great weekend!