Mayela’s name means ” Earth, mother, nurse, goddess.” Her name came to me as I connected spiritually and asked for the name that would reflect her essence. She has been Sabi’s second mama since birth and a tender caring soul to me throughout our journey together, she tends to the earth with a natural wisdom…and is most definitely an earth mother/goddess. (She also helps me practice my squatting!)
My name means, “mother of the forest.” I used to dislike my name, especially because I was actually the only one in my family not named based on the Catholic Saint days and instead, after a novela (soap opera) actress! But now, I find it interesting. My mother changed her very fixed pattern, to ‘randomly’ or perhaps intuitively name me in keeping with my essence. It wasn’t until many years after malls, beauty indoctrination, the american consumer dream…that I kept connecting to what felt alive for me; green/nature in all shapes and sizes. Somehow, my mother and sisters (who advocated for this name)…got it right after all.
It’s all very interesting…
I believe that our souls all chose to share this journey with one another. I don’t understand it all, but what I do know is that I treasure every moment sitting out in this field, watching Maya plant literally 6 seedlings to my 1. Chuckling with each other about all manner of little things. Holding the precious baby seedlings in the way a mother just knows. Giving them the best start with the best of hopes.
And the delight, simply, the delight of being together on this earth.
It reminds me of part of the poem by Kahlil Gibran that we read at their blessings and which has inspired us ever since:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday…
This is me with Sabi and my cousin that we brought to visit the farm.
These two chickens Falla and Sweetie both have passed away. I am very sad because these two were my favorites. As you can see we brought them both out to get the bugs that day.
I’ve had chickens almost my whole life and it’s always hard to have a chicken die. Especially the bantam hen, because I had a bantam hen when I was younger. She was a big puffball, a black silkie hen, and so of course, I named her, “Puffy.” The other chickens picked on her, so I had her in a separate little area. She had one chick and the chick’s name was Millie. She was very loving and caring and great mom. I would put food in my hand and she would pick it out right from my hand. One day after a long time of having her, she went missing. A few days later, my mom found her dead in a plastic bag that had hay in it. She had pecked her way in but could not get out. My heart was broken, because she was my special chicken. I drew a picture of her and me with a heart up above it and I put it on my wall. I still think about her often.
So when the bantam hen at the farm, died, I felt really sad. All my other teammates, me, Sabi, Manju and my mom picked flowers and said a little something about her, above her resting place.
Falla was an Americana hen, and me and Laurette named her Falla because she had Fall colors. She died because she got sick and lost her voice.
This picture is a great memory picture. I’m glad I really got to know them for as long as I did.
A few days before Holly’s early demise…
Sabi had gathered up sow bugs aka rollie pollies and was feeding them to her.
Mom: Is it hard to feed them to her, because you really like them? (knowing that he loves rollie pollies, calls them his friends, and likes to play with them alot)
Sabi: Yes…but well…I want to give her something that she loves.. (said with a sigh and a sense of wide understanding)
Though very sad, he accepted her being eaten by a predator, in much the same way.
For the past two months I have seen a change within me. I feel that this change has come about thanks to Mother Nature, Sarvodaya, and the wonderful people that I have met through this internship program. Working outside and witnessing life play out is such a beautiful experience. It is an experience that textbooks cannot teach. My desire to learn more about plants and ecosystems has become stronger. I feel like I am a sponge just trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can. In short, I am just really happy that I was given the opportunity to learn from amazing people about nutrition, social justice, farming, etc. All of you have made a difference in my life and I am so thankful to have met each and everyone of you.
“What should we do with you?”
When I got rear-ended a couple months ago, my back injury prevented me from doing a lot of my normal daily activities, let alone the back-breaking labor that farming is known for. In addition to just having to adapt to living with pain, I was also bummed to not get the full farm experience every day, being pretty limited in terms of the types of fieldwork that I could do. Some days I was alone by the sinks washing piles and piles of vegetables, and other days I was traipsing the farm updating our accounting system trying to figure out what crops were in which fields.
It was hard to feel like I was really farming. Isn’t that what I had come to do anyways? But on those days when I would start to feel bad about what I was contributing to the farm, I began thinking about the ways we think about labor and interdependence.
A lot of the ways we think about labor has to do with masculinity. We can easily understand how shoveling horse manure onto a compost pile is work. Other types of labor like cleaning, taking care of children, or providing emotional support to a friend – the types of work that are often taken on by women – are often erased as being labor in the same way. But we also know that those jobs, which often are undervalued, are also completely necessary to the functioning of the whole operation. So when I started to feel discouraged I would challenge myself to think that the hours I spent washing collard greens was as integral to the operation of the farm as planting seeds or clearing fields (even if it is less glamorous).
Beyond human labor, being on the farm has challenged me to value and understand each organism’s unique contribution to a broader system. On Friday, we found a whole gopher tunnel labyrinth, and began scheming on how to quickly catch and kill it. I paused a bit though and see past the gopher as a ‘pest’ and to push myself to see what role the gopher plays in our complex ecosystems.
‘Do gophers help aerate the soil?’ I asked Tyler.
‘Yeah, gophers are great at breaking up compact soil, because they’ll come through and dig it up. They’re like nature’s tillers.’
During a time when there is a lot of hate towards groups that are seen as ‘other’, it’s important to look deeper and uplift the value that each of us brings to the larger whole. From immigrants and people with disabilities, to gophers and aphids, everyone is connected through our shared home of this planet.
So this week I experienced pincher bugs in my hair, on my legs and even inside my shirt. That being said, I decided to do a little bit of research on these little buggers to better understand them. Pincher bugs were given the name Earwig due to an old wives tale that earwigs burrowed into the brains of humans through the ear and laid their eggs there. They are found everywhere in the world except Antarctica. Furthermore, they are nocturnal insects that like to hide in small, moist areas during the day. They also have wings but do not fly.
Forficula auricularia are responsible for damaging crops. Both sexes have forceps but males have curved forceps while females have straight forceps. They are omnivorous and feed on plants to spiders, aphids, dead plants and insect eggs. White clover and dahlias are their favorite plants to munch on. In addition, they like to feed on molasses, mosses, lichens and algae. They prefer to eat meat or sugar to natural plant material.
I found some interesting ways to get earwigs off plants. One method I found was to roll up damp newspapers or cereal boxes in the garden during the evening. The second method involved pouring vegetable or olive oil into a shallow dish. The following YouTube video shows the method and the results:
I would love to see this being done at the farm. Just to see if it really works like it does in the video.
Here are some snapshots from the farm over the last six weeks!