Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mangoes and Malibar by Rebecca

This morning, I awoke as usual to my friend the carpenter bee divebombing my bed as the sun started to peak over the horizon. He sounds like a mini-helicopter calling the troops to alertness. I don't have a clock in my open-to-the-elements home where little birds come and land on my bed as I write and lizards drop presents on my sheets from the roof above. But, six weeks in St. Croix has made me pretty certain that it's about 6 AM. I stretch and roll out of bed, thankful for the cool breezes of the early morning. After a gentle ten minute walk through tall grasses to our community center, I start some water for coffee and skip along to the bath house. While the coffee is developing strength and depth in the french press, I go on an egghunt, feeding and watering our 5 "tractors" full of chickens and searching for eggs. Bummer, no eggs this morning.

After a decadent breakfast of french toast with mangoes and bananas right from the tree, I continue on with animal chores, feeding the bunnies bunches of grass and pidgeon pea greens. Then, I travel up to the mango orchard with a big basket and go check on the sheep and our one goat, Annie. When I approach, they freeze waiting to see what I'm up to. We stand there still and silent for several minutes. Then, I continue towards them holding out my hands and they come close to get touched and to try to gobble up my skirt.

Today is market day so several of our crew have been out harvesting since 7. On my way back from the sheep orchard, I bring them my big basket now full of mangoes to sell at market.

Then, I go out on to the porch of the community center to sit and talk with my fellow farmer, Reylbeck, about our trip to the local high school which is happening in an hour. Our intention is to visit and share some information about the farm and also about Gaia University, which will be holding an orientation at the farm in December. We collect a bunch of neat things to put on our table which will be out in the hall during lunch. We gather plants, a banana hat, a big basket, flowers, pumpkins, and a squash vase. We're set.

We load it all in our big, beat up gray farm truck and travel down the steep, narrow, jungly road out of the farm. We arrive at the school and realize that due to some confusion, few students know we're coming. We set up our table anyways and shortly, are swarmed with Crucian high schoolers coming over to check out our plants. It's so noisy in the hallway that we have to shout, but we tell them all about the perrenial greens that we brought with us and give them away. We give malibar spinach, sorrel, cranberry hibiscus, and katuk to a bunch of eager planters. We're praying that maybe one of the young people will be home planting their malibar spinach vine and suddenly, they'll have a great revelation and realize how much they love plants. But, actually we'd be quite ecstatic if some of the young ones just ate plants once in a while.