Rock & Roll Farm

renee renee renee renee

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Tuesday! Dec 13 2005 // 10:39 am // permalink

Beginning the process

Yesterday I decided to be done working. This week I’ll be finishing small projects and helping with wholesale orders and meals, but mostly I’ll be getting ready to be gone by the weekend. The pumphouse dismantling will be on Thursday and Friday, and anyone who’s been in there should know how difficult that will be. JPB was out visiting last week and described it as a shrine. I guess that’s how I decorate all my personal spaces, as if they were shrines. Bedrooms, kitchens, practice spaces, cubicles, tents, cars, and so on. Bringing magic and the spirit of my friends and family - living and otherwise - into my space makes being creative and happy just a little easier. White walls make me feel trapped. I’ll try to take a few photos of the interior and post them here.

Until spring, I’ll be hanging with my parents, and then it’s on to travelling around the country working a few jobs and visiting relatives and friends. Let me know if you’d like a visitor, I’d love to add you to my itinerary.

One of the other projects I’ll be working on will be archiving all of the farm photos currently saved on the farm computer. Thousands of photos will be tansfered to cd, and in the process I’ll be posting some of my favorites here.


Saturday! Dec 03 2005 // 9:20 am // permalink

Big winter crew

This week was full of big projects and big visitors. And without getting into a full essay on sexism, I’ll outline some of the subtleties of what’s been happening around here lately.

We’ve had a nebulous crew of four to seven men, and two women. Almost immediately I noticed a difference in mood. Tracy and I have been frustrated at times as it is much harder to feel part of the crew, and in a few instances we’ve been ignored completely. After hours, for the most part, they have tried to be inclusive. She and I have had several conversations about the new atmosphere, trying to narrow down what is or is not sexist behavior and what may be just attention-hungry personalities. This is one of the issues of my job that I end up ignoring more than I confront. I’ve always tried to work harder and fit in to a situation as opposed to calling someone out on questionable behavior. And then I wonder why I’m so physically and emotionally drained at the end of the day. Working with someone who is perhaps more tuned into recognizing a sketchy situation has been welcome. Not that we’ve been able to do much about it.

The week’s work:

-A cinder block building on the new property has been rebuilt, nearly from the ground up. New walls, new roof, etc. I’ll post photos sometime next week.

-Thursday and Friday we dug a trench from the well head to the basement of the cow barn to install a hydrant. Almost a hundred feet long, four feet deep, and about a foot and a half wide. It goes down a hill and around a corner into the barn.

-After the trench was filled in, we started the stone staircase that will go down the same hill. Building a stone staircase involves a lot of digging, and moving of giant rocks.

-For a little while yesterday, Reid and I split and stacked firewood, one of my favorite winter jobs.

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Sunday! Nov 20 2005 // 3:43 pm // permalink

Packing the last shares

On Friday we packed the Thanksgiving shares. The season is, for the most part, over. I decided to celebrate by performing a knife dance.

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Friday! Nov 18 2005 // 8:14 am // permalink

Go Away Party

Last Saturday we had a party to celebrate the end of the year and the imminent departure of the interns (most of us, anyway). We jammed over 50 people into our tiny farm house for a potluck and sing-along of Shaker songs. Then we took everyone out to the barn for a few hours of dancin’. Jimsie took some photos of the event.

Also, a few weeks ago we took a trip out to visit the farm where we got our cow. I got a bunch of good photos of the cows and the land.


Thursday! Nov 17 2005 // 7:05 am // permalink

Hot chocolate season

Well it snowed yesterday. And it’s colder than anything out there. Richard had the cooler door open the whole day yesterday, I think because it’s so much colder outside than in there.Today we’re going to be washing stuff all day. Imagine, the low 20s and we’ll be soaking wet.

Yesterday we worked pretty hard to get everything out of the field that would be damaged by the deep cold and high winds last night. We also mulched the carrots so we’ll have some in the spring. Richard and I harvested some neat asian greens that I didn’t even know we had. Hon tsai tai and gai lohn. Vegetables have the best names. That purple cauliflower we grow is called Violet Queen. Nobody thought my Violent Queen joke was funny. Maybe you do.


Tuesday! Nov 15 2005 // 7:38 am // permalink

You can get it all at the Mini-Mall

This is the last week, sort of. At least the last week of scheduled activities. After this, the big winter projects will start. The Thanksgiving Share goes out on Saturday so right now we are doing all the prep work to get them packed and distributed. Yesterday we harvested around 400 lb. each of rutabaga, carrots, parsnips and brussels sprouts. Also planned for the share is kale, spinach, garlic, onions, potatoes, squash, tatsoi, etc. etc.

Today it is cold and rainy, so I’m not sure what we’ll be up to. Maybe a trip to the Mini-Mall, as it is the only approved blow-off activity on rainy days. The Grass Lake Mini-Mall is a legend around here. Kind of like getting to go to Disneyland. It’s basically a discount food store with a warehouse of forgotten toys and knick-nacks on the back. There’s a crude velvet painting of a cannon in some Mexican fortress, and a whole wall of unicorn candlesticks. Looking for some Just For Men from 1987? They’ve got it. You never know when the expiration dates will be, some of the off-brands are so off you’re not sure if they’re a joke. And Ben & Jerry’s pints are a dollar and a half.


Wednesday! Nov 09 2005 // 6:44 pm // permalink

Anybody, anywhere, who’s ever been alone.

Last night I caught Jeff Tweedy at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. It was a great show. Especially since it was free. He played all my favorite Wilco songs, and some of his solo stuff that I like. But what made the show for me was the last song he played. It was an Uncle Tupelo song, and one of my all time favorite songs, Acuff-Rose.

This is probably as good a segway as any to announce that I’m moving back to Chicago in January June or July. Seeing Jeff was one in a series of experiences that are making it difficult for me to continue my musical dormancy. I’m hoping to start a few projects when I get back that will help scratch that itch. One is already in progress with JPB, and the success we’ve had in creating new sound has been inspiring. So, a week and a half more here at the farm, then to my parents’ till after the holidaysaround April, then travelling and some time on a ranch in Washington state, and then I’ll be on my way to Chicago.


Wednesday! Nov 02 2005 // 2:32 pm // permalink


I got better, and ended up having a lot of fun for Halloween…Jimsie put up some photos on flickr to prove it.

Ray as Pippi
the full costume


Saturday! Oct 29 2005 // 12:58 pm // permalink

The people on the farm

Today I am sick. This was the first time I’ve stayed home from market because I didn’t want to go. They have three people going which is one more than usual anyway, so four would have been a crazy luxury. This puts my total to 38 out of 46. The next closest total is like 17. There have been jokes about me being the Face of Tantre, or the market rockstar. I don’t know about all that, but I sure do love to be at market.

As much as I hate not being at market I’d hate even more to miss the Halloween festivities tonight. Almost all the interns will be going out to parties together in town. My coworkers have been one of the more positive unexpected aspects of living and working here. As I make my plans to leave, I realize that some of these people are like family. Reid and I interact as siblings. I swear he can read my mind, and I his. Christine and I are even more like siblings as our personalities clash and spark, but at the end of the day we can’t help loving each other. Together with Tracy and Nora I feel like a pack of friends from the high school lunchroom. Adam and I aren’t as close as others, but we surely have the camaraderie of working side by side on the crew. We’ve all been through some challenging days here and I know some of us wouldn’t have made it without the support of the other crew members.

Richard, Deb and Ari have welcomed us all into their lives and made working here an unrivaled experience. Spending time with Ari has changed my mind about a lot of my feelings about kids. I’ve never lived with a kid before, and I hope to continue to strengthen my connection with this little person after I leave.

I’ve also met a lot of people off the farm, at the market, at other farms, through our wholesale clients, and through other interns on this farm. It’s difficult to admit because I’m planning to leave but I am truly part of a community here. It happened quickly and totally, so much so that I almost didn’t realize it was happening. Sure, it’s challenging and sometimes more than I can take to live so close and open to so many, but I know I could turn in any direction and get help for anything I may need. And sometimes I can’t believe I’d want to leave this. It will be hard, come Thanksgiving, to walk away. But I know I can always come back to visit, or lend a hand, or maybe even stay for good.

more new photos


Wednesday! Oct 19 2005 // 2:39 pm // permalink

The crew

This is the fabled Tantre crew. Tracy, Christine, Nora, Richard, Adam, Dingo, Reid, Ray and Ari. Dingo is the dog. Ari is the four year-old. Richard is the lunatic with the box and knife.

So, the end of the CSA hasn’t provided any more time for me to write updates. But I’ve got even more new photos.


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