Dinesh Ayyappan

More wildlife, strawberries, the beach, and an apple tree

Dinesh Ayyappan

This is my last week here. My parents are coming to pick me up on Saturday, and I can't believe it's been 4 weeks. Summer always flies by so quickly.

So first is a picture of a really funky caterpillar (identified as a white-marked tussock moth caterpillar)

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We found that while cutting stalks of apple mint to bundle and dry, and I'll use that segue to describe my recent farming activities! 
Hmm, we started the week with lots of mulching, which is.. clearing up the area around the plants we like and covering it with straw to retain moisture and so that weeds and stuff don't grow and steal nutrients. 

Then we started setting up a grape arbor, which is pretty cool. So far, it involved digging holes and using saws and power tools, and the mechanical engineer in me loved it. I'll put up a picture once it's done.

I've been talking about the strawberries a lot, and that's probably because it's one of the few plants out there that ready to be harvested this early in the season. I wish I was around in August for harvesting! One of the awesome things about farming is you really get to see the results of your work. Even if it's not literally picking fruit, it's seeing a weeded patch turn into a composted bed, building a chicken palace, and watching baby plants grow up. Plants have become so much more alive to me now than before. 

I was just talking to Sandeep the other day and we're hoping to get a garden started back home in Millburn, and I kind of can't wait to get that started!

Anyway, we picked some strawberries, cut them up (the lighting was tough so the best picture was at this point) and had a bowl of strawberries and cream with ice cream on top. That one probably goes in my top 4 desserts ever. 

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Last night, we had a farm meeting. This involves everyone on the farm getting together to talk about the near future on the farm, and they try to have one every week. We prioritized tasks, planned a couple of going-away events for us wwoofers, and talked about big events over the next few days, and stuff like that. They asked for feedback on our experiences, and if it wasn't clear from this blog, I've been totally happy here and have had a great time, but any bit of constructive criticism helps. Probably the toughest thing for me was reconciling play with work. Here - and it's probably like this on any farm - there's always something more to do, so I felt bad playing when other people were working. So I told them that, and they're awesome, so they told me not to worry about that and enjoy myself. You don't have to tell me twice!

SO, this morning, 4 of us went for a bike ride to the beach! We went to a different beach, and I got a chocolate chocolate chip muffin, but it wasn't as sunny and the beach wasn't as pretty so I don't have a parallel picture. But I do have a couple of other pictures! The first is a bunch of ducks and ducklings at the shore. I didn't know ducks went to the ocean. 


The second is a picture of Will. He's a huge biking supporter and he's been in the garden with us pretty much every morning. In the picture, he's going out for a swim 'cause he's cool like that. His life has gone in a many different directions and it's been really fun talking with him every morning. So we just hung out there for a while, got some seashells, and biked back. (Biking's been so much fun! I'm hoping to get one soon after I get home)

 Now that's a man on a mission!

Now that's a man on a mission!



Once we got back, I did some more work on the grape arbor, and ended my lunch break by climbing the apple tree!

 At first, Angus couldn't figure out where my voice was coming from.

At first, Angus couldn't figure out where my voice was coming from.