Where to begin. Well we just got internet back at farm last week! Very exciting. I can now update our website and our farm blog from the Community Center and respond to emails! Hence how so much time has passed since last farm blog updates. Its now Thursday, slightly cloudy, with a cool rain forest breeze passing through the valley. I just finished pumping water for the morning. There's some familiar bird sounds close by working on nests. Leilah, Farmer Mary's beautiful little geriatric poodle, is doing her usual frantic efforts to keep up with her as she goes garden to garden. With once empty skies void of birds after the storm, its such a serene experience to be here now listening to familiar bird calls that are repopulating the rain forest as I type: American Kestrals, Grey King Birds, Bananaquits, Grassquits, Mangoquits, Smooth billed Ani tribes, Redtail hawks, Bridled Quail doves, Zenaida doves, and of course Pearly Eyed Thrashers (Trushies). I'm still waiting to hear back again Mangrove Coucoo. There's so many beautiful memories to recount, here's just a few that had photos to go along side them. ;)
June 2018 So far
I'm sure everyone is also wondering about the tractor as Nate and I are too. Tractor hasn't left the dealer as yet. They seem to be taking their time. It still needs to get to Florida to then get here. We're ok for now though. We know recovery isn't a fast process for many and for us. Luckily we've had so many great volunteers that have helped us get some of our gardens back into shape without the help of a tractor. Power of community has been strong and continues to motivate us. So grateful for all those who have given to our recovery. There are still areas on the farm we haven't been able to get to. We are waiting for a shipment of new solar panels for cabana land. Farm to school is slowly picking up speed again. We are expecting 2 new staff members towards the end of the month. Its a good transition time into summer. And mangoes are just starting to ripen.
May happened fast. We finished our last month of CSA. Nate and I arrived back on St Croix second week in May right into Farm to School deliveries, organizing last CSA pork share delivery, weekly CSA deliveries, Agriculture Fair the last weekend of the month, and a farm dinner during Ag Fair weekend, and the departure of 2 of our most seasoned farmers, Matt and James. It was sad to see them leave but we are so happy for their next adventure. They're currently sailing to the US before Matt leaves for Ireland for his masters program in Sustainable Agriculture. James is off to visit family and friends and do some exploring. We said our goodbyes and wished them well on their journey. We know we'll see each other again and it will probably be right back here on St Croix.
April was life changing for us. Second Danish group since Maria. They were such a good helping hand around the farm. Most importantly, Nate had his hip replacement surgery. What an experience. In the end, he left the hospital in tact and the surgery itself went smoothly. Every thing before and after was unpleasant. First began by them giving him incorrect information as to when to check in. Turns out we had to wait in a hospital room 3 days before surgery so they could monitor his vitals. And from there on, it was all sorts of incomplete, untimely, incorrect information for days that kept us and his mom on our toes second guessing, double checking, and correcting during the whole time we were there. The worst part was 2 hours before his 6am dressing for surgery, he got food poisoning from one of his favorite GA restaurants. Unable to drink anything after midnight, he had to endure 2 hours of all the symptoms of food poisoning without drinking any water to wash down all the acid in his throat or to rinse his mouth. When assured by doctor the surgery could continue but could be postponed if he wanted, he mustard up the strength to follow through even while sick. So they continued. While I was in the waiting room with his mom, the hospital alarm system goes off. There was some emergency in the hospital and everyone was to stay away from elevators and doorways. It eventually goes off and out walks the surgeon to me. At this point, I'm watching him walk towards me and thinking why isn't he in the operation room. He hands me a jar. He said here is the screw. All done. He did great. Should be back in his room soon.
Our first CSA since storm began in March. What a relief for us and CSA members to have access again to local fresh organic produce post-storm. We went into it knowing it would be Matt and James' last CSA season with us, Nate was about to get his hip replacement we've been dreading yet needing for years, and we had to prepare for the Danes coming soon. We took in pigs to arbitoire, gathered coolers, ordered CSA produce boxes, ordered coffee, trellised, weeded, harvested, packed, did Farm to School deliveries.
Bush Skills was in March. For many, our farm dinners was a return to normalcy. For us, it was having Bush Skills again. Was such a great one, yet saddest part was that the attendance wasn't more, it was less. this was our smallest one yet. Many just couldn't make time for it with all to be done in this post storm life. We hope to see a jump back to better attendance these upcoming ones. Some of this year's highlights: guest instructor Boudi, Bush Chef featured ingredient was a Redtail Boa Constrictor Snake meat, and Mrs Gibbs' students from Complex.
Moringa Month! We got the go ahead to harvest Moringa. We planted about 500 moringa plants beginning of last year to get to this point where we could harvest leaves for a local company. Unfortunately the storm left us with only a handful of our young ones. Good part is our old ones stood strong in the storm and recovered well. So February was filled with planting for CSA, opening up gardens that were damaged, getting irrigation back online, and lots of seeding. Lots! Farm dog Saba has a visit to the vet. We find out her systems are slowly shutting down but none of her vitals. Those are doing good. Its just about making here comfortable from here on out.
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).