Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Happened to July?

I've been asking myself the same question.
The answer explains a lot in terms of the absence of blog posts, given the number of 11:30 pm bedtimes, 6 am wakeups, and days scheduled completely full.
Literally, the answer is Interns.
In partnership with Ecology Action we are hosting two women from Thika, Kenya for a nearly 3-month internship in Grow Biointensive agriculture. Both are connected with Grow-Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), which is an incredibly productive non-governmental agency that serves as a resource for orphans, individuals with AIDS, and the elderly as well as local and regional farmers. I recommend checking out the G-BIACK website and this 12-minute video about their work. And, actually, you should send links to any friends or family who don't think anything good is happening in the world these days, because this organization's efforts are truly noteworthy.
The two women who are joining us are Peris Wanjiru and Mary Wangui. Peris (at left) and her husband, Samuel Nderitu, who have been teachers and practitioners of Grow Biointensive for thirteen years, are the founders of G-BIACK. Mary (at right) is one of the extension agents G-BIACK employs to travel locally and regionally teaching sustainable farming techniques.
Naturally we are honored to be sharing our knowledge with two such motivated and committed women, and have been gaining plenty from our side of the relationship.
You'll see a lot of them in the coming months' posts.
We learned early on that the range of temperatures they generally experience is from 60°F to 77°F. So the brutally hot and humid weather we had during July was especially difficult for them, and they get high marks for acclimating as well as they have so far. (For the record, our daily schedule has us in the garden during the morning, lunch around noon, and class in the afternoon under a tree.)
Needless to say, the garden is in excellent shape. We are right around 83% completion of the total area, with our sights set on around 4100 sq ft by the time Peris and Mary leave (the final 100 sq ft have a poison ivy infestation that is waiting for winter). The Garden Stats at right will reflect this when I get the numbers crunched.
So fear not, constant readers! We have not evaporated or succumbed to heat-stroke. We've been up to some great things, to which future posts will attest...


  1. Thank goodness you're back! So excited to see the pictures. Waiting excitedly for the next update.

  2. Dan! Margo! Alten! Sorry I've been disconnected for so long. I'm so excited you have interns on your site.

    We're going on 6 months in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. I'm now working for Pelindaba Lavender. They grow lavender on 20 acres organically, distill the oil and handcraft therapeutic salves, cleaning, body and culinary products all on island. I'm working in the shop in town then moving onto admin work this fall. Our founder has South African roots, thus the Zulu name. Pelindaba - place of great gather.

    I can't believe how much Alten's grown. Where does time go indeed?

    Hugs to everyone!