Thursday, July 3, 2014

Learning the Ropes: An Intern's Perspective (Kristi)

Hello from intern #1! About me: My name is Kristi, I'm 28, teach high school English in Kansas, and am covered in freckles. This is me, hiking the trails at Acadia, on a day off from the farm. 

A month ago, I had never seen an alpaca or been to Maine. I wanted to learn more about both, so I drafted myself to Good Karma Farm, to intern for June and July. It's been a fun and fibery education so far. Amy and Jim are wonderful teachers and knitting/yarn/fiber realm is a whole new world. This blog is picking up mid-internship and June's adventures could fill a novel. For the sake of brevity, here is the hyper-abridged novel version of June on the farm:

Moved into an adorable barn apartment with an adorable roommate (Emma, intern #2).

Met and fell in love with alpacas:

Got hooked on Contra dancing:

Crash courses in knitting, felting, and all things fiber:

Onto July! The 1st of July, summer finally came to Maine. Which means animals permanently adorned in wool sweaters have to be hosed down daily. Prevents heat exhaustion and brain damage and such. Fortunately, alpacas LOVE to be hosed down. They're like toddlers in a sprinkler.

To derail temporarily: it’s important to introduce Delilah, the deaf alpaca, to these narratives. As an educator, I’ve found that it’s imperative to always choose a favorite. Delilah is the teacher’s pet this summer. Partly because she’s deaf and I always love an underdog. And she’s just hilarious and sweet. This is Delilah.

Yesterday, Delilah had a little trouble figuring out the spray down system.

Delilah and Georgia like to drink right out of the hose while being sprayed.

In other animal happenings, Stella the duck -- a new addition to the farm -- has been getting swimming lessons from Amy and growing fast.

A good portion of June's activity (not included in hyper-abridged novel) involved moving electric fence for the Icelandic sheep to do rotational grazing. Part of the challenge was keeping Violet, sheep escape artist extraordinaire, in the fence. I call her Houdini. We spent hours trying to outsmart and outfence our little Houdini and everyday was an exercise in futility. She always got out. This is an action shot of Violet leaping back IN with the herd after being chased by Amy and interns. Maybe white sheep can't jump. 

Our attempts to outfence Violet-Houdini have proven more fruitful this week, after we doubled up the electric fencing. But Violet has found other, more passive ways to express her defiance. Now, while the rest of the herd goes out to graze, she stands defiantly in a part of the barn she’s supposed to be fenced OUT of and gloats (or glowers? It’s hard to tell what sheep eyes are doing) while we poop scoop in the barn. I got through school relatively unscathed by bullying. I’m 28 now and being bullied daily by a deranged Icelandic sheep. Too bad this bully can’t escape to better pasture or turn off the electric fence with her little hooves.  We win. For now.