My job as an overnight camp counselor in Maine begins the 22nd of June, so I contacted Martha Cole at Silvermine Farm to ascertain whether she would like to have me on board as a WWOOFer (an organic farmworker) until then. She had never hosted a WWOOFer, I had never WWOOFed, so voila! In our phone conversations prior to my arrival, her bubbles were floating all over the place, and after getting to know Martha these last two days, I have become even more enthralled with her.
I didn't have a conscious image in my head of what Martha might look like, but for some strange reason I was surprised when I saw her in her baggy dirt-and-grass-stained jeans and kelly green tee with her frazzled gray-and-black waist-length hair braided and hanging over her right shoulder. However, perhaps her most striking feature is her way of leaking out words with no apparent foresight or concern; for example, during that first car ride from the commuter rail station, she told me about her daughter Rachael's long-term relationships (a seven year one with a German that ended in the termination of their engagement [a little too late, however: his parents could not get their plane tickets refunded, so they came nonetheless and stayed at Martha's/Rachael's farm! How awkward!] and the ensuing one year love affair that will be consummated in marriage at a pig roast on the farm this July).
Let's review some of the key characters at Silvermine Farm, as Martha is only the first of numerous fantastic folks here:
-Martha: head honcho, mom of five (two men and three women), organic farmer, attended Bates in Maine for a year and a half (left because she wanted to apply what she was learning), makes killer biscuits
-Jeff: Martha's ex-farmer hubby, directs the Mass Farmers' Markets Council, has a degree in economics from Bates, as well as an impressive puffy black beard and a little thickness under the jean shirt, steady dark eyes, and spectacles
-Rachael: The eldest of their three daughters, 26 years old, learned German and studied in Germany for 7 years, has dark brown wavy hair down to her butt, brought Chardonnay and Bud Light to her parents when she arrived from out of town. And the best part, that which I was not expecting: she brought numerous pieces of her gun collection to the farmhouse last night when she came here for a wedding! This Rachael is the strong, but petite daughter who broke up with her German beau and fell in love with the Chinese/Estonian working on her mother's farm last Summer.
-Maddy: a 15-year-old from RI who works on the farm during the week, a family friend, with a short, spiked hairdo (her hair is dyed black and highlighted with blue), fair skin, and the habit of smoking [an herb I will not name!] on a nightly basis for the past couple of years. She calls the education she receives "unschooling," so it's like homeschooling, but not as curriculum-focused.
-Copek and Sirius: the two field dogs that go wherever they please. Copek has a gold coat; when I stroked her head, she immediately laid on her back in expectation of a belly scratch. Sirius is black and white.
-Faith is 19, a high school graduate who has no idea what her next step is. She was homeschooled, and has a beautiful smile, and thick, shiny brown hair and a curvy physique. She had Maddy do a henna mustache on her during mealtime my first night; didn't seem too upset at the mustache traces that remained on her upper lip as she left for a wedding rehearsal dinner tonight.
-Ashley: a 26-ish woman who graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in something agriculture-related. She volunteered for six months on a permaculture ranch in Nicaragua, where she met her soon-to-be husband Roylin. Ashley lives in an in-law suite on the side of the house, and is supposed to put in 40 hours a week on the farm. I sleep on her living room couch, and she lets me hop rides on the tractor!
Alright, hopefully that kept your attention! There is so so so much more to write, but I don't want to load too much on you. For now just know that I am pleased I came to stay here with the Coles on their family farm that's a mere 45 minutes from my house; so far I have gotten to know the cutest goats in Massachusetts (they are not being milked yet since they have not mated), scooped caked chicken shit from the coops and put new woodchips down, weeded around onion and carrot plants, collected eggs just laid by the hens earlier in the day, baked ginger molasses cookies, picked and eaten strawberries, gotten a light shock from the gooses' electric fence, etc. etc. What's to come in the next week, no one knows....