A Full House

It’s really amazing to come home from a day of teaching and meetings to find your volunteers in good spirits and the projects you thought would take days are practically done.  With a full house here at the EcoRanch we are flying through projects left and right.

Kenny is still here working hard as ever.  He has been a great help making the new WWOOFers feel at home and getting them familiarized with the EcoRanch philosophy and practices.  He is off tomorrow to summit Mt. Humphrey’s.

Last week, Nico left to pick up his friend Dhruv from college who is originally from Uttrakhand, India.  They were planning a road trip to the Grand Canyon but decided to hike Mt. Humphrey’s the day before. Unfortunately, while driving up the road, the transmission on Nico’s car blew.  Luckily, they were close enough to the EcoRanch, that they could come back and have a place to stay for a few days.  After a tow and an exam by a mechanic, it seems as though Nico will be continuing his road trip by bus and Dhruv will return to Virginia without a trip to the Canyon.  Despite the circumstances, they are both in good spirits and tonight, Dhruv made us some authentic Indian food to say thanks for the hospitality.

Josh and Ryan finally made it from Washington after a long trip hitchhiking with numerous unplanned layovers.  Both have been wood splitting machines and recently Josh planned and designed a chicken coop that will fit into the barn.  Tomorrow the construction starts and come spring time, Mary Ann and Michael, great friends who live in Camp Verde will be donating some chickens to help fill it.

This Sunday, Rob, Maggie, and Sarah arrived from Akron, OH.  They are recent graduates in anthropology and have been doing informal research on WWOOFers and WWOOF hosts.  Today they pulled weeds, raked pine needles to reduce fire risks, built stairs, and helped repair the trail behind the house.

Next week, we will all be working with students from Dr. Pollack’s sustainable botany class to build and install a hoop house they designed.  We will be amending the soil, putting in raised beds, and planting chard, kale, lettuce, carrots, green onions, garlic, radishes, and bok choi.  What better way to get started farming in an already harsh growing environment than to jump right in with some extreme winter gardening.  Maybe this will be like groundhog’s day; if we can grow crops in the winter for our first season, the EcoRanch will be successful.

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