Monday morning, the College Re-Entry group departed from our usual point of origin and headed out to a more rural locale. After the uneventful two hour drive through slice-of-America New Jersey, we arrived at our intended destination—Fountain House Farm at High Point. The asphalt of highway and main roads made way for gravel and then dirt. We settled into the Chalet and headed out to meet Anthony, the farm manager. He quickly debriefed us on what our duties would be for the upcoming week: take care of the animals, feed them twice a day, tend to their barns, fill water buckets, shovel excrement, and collect eggs. Admittedly, some tasks were easier and more pleasant than others. Nonetheless, all duties on the farm are vital to its maintenance and operation—the harder and more unpleasant ones are often the most critical.
Alpaca and chicken excrement was used as fertilizer, fundamental for the sustainable growth of the plants that we tended to. We weeded the kale, arugula, and lettuce, and then embarked on a more labor-intensive task of fencing the tomato plants. College Re-Entry participant and author Adelaide (Addie) Ballard had prior experience with growing tomatoes and “really rocked” the slide hammer, according to College Re-Entry coach Anna Jarashaw. One of the students even sung and spoke in French to the chickens in a successful (albeit unconventional) attempt to gather them in their barn at dusk.
For many of the participants, this was their first time staying and working on a farm. The alpacas, llamas, and lambs were a highlight for many. Tiffany exclaimed, “It’s cool that the alpacas will come up to you and sniff you.” Overall, the trip to the farm was a blast for us (and the animals)!
June 24, 2015.