The big news on the farm this week is that help (and company!) has arrived. My friend, Chris “Vyper” Pyper and his feline companion, Smudge, will be living and working with me here on the farm through the growing season. And, yes, Smudge has to work too – she’s on bug killing duty in the house. Chris and I met when we volunteered for the same AmeriCorps program in 2010. We both led trail crews in the Pacific Northwest – me in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State and Chris along the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern California and Southern Oregon. We were thrown together often for trainings and special events, and when we realized we would both be moving to Seattle after AmeriCorps, we promised to stay in touch. It wasn’t long after we both moved to Seattle that we realized it would be fun and cost-effective to be roommates, especially because we shared a love for cooking local, sustainably grown food. Chris and I lived in a few places around Seattle, but we always had a garden, whether in the ground or in containers on our balcony. We even converted a little shed into a chicken coop and kept four laying hens in our backyard in urban Seattle. Aside from his full time job at the Mountaineers, Chris worked for Nash’s Organics at two of Seattle’s largest farmers markets, while I started exploring the ins and outs of farming as a volunteer at the University of Washington Farm and then as an employee at Local Roots Farm.
When I left Seattle to move home and start my farm this year, it was bittersweet. While I was excited to return home to my family and friends in Kentucky, I was very sad to leave my wonderful friends in Seattle, especially Chris who had been an amazing roommate and friend (and Smudge wasn’t so bad either). Now that Chris has decided to come spend his summer and early fall at Dark Wood Farm, I am overjoyed. We have already accomplished so much during his first week here, and we are cooking some pretty amazing meals from all that the farm has to offer, with a little help from our fellow market vendors too. So far, Chris is adapting to the humid heat of Kentucky (he grew up in the dry heat of Utah), and we both got called “city people” while hauling water from the local well today, but we are both enjoying the sunsets, listening to the birds while we work, and sharing the bounty of the farm with family, friends, and market-goers alike.