Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chimney Sweep English

Sorry it's been a few days but my head's been hurting with information overload -the course if officially over now so time for a little reflection. Two more translations: R't = root, biscuit = savory buttery scone like thing and karm-post = compost. I spent tuesday learning the fine details of how to produce top quality karm-post and karm-post tea (tea brewing vessel pictured below) and I can tell you it's a world away from that s**t the waste companies churn out.
Wednesday was a field trip to a vermiculture plant (worm castings for karm-post) they used shitaki mushroom growth medium blocks for the base -I can't even begin to describe the smell, gut wrenching doesn't come close. Above is a mexican painstakingly shovelling each batch through the worm seperated.
Today has been a microscope class (pictured at the bottom), a fast pace reminder of A level and Uni microbiology plus all the details for me to analyse soils for their likely bacteria, fungi, nematode and protozoa counts and distinction between the good guys and the bad. - I will be testing you all on this!

Tommorrow I meet with the business and technical team here to find out if we can utilise some of these products in the UK and if I make the grade to become one of their affiliated advisors. Maybe a big night out before the microscope class wasn't such a great idea?

Saying goodbye to my new set of friends today was hard as ever - I don't think you could've tried to fill a room with a more diverse group of people, as ever I did my best not to pre judge anyone on first glance (I have learnt this approach alienates far too quickly when you are the minority) and keep an open mind -determined to learn something from everyone. So what did they teach me?

There is plenty of mid ground between organic and conventional farming even if neither side wishes to admit it. I have Mark to thank for education on hop growing, beer brewing and attempts at English and sounding like the perfect chimney sweep from Mary poppins. I'd like to thank GoGee (pictured below) the organic medicinal marajuana grower for (no not that) the positive energy he channelled to me and an insight into a whole nother world. Rebecca for the political update -quite the contrary to the farmers in Missouri. Construction Mark for the mainstream 'Frat' type view of the world and intense production agriculture. Kathleen (pictured below) for showing me Canadians do have a sense of humour (!) and the whole group of socialites who mercilessly 'took the mick' out of my accent for 5 hours - all in their best cockney chimney sweep!

It's been another great trip -again made by the folks I met and Earthfort, Soil Foodweb and Sustainable studies and greatfully I have found a piece of America to love -Oregon: enthusiastic home brewers, wine makers, fruit and veg eaters, joggers (yes movement), generally more travelled and more rounded (not physically) people.

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