Me, Izzy, and Julia at Mount Rainer. It was a challenging hike, but the viewpoint was so worth it! The mountains were surreal, and you could see strips of bare rock from the collapse of previous evergreens.
Me and the interns usually start our mornings in the Garden harvesting. It has been so cool to be able to see all the changes in the garden. These are most of the main vegetables we harvest every morning! I really enjoy digging for potatoes, it feels like I’m digging for gold. I’m amazed by how many beans the rows are able to make. Almost every day we collect a huge bowl full of them! I find myself becoming more present when I harvest. I can’t help but be amazed by its calming beauty, and fresh herbal scents. The Garden truly feels like a magical place.
On this day we made blackberry mint mojitos for the movie Spirited Away! We took this picture under the tree house in the Garden. The blackberries gave the mojito a fresh fruity flavor and the mint was a cool addition.
Me and the interns like to climb trees. This tree we found in the native food forest. We were amazed at how strong and bendy it was!
On Wednesdays we wear pink!
On this day me and the interns learned how to make kombucha from West and Brian. To make kombucha you need sugar, black tea, and a SCOBY to start the fermentation process. SCOBY is a thick, slimy cellulose disk, that houses the bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY feeds on three things tea, sugar, and water. It is sometimes called the ‘mother’ because it can continuously replicate itself and create ‘babies. These babies become the layers that grow on top of the SCOBY and can be used to brew a new batch of kombucha. The yeast’ living on the SCOBY are needed to break down the sugars in the tea. The yeast’s waste becomes food for the bacteria, and in return the bacteria remove toxins from the chemical breakdown of the sugars, this helps the yeast survive. The broken-down sugars are converted into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and acids. This process gives the kombucha its fizzy, vinegar flavor.
Preventing the growth of mold is essential for healthy kombucha making. A low pH is typically unfavorable for mold (lower than 3.5). Storing your kombucha at temperatures between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal. Flies or other microorganisms from the air can contaminate your kombucha batch, so covering it is important. Kombucha can be brewed for 7-30 days. A longer brewing time results in less sugar and a vinegary flavor.
Some of the health benefits of Kombucha are it’s a good source of probiotics from the bacteria and yeast. Probiotics help with gut balance and digestion. Kombucha made from black or green tea can also have a strong antibacterial effect. Specifically, against infectious bacteria and Candida yeast. Overall, I was amazed by the complexity of the unique symbiotic relationship needed to brew kombucha. I am very excited to see how our batch turns out!
During the garden tour I looked down to see to a small bee had landed on my jacket. I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by this tiny creature, as it used its appendages to gently wipe off the pollen encasing its furry body. The garden tour continued, and I carefully walked to the next row Anita was showing me and the other interns. I was cautious not to make abrupt movements with my arm. To my surprise the small animal did not fly away, but instead seemed to burrow in the crease of my jacket, almost as if it were content. I remember being in awe of its glossy see-through wings, and vibrant yellow and brown fur. The calm nature of this animal made me question the violent depiction society seems to paint of its species. I tried enticing the bee to crawl on a nearby Dahlia, but it had no interest in the flower. Its behavior being similar to reluctance from my observation. The small creature stayed with me a few moments longer, and I found my attention shifting back to the tour. I remember glancing down at my sleeve to find the bee was no longer there. The only trace of it was the small pollen trail left behind. The small interaction between this animal and I gave me more insight on the sentience that exists within everything living.
In the months leading up to this internship I never really pictured what my time here at Songaia would look like. I don’t know if I had any expectations either, I just knew that I would be doing some gardening and learning about permaculture. I also knew that because this is the first thing I am doing out of college I wanted to use this internship as a period to work on myself and prepare for the “real world.” Reflecting on these past four weeks my time here at Songaia has already been more than I could have imagined. Not only have I learned so much about how to grow food and how to do it in a resilient manor, but I have felt a sort of peace since being here that has slowed me to become more confident in myself. However, trying to portray these experiences and feelings has been significantly harder than I was expecting and I draw a blank every time I try to conceptualize it or write about it.
I think part of why I am having such a hard time portraying my time here is that I do not know the last time I felt this comfortable being myself. Between the relationships I have formed with the other interns and everyone else here, I have felt nothing but acceptance, support, and comfort. It's weird to me. I'm not overthinking every aspect of my life and to be honest I'm not entirely sure what to do with myself or this feeling.
I think there might be some weird juju here that is messing with me. Last week in the garden we talked about the dragon spirit that may or may not be lurking within the community and the more time I spend at Songaia the more I think there is something there.
I feel like this poem and series of photos are as close as I will get to portraying my time here thus far so please enjoy.
~The dragon spirit~
There is something about this place that I cannot quite describe
I don't think it can be described
It is more of a feeling
I don’t know the cause of this sensation
Nor do I want to know
In my head, it's the dragon spirit that watches over and protects the beautiful people in and place that is Songaia
Garden bloggers are community members, volunteers and interns at Songaia.