Monthly Archives: May 2010

4.27.2010 Chaffin Family Orchard

Honeybees suck nostalgia from orange tree blossoms; I’m not from around these parts, but the smell is similar to Kentucky summer honeysuckle on some vibrant and windy back road.  They say the snout is the quickest route to your memory, and I am a firm believer, living the past and the present simultaneously on a citrus spring day.   In the 100 year old orchard, I simmer somewhere in this century, perfectly content.

Josh, the youngest member of the Chaffin/Albrecht family, knows more about the natural world at 8 years old than most.  As we walk out of the olive orchard and onto the open path, towards the goats and their wobbly newborns, we embark upon a search for clover and chamomile.

“Josh,” I say, “how do I dry the leaves for tea?”

“Well,” he explains, “Hang them up for a month or two.  I guess you could put them in the oven if you wanted, or you can dehydrate them.”

“Josh, how do I separate the clover seeds?”

“Put them on a piece of paper to dry for a couple of weeks.  Then, shake out the seeds and sift them through a colander.  And remember, the colander must be very fine.  My Dad planted all these clover last season.  Soon, there will be so many flowers that they will be all that you can see.”

“Josh, how do I tame a feral cat?”

“I am currently working with two right now.  You need to put them in a cage in a room you most occupy in the house.  They need to get used to you being around.  They will get better accustomed to their new environment when you regularly feed them.  You should also get them out and pet them, even though they won’t like this.”

I am in constant awe that no question goes unanswered.

We collect our bounty of purple, red and yellow, making sure to only pull the largest flowers while keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes.  We found three this morning while moving the orchard ladders, and Josh wasn’t taking any chances, nor was I.

“You have to be careful, especially with the baby ones, they don’t have control over the amount of venom they release, and thus they are the most dangerous,” he explains.

We see his father Kurt at the end of the farm truck path; he is requesting our presence.  His figure is perfect symmetry with his leather boots, leather belt and perfect posture straddling the center of the road; wild flowers and perennial grasses frame the whole scene.

He waits for us, patient and serene, even while Josh decides to lose his sandals in a muddy divot created by the farm trucks bustling with trailers and tools.  Because Josh is still eight, no matter how much he naturally knows, and today, I am however old I want to be.

By: Kristen Houser

Food

A part of the semester was to work with one subject appealing to you, and finding my one subject was more difficult than I figured possible. So, I settled on what was on my mind: my stomach. Getting hungry and exploring the endless possibilities of food became quite the experience, one that was fun and easy to share with others. The ‘Finding the Good Food’ piece turned into an accumulation of all I went though over the semester while following my gut.

Click Here to Listen:  Food-H.264 100Kbps Streaming

Ode to Olive Tree

The wind whispers through the leaves,

Through the leaves of 100 year old olive trees.

The black bits litter the ground,

The gnarled trunks don’t make a sound.

You walk through this beautiful place,

Don’t eat the olives you wont like the taste.

The black and dried beauties crunch under your boots,

They stretch their tendrils, sagacious roots.

So much time has these trees seen,

They’ve seen the word dirty-and watched it run clean.

They don’t grow too tall, but offer some shade,

We sat under this myriad for over three days.

The colors so bold but cold in their truth,

To want anything more, would be simply uncouth.

You lie down to rest, the pits on your back,

Expressing your soul, these trees have a knack.

The small family is happy, feel blessed for what they keep,

Life is not always so smooth, sometimes it’s steep.

But keep keepin’ on just doing their olives,

These trees are so old they’re really rock-solid.

And once again we learn a lesson from the wild,

You just need to slow down and live like a child.

I think the whole world could take a page from the Book of Chaffin,

Just shed your skin, start playin’ and laughin’

And when you see those trees,

Give yourself a pinch and a squeeze.

Cause I’ll promise you this,

You will give that sweet dirt a kiss.

You will feel as though you’ve ascended

Before your life has even ended.

By: Alex Depavloff