Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 17 by Paolo

Today we started the day with a breakfast of biscuits and gravy, eggs, and orange juice. Then Tom hooked the buggy to the horses and we went on a buggy ride to the Amish general store where there was a bunch of strange foods and really good ginger ale.

Afterwards we went to see the Amish woodworker who supplies the community with bed frames, chairs, and cabinets. Then we went back to Tom and Sandy’s house and drove to Coweeta heritage center which is a place where they have chickens and goats and they’re off the grid and they get all their electricity from a hydro electric dam that’s connected to a small trout pond. The man also has a small sawmill which he sells the lumber that he makes.

Day 16 by Anjali

Today we all woke up before the sun and packed up our stuff and ate all before 8am. Then we headed down to Carolina Friends School (CFS) to meet Tommy Johnson and his class. We arrived where we were introduced to the entire school. We talked about AMS then presented our power point presentation which was all about our field trip. We finished with about 15 minutes left of “class” so we headed out to the garden and pulled up weeds and talked with the students of CFS.

During break/snack time we got to tour some of the CFS campus. Then we went back and talked about the same thing to another group of middle schoolers. At first we were asked what were some of things we like about AMS, so we said some things like chores, work projects, boarding house life. Then we did our presentation. Another 15 minutes left, more weeding and throwing worms at teenage girls (or at least watching CFS boys throwing worms at grossed out teen girls). After we said “farvel” (goodbye in Dainish) to our new friends and got on the road. We went grocery shopping and then stopped to eat lunch in a lovely rest area where we made a classy belt for Poalo out of a orange bag!. Then we drove a while blasting Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and we eventually arrived at the driveway of a Amish couple. Across the street lived a bunch of unhappy CAFO chickens that belonged to Tyson. We got out stretching our legs and then jumped into WORK PROJECTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! We planted 6 rows of potatoes, 3 ½ rows of Yukon Gold and 2 ½ of Red Pontiac and then working to haul wood from one pile to another.

Then we ate delicious snack of popcorn and tea. After that more work projects which consisted of shelling corn using a corn sheller! SO MUCH FUN who knew a bunch of children could have such an amazing time doing work!!!

All done working, now chill ‘til dinner! Dinner was mashed potatoes, turkey, meatloaf, veggies, and breads of different sorts. Chores, then card games!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well sleep tight

Day 15 by Anna

Today after a rude awakening involving a slide whistle, a guitar, and a knight helmet we had a delicious breakfast. Then we weeded Ann’s garden and played with worms and snails. After an hour and a half when it actually looked like a garden, we stopped for lunch. Because this is day 15 everyone is thoroughly weary of the peanut butter tortillas that are AMS field trip lunches. Luckily for the non vegetarians among us there was pepperoni generously sent by Margot which, I am told, made the meal much more bearable.

After lunch we drove 15 minutes to Fickle Creek Farm where Ben showed us around. Fickle Creek uses animals to prepare the soil for market gardens. First they let their goats, sheep and cows graze and eat all the saplings so the forest becomes more pasture like. Then they put pigs on to root up all the big rocks and roots in the ground. Then they put the chickens on to peck up bugs and fertilize the soil.

They showed us a pasture that had chickens on it last year and you could see where the eggmobile had been because the grass was tall and really green.

They had egg laying chickens living in the eggmobiles which produced about 1,000 eggs a day.

There broiler chickens, unlike the ones we raised at school, could walk around and be chickens as well as grow big enough to be profitable. We also got to see the pigs who looked much, much happier the CAFO pigs. They were rolling around in the mud and reminded Michelle of her great love for swine.

Ben also told us about agro forestry which means interspersing trees and animals throughout the farm. This benefits the animals with shade and wind blocks and the soil with bio diversity and fallen leaves for compost. Before we left we bought some meat and eggs some of which went to tonight’s delicious but vegetable free dinner.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 14 by Tristan

So.... get up, get dressed, prepare, eat, leave. Thats the schedule for this morning. We drove for 7 hours today. Not quite as bad as 9 (longest driving day, blehh). Then we ended up at former student's house, Caleb Cole. It was a warm, sunny day. Some of us played baseball, others threw frisbees, and some just sat down and talked. We had yummy pizza, hotdogs, salad, cookie, and rice for dinner. Yumm. Afterwards we pretty much just chilled. We also played Bachi ball! Then when it got dark. FIRE! It was warm. Welp thats about all for the 14th. On to Fickle Creek Farm! Adios Amigos.

Day 13 by Kai

Today was pretty awesome. We woke up to an amazing breakfast then we went to Tybee Island to swim. I was so bummed to feel the air when I stepped off the bus. It was cold but some of us got in the water anyway. After our kill the man with the ball session and swim extravaganza we went out to lunch. After arguing for a while we decided to eat lunch and it was pretty awesome I liked the food and I think some other people did too but it wasn’t amazing. We took a tour of the light house which was 160 feet tall. It was amazing. After our tour we went back to the beach and chilled for 45 minutes then headed home for a relaxing afternoon. We ate chicken and Coos Coos then had strawberry shortcake for dessert. Then we cleaned up. Pretty great day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 12 by Ariel

The AMS buses have so much character. We all know before every trip something will go wrong with one of them and right as you are about to leave and waving goodbye to everyone….the bus will mutter a pathetic whirring similar to a vacuum that sucked up a baby. We on the other hand rolled out according to plan but our bus planned something a little different for us. After we had broken down camp, packed up everything and gotten our sweet little bum ruckuses all on the bus, we heard the unpromising whir of you’re not going anywhere. A few of us started trickling out having doubts we would even get to go to Savannah, and some of us stayed on the bus hoping that our crossed fingers, arms, legs, and feet would miraculously make us move.
We decided that turning it on and keeping it on would do the trick. Just as we were about to give up yet again the gods were in our favor and the sucked up baby pathetically whirred no longer. We piled back in and were left in the awkward position of telling the ranger we didn’t need help anymore; which had been fetched for us half an hour earlier. Anyway, an adventure it was and we arrived in Savannah all of us content because of our five hour nap. Tybee Island tomorrow. And here is some more parent reassurance… We won’t gash our feet with shells, we won’t fall off the lighthouse, we won’t get eaten by sharks, and we PROMISE to where sunscreen.

Day 11 by Adalaya

This morning we went to White Oak Pastures, which is a sustainable farm in southern Georgia. They raise cows, sheep, chickens (for meat and eggs), turkeys, and vegetables. The Harris family has been running this farm for 5 generations. Unlike many factories that slaughter 500,000 chickens per day and 6000 cows a day, White Oak only kills 500 chickens and 30 cows a day. The reason for that is White Oak uses the most humane practices they can. They graze their 700 cows over 1000 acres of pasture and use Temple Grandin’s methods for slaughtering their animals. You can buy their meat online or at Whole Foods stores.

After lunch we helped plant trees in the campground for an hour.

When we finished we had fun running up the 81 stairs to get to the top of the mound as fast as we could. For dinner we made delicious burgers that we got from White Oak Pastures.

Day 10 by Paul

Today we took a nice long bus ride from Nashville to Georgia. The ride was about 7 hours long and very warm. I really enjoyed our lunch today because we ate at a Publix parking lot. Then we went to a place called Kolomoki Mounds State park. Which we set up camp and had dinner. I can’t wait till Thursday because we are going to place called White Oaks Pasture.
Here is a picture of Tristan running up to the top of the Temple Mound.

Day 9 by Paolo

We started the day leaving Sharon and Tom’s house and we drove to Oxmoor farm. They grow a diverse variety of vegetables on 8 acres. It works with the Food Literacy Project which shows people where their food comes from. Both of the groups think it’s important to feed people healthy food and not fast food which is what most people in the city of Louisville eat at least twice a day, sometimes even three times a day! Ivor runs the farm and he also is a co-founder of Grasshopper’s distribution center. The food literacy project brings people out to the farm and runs a year-round program for people to come and plant crops and while the crops are growing they work on the farm. When the crops are ready they harvest and cook them so the people can learn how to cook/prepare vegetables. On the farm they have three rules: 1. Get dirty. 2. Show respect for something. 3. Try something new.

Then we ate lunch and went to Heine Bros Coffee. The reason we went there is because they compost their coffee grounds. Then we drove to Nashville and I played halo ‘cause that’s what AMS is all about.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 8 by Anjali

Last night it snowed 2 inches here. Finally, some winter! We drove to Portland Orchard and met up with Judy and a family that ran an orchard in an empty lot. We talked about the neighborhood being poorer and how the people around there buy their food at gas stations or fast food restaurants. The orchard will provide fresh fruits for them to eat.

Then we went to a community distribution center for local farmers so they can pool their resources and run a giant CSA. They showed us their HUGE freezers and fridges and coolers that they store their foods in. We also chatted about the farmers and other things. Before we left we were given a little bottle of honey that they were selling!

After that we drove down to Portland elementary and toured their gardens and outdoor classrooms.

They are a public school getting grant money to have an environmental focus. We were invited to dine in their fancy cafeteria and eat like an elementary student. The meal was very educational and made some of us (including me) long for good ole lentils and quinoa.

The best part was there was a really cute bunny running around!!! We drove by a store that sold healthy foods! We stood at the edge of a lock and dam to witness a large boat go into the lock but then we got to cold and left. We headed to the Youth Build- Louisville to study their gardens, chickens, compost and green house and learn about what they do. Which is they get students who have dropped out of high-school and teach them academics, gardening and woodworking/shop skills and then have them go build houses and garden beds!

Later we drove all the way to California (or at least the town) to look at a preschool that is solar, energy efficient. We learned that they don’t use solar panels but instead it’s passive-solar. They use the heat from the sun to warm the building. The heat warms up the building and then gets transferred through pipes (big blue and red ones to be exact!) and then goes through the heating vents on the floor to heat the room again!

We finally got back to the house and hung out, playing pool and using the wii. We ate and then played more pool and listened to a few accordion songs. Then chose a movie which happened to be Cirque Sol Le! J Happy Trails,

Peace, Love, Pool Playing!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 7 by Anna

This morning we got up at eight and had bagels and eggs that had celery in them. Then we packed up all our stuff before nine when quakers started arriving to sing songs. After they were done singing some students went to an hour long silent meeting and others went to the youth group. Then we had a potluck lunch which, surprisingly, had neither lentils or tofu. After Anna was done talking to quakers from her childhood and all the dishes were clean we all loaded on to the bus. We drove through Berea where Anna pointed out points of interest such as the garage floor she fell through and the fish pond she ran away to. After two hours in the bus we reached Tom and Sharon Ash's house where we will be sleeping tonight and tomorrow. We thoroughly explored the giant house complete with at least five bathrooms (there could be more...who knows), a pool table, a poker table, a bar, two hot water heaters, and a theater room complete with reclining seats and a framed Pirates of the Caribbean poster. Despite the luxury there is a weird and stark contrast between this house and the ones at Egrets Cove. While they were simplistic and earth friendly this one is fancy and big. However even with this feeling we will be watching a movie in the theater playing pool and taking long showers in the many bathrooms.

Day 6 by Tristan

Driving. Lots and lots of driving. 5 hours to be exact. We began our descent into the not so depressing portion of the trip. We went to Berea, Kentucky, where we met the director of a nonprofit organization called Leaf for Life. It’s an organization that deals with malnutrition; they grind up leaves and put it on the food because the leaves they use have more Iron and Vitamin A.

Some other things we did when we got there is we took a tour of the houses in the intentional community Egrets’ Cove. They were nice cozy houses. The people who lived in each house built them themselves in simple sustainable way. After we took the tour and learned about Leaf for Life, we made spaghetti with different leaf material for added nutrition. We got all kinds of different colors and flattened them. Then we put them in a hand machine that you crank to cut them into spaghetti. We also made our own art out of the spaghetti. It was like edible playdough.

We played a lot of basketball which was fun, we got beat by a 60 year old! Then we ate. We had Alfredo sauce pasta and tomato pasta. Afterwards we went to the Quaker meeting house. There we played a little on the playground. Then we went to bed. That’s about all. Peace and Love to everyone. See ya in 13 days!

Day 5 by Kai

Today we got up and ate grits. They were delicious. After our very slow start we got on the road and headed for Johno's (Anna's dad) school. Before we got there we made a quick stop at a friend's house whose residence is right behind a sow operation that had 4,000 sows. His house was 300 ft away and he got a lot of unsavory smells in his house. After we made that stop, we headed to the school and learned about wind turbines. After we talked we went out and visited a really big wind turbine. The wind turbine produces 1000 kilowatts or one megawatt.

We also learned how to make biodiesel from used vegetable oil.

After our wind turbine experience we ate lunch then headed to an ethanol plant. Most of the ethanol is used as a gas additive or replacement. We got a tour of the plant and learned a lot. But the tour woman was really unique.

After our unique tour we went to another sow operation and watched a man talk about pigs and equipment for 4 hours and it was unpleasant. An indoor sow raising operation is called a cafo. We learned about the contract the man has with his cafo operation owner. We saw tons of awesome equipment that cost a lot and it was used to harvest corn and soybeans. Once he harvested his corn and beans he would dump the crops in the semi and ship it off.

After that we went home to Anna's house and ate dinner and pie. We watched funny videos and relaxed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 4 by Ariel

Did you know you could die in a poop lagoon? You probably did, but you can’t realize just how terrible it would be unless you have actually smelled one in person. A poop lagoon is a pond full of millions of gallons of toxic fecal foulness. We saw one today at Milco dairy, a milk farm about 45 minutes away from Anna’s house. It was a small scale CAFO and it smelled absolutely terrible.

First we went into the milking station we saw one cow with a blind eye bulging out of its head. These cows live in their own waste but this CAFO isn’t nearly as awful as the giant corporation CAFOs .

Then we walked through the pens where all the cows were kept. It smelled beautiful. So beautiful in fact that after we got home we stunk up the whole house with the sweet scent of milk CAFO. Most of us took a shower and Anna spent three showers trying to get the smell off.

We did some work projects, hooray. We also talked to lots of strangers. One of the strangers was a grain farmer. He came and talked to us about how much farming has changed since he has lived in Indiana….a very very long time. The other strangers were neighbors of a hog CAFO and talked to us about their life since the hog CAFO was built right next to them.
We have been saving the last week and a half of the trip to start learning about all the not as depressing stuff about the world. I am definitely exited to do the happy part of the trip. So I wish all you parents world peace, we promise not to kill your children, and happy poop lagoons to you all.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 3 by Adalaya

Today we went to the John E Amos Power Plant. We watched a cheesy video about the plant, and how “good” it is for the environment. After the video we got a tour. First we went in one of smoke stacks and learned about how it was made.

Next we went to see the big pile of coal – 60 days worth.

Then we saw the water cooling towers. The shape of tower makes a very good wind tunnel and the wind cools the water so that it can be recycled.

Last but not least we went to the power generation building. On the first floor are the pulverizers, which are the machines that crush the coal. On the 6th floor were the turbines that the steam spins to create electricity. The 18th floor was really hot because that is where the furnaces are.

After the tour Anna asked our guide what he thought about mountain top removal. He said he did not like the look of them but once they were “reclaimed” but he thought they made great golf courses, basically saying that he thought a flat grassy area is better than the second most diverse area in the world, after the Amazon. Tonight we are staying at Anna house.

Day 2 by Paul

On day two we went and hung out with Coal River Mountain Watch. We had a very depressing conversation about how the coal sludge affects the community. Then we went to Kayford Mountain. The mountain used to be pretty small until Massey Coal Company came and destroyed the mountains around it. Now it stands being the biggest mountain around. Then we drove to a pretty nice school but the coal company came and built a processing plant 30 feet away from the school. That’s not all. They also had to put a coal sludge dam there too. So when the kids come out to play they have to breath in toxic air that can kill them. Then we came back to the volunteer house and played games and had a blast. To finish our trip to West Virginia we had a bon fire and sang songs. (Pictures to come soon)

Day 1 by Paolo

First we got in the bus and drove and drove and drove and drove until we got to a road which we thought was the right road and we drove way up it for a long time and we decided to turn around and we drove back. Finally after a stop at a pay-phone and a popped tire we managed to find the house that we are staying at so we unloaded the van and took a hike. When we got back we made dinner.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Trip Itinerary!

We're all getting very excited about our upcoming trip. We plan on visiting a wide variety of places to help round out our understanding of how energy (both through food and electricity) is created here in the Eastern US. We will visit CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), a humane slaughter house, industrial farms, urban community gardens, production based organic farms, mountain top removal sites, a coal-fired power plant, an ethanol plant, passive solar buildings, hydro-electric and wind powered systems. We will also have some down time to just have fun and enjoy each others' company. Here is our rough itinerary:
Monday 2/27: Drive to Beckley, WV
Tuesday 2/28: Meet with Coal River Mountain Watch and visit with Larry Gibson. Stay overnight in Charleston, WV
Wednesday 2/29: Visit coal-fired power plant, drive to Anna Zakelj's house in Modoc, IN
Thursday 3/1: Visit CAFOs
Friday 3/2: Visit Johno Zakelj's school to see a wind turbine, visit Ethanol plant
Saturday 3/3: Drive to Berea, KY. Participate in Leaf for Life with Quaker youth
Sunday 3/4: Visit Friend's Meeting in Berea. Drive to Louisville, KY, to stay with Sharon Ash
Monday 3/5: Visit coffee house that shares compost with community gardens, visit passive solar buildings. Maybe go to Berry Center to learn about Wendell Berry's role in preserving sustainable agriculture
Tuesday 3/6: Visit Food Literacy Project and Grasshoppers distributing center. Drive to Nashville, TN
Wednesday 3/7: Drive to Kolomoki Mounds State Park, GA to camp
Thursday 3/8: Visit White Oak Pastures, who provides humanely slaughtered beef to Whole Foods Markets in the southeast
Friday 3/9: Drive to Savannah, GA, and stay with Anna Raymer's aunt and uncle
Saturday 3/10: Fun day at Tybee Island!
Sunday 3/11: Drive to Efland, NC, and stay with Ann Shy
Monday 3/12: Visit Fickle Creek Farms, a sustainable organic production farm
Tuesday 3/13: Drive to Tom and Sandy Colleti's in Union Grove, NC, where we will stay in an Amish community
Wednesday 3/14: Drive to Coweeta Heritage Center outside of Franklin, NC
Thursday 3/15: Back to AMS!