Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wednesday! (and click on the previous post to see an updated photo album!)

This morning, most of us started off working in the carrot fields after breakfast. Many of us also spent all day yesterday weeding in the strawberry fields (yes, we had trouble refraining from singing the song!). Here are some photos of the huge weeds we pulled so that the strawberry plants have a better chance of surviving:

Others of us learned how to transfer seedlings into larger cells in the greenhouses. It was our first morning of sunny weather - some of us ended the day with quite rosy faces! For lunch, we had a medley of leftovers made into completely new meals! The group combined potatoes and avocados for a yummy dish, made a kale salad with peanut sauce, and turned the dal into a soup with sweet potato and cinnamon. Then, a group of us enjoyed music by Stem, Jo, Heather, and Alison in the yurt just before sit spots (a time when we each go to a spot on the farm to sit alone and reflect for about 20 minutes). After sit spots, the group reconvened by the rhubarb, oregano, and sage to clear out the dry tumbleweed and other wood-y weeds. Dinner consisted of delicious bread (made by Shoshana!), veggie chili, a delicious salad with homemade avocado dressing, and a special surprise dessert of carmelized bananas, melted chocolate, and nuts.

Here are tonight's successful chefs and an image of the delicious bananas:

After dinner, we discussed the tradition of shmita, which is when farmers do not plant on their land every 7th year and instead it is only harvested, by both farmers and anyone else who has access to the land. I found the significance of the 7th year to be a sort of Shabbat that the land is able to observe. As I was thinking about this, I realized that there is further symbolism in the number of days that "rest" allocated for the land and for individuals who observe Shabbat. Shabbat is 1 day each week, 52 weeks of the year, and for 7 years every cycle that includes the Shmita. This means that humans who observe Shabbat have 364 days of rest. The land, with one entire year to rest, thus has 365 days to rest. I found it fascinating that the land and human beings are allotted almost an identical portion of time to rest over a period of seven different years, but in very different intervals of time.
-Lora Rosenblum

At the end of our discussion we began to discuss our plans for Shabbat on Saturday. Thus far we have decided that many of us who have never experienced Shabbat might try it for the first time. We thought of having certain activities such as a hike to the avocado grove, music in the yurt, and/or some discussions available to those who want to participate, but fully optional. In our planning we also considered leading a Friday night service as well as a Havdalah service and a special meal. This trip has really made a lot of us, including myself, realize that we may need more time for reflection in our lives and that it could potentially be beneficial to us. Overall the discussion and planning were very deep and reflective both on Jewish law and our lives as college students.

~Stephanie Cohen

PS - Our "photo of the day" (we know, we haven't had one yet!) is of Adam Amdur, who today was very much looking the part of a Penn farmer. No, we didn't photoshop him into this photo...the scenery here is actually this breathtaking!

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