Re-Purposing

Post from Awesome Intern Emily
Predicting weather patterns, understanding the soil, possessing wisdom about "good" bugs and "bad" bugs… these are traits of a farmer who has reached a romanticized level of knowing one's land.  But, I think credit is due to the farmers who also know what lies in the back of their closets, or the corners of their crawlspaces.  I'm talking about those farmers who've reached a magician's level of skill in transfiguration, with powers to change man-made features of their landscape (or crawlspaces) into useful tools and usable space.  Look at what urban farmers have done with rooftops!

At the Seed Library, we haven't figured out how to turn a trespassing rabbit into, say, an electric tiller, but Ken and Doug do have a knack for transforming junk into farm equipment.  They've worked their magic to re-purpose old bed frames into a compost bin and drying rack;  converted refrigerators into a seed incubator and root cellar; and turned scrap wood into anything Doug imagines (the solar dishwasher is still in the imagination phase).  The barn was a bunkhouse when the Seed Library inherited it along with the other abandoned summer camp infrastructure on the property.  Now, instead of housing campers, the barn holds bunches of drying lettuce, komatsuna(!), peas and fermenting tomatoes.

2011-08-31_12-07-13_6211As the barn fills up, it's becoming the time of year to re-purpose empty vegetable beds, too.  Where we once had rows of parsnips and rutabagas, we now have room for later-season crops like kale and beets.  Lots of objects on the farm are also changing, revealing their alter-egos as summer turns to seed-saving season.  Ken and Doug seem to have raided their closets for electric fans, sieves, mallets, blankets, blenders, laundry baskets, trash cans, etc., and now I'm waiting for a washboard (we could start a jug band).  Yes, the kitchen sink has also been re-purposed for processing seeds.

We aren't the only ones re-purposing objects for the sake of seeds.   Art Pack artist Jacinta Bunnell just posted a blog about giving new life to an 8-track cassette case as a Seed Library seed carrier!  And, then there's the tomato hornworm who found a new purpose feeding chickens.  Me?  I'm finding new purpose for myself at the Seed Library, too.  Along with farm work, I'll help with projects in the office this fall.  Maybe I'll discover a new tool in a closet or desk drawer for cleaning lettuce seed!

One thought on “Re-Purposing”

  • Yvonne Richardson

    Great use of unwanted items - a stack of car tires filled with well composted soil is great for growing potatoes and when you're ready to harvest you just lift off the tires - no more potato digging! Keep up the great inspiration.

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