Crazy View Farm Olympics

It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

Now that you are in the mood for some competition, let me walk you through the weekend’s debauchery that took place at Cloud Nine Farm during the second annual Farm Olympics. We had been practicing for what seemed like forever – when in fact it was really only one week. The training was brutal, but it was nothing compared to the battle that awaited us at each event during the Farm Olympics. Six farms, each full of competitive spirit, participated in six events, which combined agility, strength and precision. The events consisted of straw bale tossing, thistle root pulling, row covering, icy fingers bag tying, precision weighing, and chicken catching. The teams presented two worthy opponents for each event and the stage was set for a bloody battle – filled with laughter and encouragement. 

Proud of our homemade Crazy View patches

Ulrikke and Val started off strong with a straw bale toss that would have made any competitor weak with fear. Alas, a couple of teams must have taken advantage of such fear and ended up tossing the bale over 20 feet. We were not discouraged, thistle pulling was up next and I happen to be a little obsessed with pulling thistle out of the ground. The clock began and we had two minutes to pull as much thistle as we could, but there was a catch, there were no gloves allowed. It was agonizing, but Chase and I gave it our all and pulled through the pain. The goal was to pull the longest, intact root. This may sound simple to you, but this will only prove that you have not picked thistle in quite some time and you may want to start weeding your garden. The roots can easily extend up to a foot into the ground; with one wrong pull you will yank off the tip and disqualify your thistle contestant. Experience proved to win over excitement in this event. Neither Chase nor I placed in the event, but we did have plenty of thorns in our fingers to prove our effort.

Measuring our roots with the other contestants

The third event was the row cover competition. If you are unfamiliar with row cover, it is simply a spun-bonded polypropylene fabric which is sunlight, rain and air-permeable. It captures warmth and protects plants from damaging winds, resulting in healthier plant growth and higher yields. Needless to say, in the rugged landscape of Montana they are a necessary part of sustainable agriculture. The competition was to cover a 25-foot row of crops and secure it with rocks. The winning team completed the task in a mere 37.0 seconds.

Now, that we were all warmed up, it was time to cool off. Farmer’s markets and CSAs are a large part of a farmer’s livelihood and both require that produce is clean and packaged. Produce is cleaned in freshly pumped well water, which means it is icy cold. After removing all of the dirt, it needs to be placed in plastic bags and tied in knots that are tight enough to hold but not so tight that the little old ladies’ arthritic hands have trouble opening the produce. The event had Ulrikke and Caitlen place their hands in ice water for two minutes and then tie a perfect knot in a bag of produce before any of the competitors. Crazy View Farm finally had a winner! Ulrikke managed to tie a knot with her numb, clumsy fingers before any other contender.

A farmer must know how much to charge for the produce that they are packaging and this is based off of the market price and the weight. The next event had Luke testing his skills at estimating an amount of produce and then getting as close to a quarter of a pound as possible. It turned out to be a difficult task and a long-time farmer ended up winning with a perfect 0.250 on the scale. The final event was catching wild chickens. The beautiful bantams had been running loose for the past few weeks and needed to be rounded up. I fancy myself a bit of a chicken connoisseur and thought that I would be able to win the event. However, my confidence could not conquer the chickens. I ran until my lungs burned. I chased the chickens through sagebrush and tractors with no success. Each one eluded my outreached arms. Luke faired much better than I and managed to wrangle up three chickens before the time ran out.

Storms clouds moved in from the North just as we were finishing up the day’s events. We had been jokingly warned not to win the Farm Olympics because the winning farm is crowned the host for next year’s competition. We came to the conclusion that this thought in the back of our minds must have been the reason we failed to win the gold – it was either that or accept defeat. Our evening continued with a wonderful potluck, warm company and two bonfires. I say from now on all weeding has to be done without gloves, in order to train our hands for next year’s Olympics. I will start tomorrow. 

If anyone would like to see the other photos taken at this event or get a copy of those included in this blog, I have created a Dropbox folder specific to the Farm Olympics. If you just send me an email, I will invite you to view the shared folder and you will be able to use any of the photos – all photos were taken by the talented Mr. Chase Vreeland.  

Participating Farms

The CSA Model on Crazy View Farm

Monday is our early day on the farm. We get the day started at 7:00am and we do not stop until all of the work is done. The day is busy because we harvest for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Bozeman Farmer’s Market and MDF (Market Day Foods). Crazy View Farm works with three other farms to grow, pick, package and distribute produce to 78 CSA shareholders each week for 16 weeks (June – October). 

The CSA Modelis an agreement between the farmer and customer that provides capital to the farmer during the planning and planting season to pay for seeds, growing materials, equipment, and labor. In return, the farmer provides CSA members with a weekly box of produce throughout the growing season. CSA members are invested in the farm for the entire season. They share in the harvest, when it is bountiful, but also share in the inherent risks and challenges of growing food – drought, frost, wind, hail, to name a few.  Shareholders, or families, pay $360 at the beginning of the growing season and receive a weekly share of the produce. That breaks down to only $22.50 per share, per week. Health insurance companies have learned that families and individuals who participate in CSA programs have lower heath care costs. Ask your health insurance provider if they offer rebates for their customers that are a part of a CSA. When offered, health insurance companies typically offer $100 rebates for individuals and $200 rebates for families. Even if your health insurance provider says no, it is always good to be pushing them to look for new ways of lowering the cost of healthy foods for you and lowering the health care costs to the insurance company. CSAs become a win-win scenario for both families and health insurance providers.

Cleaning lettuce heads and bundling up the carrots

Crazy View puts a concentrated effort into growing a majority of the greens that make up the weekly CSA share. Today we harvested basil, heads of lettuce, zucchini and eggs for the shareholders. All four farms work together to provide a diverse variety of produce to their shareholders each week. The other farms contributed fennel, tomatoes, squash, cucumber and onion to the share. If you think receiving fresh vegetables, picked at the peak of perfection and in your hands within 24 hours sounds ideal, then you should consider become a CSA member. It will not only feed your body organic, wholesome goodness but it will also teach you and your children about the vegetables that grow well in your area and when they are in season. If you are unsure how to find a farm in your area that operates a CSA, contact me and I will help you or attend the next farmer’s market in your town. Ask the farmers if they are operating a CSA program and how you can become a member.
Aside from the healthy vegetables and learnin’ that you will receive by becoming a member, you will also be supporting your local farming community. Think about it – you are purchasing your share in the springtime, the exact time of year when farmers need capital the most and you are removing the middleman. Rather than driving to the grocery store for every edible desire, you are going straight to the Farmer. By making this choice you are delivering the true value of the product to the Farmer. When you purchase your produce at a grocery store, the Farmer’s price decreases by every person that it takes to get the product from the Farm and to your plate. A portion of the value gets paid to the farmer, truck drivers, warehouse, marketer and grocer. I do know that it is convenient and efficient to get your produce from a grocery store, but I do hope that you consider purchasing a portion of the food you eat directly from the human whose sweat, blood and tears went into growing your dinner. 

The list of produce to harvest for the day

Washing, weighing and packaging

Farming Alongside Friends

The second day on Crazy View Farm was a Sunday and it was the perfect day for a long hike through the Crazy Mountains. Our fellow Wwoofers introduced us to the National Forest that protects the Crazy Mountains. We woke up early, made a tasty lunch for the hike and started driving into the wilderness. The majority of the farming in Montana is ranching, which means cows are everywhere. We came very close to hitting at least 15 cows on our drive into the mountains. They all roam along the dirt roads and when you cruise around a corner, they become quite a large surprise. Luckily, neither the Honda nor the cow was injured that day and thank goodness because we were informed that if you do kill a rancher’s cow, you are responsible for covering the cost of the cow.

Our hike took us across creeks, rushing with icy, mountain snow. We rested in meadows, covered in wild flowers and ready to be napped in. We walked up mountains, we walked down mountains, and then we walked up a couple more. Eventually, we decided that the supposed loop that we were on was longer than we dared venture on a day hike. We journeyed back to the car no longer strangers to these wonderful fellow wwoofers.

Back at the farm we began to learn the lay of the land. Crazy View Farm has been in operation for five years. They have five gardens across the property. The farm is most well known for it’s spectacular greens. Laurie grows more greens than I could describe to you here, but some of my favorites are the arugula, dino kale, red Russian kale, spinach and swiss chard. To put it into perspective, Laurie harvests enough greens to supply 78 families with weekly greens on their dinner table. She sells additional greens, along with hoards of other herbs and vegetables, at two weekly farmers markets and an online market.
A farm wouldn’t be complete without it’s requisite animals. Crazy View has two Border Collies – Mary and Jane. They are quite possibly the smartest dogs I have ever met. I am pretty sure they understand English fluently. It’s more than just knowing, “sit, lie down, fetch,” Billy and Laurie speak whole sentences to their dogs and the dogs know exactly how to respond. The dogs stay busy keeping tabs on the five horses, Risky, Beau, Luke, Barry, and Wiley. There are also thirty chickens of all shapes and sizes that lay eggs for eager customers. Laurie has a soft spot for all animals and when a mentally handicapped calf was born at a farm down the road, Laurie rushed in to save it before it could become dinner. The calf, Eddie, is one unique animal. He coughs like an old man who has smoked his entire life and follows up each cough with a snotty sneeze that drips down the hairs on his chin. Because he is still so young, we get to feed him daily with a bottle full of milk. Above all, my favorite animals on the farm are the three donkeys. They love attention and are never satisfied when I am done petting them. Lugs, the small, fury donkey, looks exactly like the Donkey on Shrek. Ruth and Rachel have soft, clean hair and love getting massages at any time of day. I made up the donkey massage method this afternoon, but I do think they enjoy the feeling.

Our past few days on the farm have been a welcome change from traveling cross country. My back and legs are sore, and I finally feel like I have a purpose once again. We have spent our days picking vegetables, weeding rows of crops, taking care of chickens and planting new seed. It is incredibly rewarding to approach a row full of weeds and know how good you can make it look with just a bit of effort. Yanking up thistle by the root leaves me with deep satisfaction that I have not felt in too many other places. The only difference between the work we completed in Canada and the work we are completing here in Montana is the company. In Canada, Chase and I spent our days together in the fields. In Montana, we spend our days with five other people. There is always someone telling stories and making us laugh to pass the time in the fields. Everyone comes from a different background and part of the world. They all have deep knowledge in certain fields and I learn something new everyday from my fellow farmers.

The size of our group here builds a unique sense of community. There are 8-10 people living on the property at any one time. We all share one bathroom, if you don’t count the compostable toilet outside. Dinners are cooked by one of us on a rotating basis over the week. We all sit outside on the deck to eat dinners, with tall, golden sunflowers in the foreground and the Bridgers mountain range in the background. It is wholesome goodness at it’s best. We typically spend the rest of the evening on the deck. All of us tell stories about our lives and we listen to the coyotes howl. 

Tonight was our night to prepare dinner for the group. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I had never cooked for more than four people at any one time, the meals that the others had prepared have tasted incredible and I had to have it done at 8:00pm on the dot. Chase and I prepared coconut curry with a homemade flatbread and salad. I should never have been worried. The meal turned out delicious and I am certain everyone would have still liked me even if it tasted like dog food.  

Wilsall, Montana – Home of Fabio, Joni Mitchell, and Good Looking Jerry

Our time farming in Montana started off with a bang – a literal bang as we watched John Wayne defeat the water-stealing James Kincaid in Riders of Destiny. We sat alongside all 200 residents of Wilsall, Montana and enjoyed a night of prime rib, auctioneering, and an old Western. We sat in the bleachers, overlooking the rodeo arena and the Crazy Mountains.  I don’t believe I have ever felt so old-fashioned American. I was swept up in the cowboy hats, boots, dust and sun. The Wild West is alive and well in Wilsall. It feels like a lawless country, where you are more afraid of your neighbor’s judging eyes than of the law.  This part of the country attracts folks from all walks of life. Within our first two hours we had met a man who had dated Joni Mitchel and married Miss Argentina – who ended up winning Miss Universe. We discovered that one of the individuals we are living with is the former drummer of the band Morphine. If you have never heard their music, check it out. It is a nice blend of rock and jazz. The artists and ranchers who make up this eclectic population have colorful backgrounds and personalities.

The night began as the auctioneer opened with a Scandinavian joke that would have made any Minnesotan laugh.
Lars:Say, Ole, I went by your house last night and noticed you kissing your wife in the window.
         Ole:The yoke’s on you, Lars, I wasn’t even home last night.

After a lively auction, and with dusk approaching, we settled into our seats for the movie. The screen flickered on and we watched an emotional, Oscar-worthy, memorial service of all of the citizens who had passed away over the last year. Live music accompanied a powerpoint presentation as we became familiar with the lives of all of the late citizens of Wilsall. It was incredibly sad and with the need for a little mood lifter, I began to look around at the citizens of Wilsall. Right off the bat, I noticed a Fabio look-a-like, a stroller carrying both a beer and a bottle in the cup holders, and observed a mother daughter duo who should audition for “Tweens and Tiaras.” Her spunky daughter was posing on the rodeo railings, inside tractor tires, and alongside the porta-potty, while mom shouted, “now this time make it a little more sassy!” We were introduced to a town favorite, Good Looking Jerry, who kept us laughing with another joke.

         Q:What’s the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts?
     A: Beer nuts cost a dollar fifty and deer nuts are always under a buck.
Our first evening at Crazy View Farm was filled with new friends, food, and laughter. Who could ask for a better night? We rode home in the back of the pickup truck and crawled into our comfortable camper for the best sleep I have had in a long time. Thank goodness for a real mattress after sleeping in a tent for the past month! 

Home sweet home in our camper!

New Morning Farm – Week 2 and 3 Video Recap

Well, we missed a week of posting our video on the blog – but do not fear, because we did have the video made. You can catch up on our second and third week on New Morning Farm by watching the videos below. We are just finishing up our fourth week on the farm and we are heading back to Minnesota to celebrate the Fourth of July!

Playing Farmer with Chase and Dana

Our third week on New Morning Farm has come to an end. This week, Lorne increased our level of responsibility on the farm and allowed us to take over the morning and afternoon chores with the animals. It was a win-win situation; we loved playing Farmer and he was able to take care of other responsibilities he had outside of the farm. Here is what our typical day consisted of this week:

7:30 Wake up
8:00 Chickens (feed, water, collect eggs)
8:45 Pigs (feed, water, fresh straw, pet snouts)
9:15 Meat Birds (feed, water, fresh straw)
9:30 Cows (water)
9:45 Re-fill empty feed bins for next feeding
10:00 Breakfast and Coffee/Tea
10:45 Weed garlic
11:45 Place fresh straw around garlic to prevent future weeds
12:30 Lunch
1:15 Cows (water)
1:30 Weed garlic
2:30 Place fresh straw around garlic
3:00 Chickens (feed, water, collect eggs)
3:30 Pigs (feed, water)
3:45 Meat Birds (feed, water)
4:00 Cows (water)
4:15 Read books, work on art, make movies, take pictures, go to the beach

6:00 Dinner

We woke up each morning this week knowing that there were hundreds of little, living beings waiting on us to feed their hungry bellies. With this motivation, we stretched, yawned and made feeding them our first priority of the day. As we were wandering over to the chicken coop one morning, I looked at Chase’s curly locks of hair and screeched, “Chase, I think a bird pooped in your hair!” He noticed the white liquid dripping from the ends, touched it with his finger and then licked it. Yes, he licked it. Luckily, he informed me that it was just sunscreen and to this day, I am still unsure whether he knew it all along or if he was prepared to taste bird poop. 

Chase and I became more efficient with the daily chores as the week progressed. Chase mixed the morning feed for the chickens as I gave them fresh water. Once the chickens were distracted with the morning meal, I collected eggs. The chickens provide us with about 10 dozen eggs per day – which equates to 840 eggs per week! Nancy sells these eggs to eager customers in Winnipeg every two weeks for $4.00/dozen.

Chase and I look forward to saying good morning to the little piggies. They are always squealing around and trying to say hello to us as we feed them breakfast. The pigs have grown so much since we arrived on the farm and they are getting a little too pig for their current pen – they have been tearing holes under the fence, moving their feeders all around, and pushing against the walls. Lorne has a whole field fenced off for them, but before we can let them run around, we had to teach them to “fear the wire.” Training camp started this week, when we hooked an electric wire up to a post in the center of the pen. For the first few pigs who begin to sniff around this new device, they get quite the surprise when they hit the wire. Squeal! Squeal! Although it is never fun to hear an animal in pain, I know it is for their benefit because tomorrow we will be able to let them run free for the rest of the summer. 

Our week ended with a celebration of the Summer Solstice at Geoff and Theresa’s inspiring Boundary Creek Farm. Geoff and Theresa have been farming for 11 years now and are committed to trying any and all sustainable farming methods that they read about. This has resulted in a dynamic, successful farm that provides their customers with eggs, chicken, pork, garlic, honey and a bounty of vegetables. We saw, first-hand, how much their customers respect their famers by the sheer number of them that traveled 50 miles from Winnipeg to spend the evening on the farm. The potluck dinner was incredible, Theresa’s mint tea was heavenly and the bonfire, spectacular. 


Witnessing the World

We woke up to another beautiful morning on the farm. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and, best of all, the wind was brisk and warm. I just knew this was going to be a good day. It may not be surprising but one of my favorite things about working outdoors, rather than in an office, is the ability to experience the day. Being surrounded by four walls all day, you forget how warm the sun gets and how much the wind is appreciated during the afternoon hours.

In fact, you forget a lot of things about nature when sitting inside all day and I am slowly learning them again. The thing I learned today was how to complete a task and take pleasure in the task itself, rather than just the pleasure of crossing it off my list. Does this sound familiar to you? I go about my life making so many lists that all I think about when working is how I am going to get the next thing on my list done. In my former life, I worked like a drone, just trying to accomplish the task at hand as fast and efficient as possible. While this may make the ideal employee, for me, it felt like the world was going by and I wasn’t even experiencing it.

Today, we had the task of planting tomatoes, peppers, melons, and eggplants. Instead of just planting, planting, planting, I actually took the time to feel the dirt on my hands and the way it tickled my skin when it went down my shirt. I noticed all of the life that was living in the soil as it squirmed around my hands. I heard the birds singing their lovely songs in the trees and wished I could carry a tune. I feel so much better at the end of a day, when I know that I witnessed the day first-hand. In my prior life, I would go days without spending more than five minutes in the sunlight. I would leave the house when the sun was still sleeping and I would get home after the sun had gone down. This life seems so sad to me now and I truly hope I never have to live like that again.

The glory of the day continued well after our planting was done. Chase and I wandered over to our favorite animals on the farm, the pigs, and filled their home with fresh straw. They delighted in the wonder of this new, fresh, fun and began to shuffle and sniff it around their home. I could spend a whole day playing with pigs. They are just like people – shy at first, confident with friends and curious as a cat. Everyday I spend time with them and everyday they grow a little more comfortable with me rubbing their backs and touching their wet snouts. One day, I know that they will become dinner, but for now they are my dirty, smelly friends.

When Lorne noticed my love for the pigs, he mentioned that Chase and I are just like Abner and Daisy Mae, a satirical comic that appeared in newspapers from 1934 – 1977. In the comic, Daisy Mae loves the pigs almost as much as she loves Li’l Abner.



Chicken Coop Clean-Up

Warning: if you have recently eaten or have a weak stomach, stop reading now.

I have always thought of myself as having a tough stomach. I grew up dissecting dead animals we found in the woods, I have assisted in gynecological surgical procedures and I ate my way through the back alley streets of Peru without any problems. Yet, nothing prepared me for the stench of cleaning out a chicken coop.

New Morning Farm has hundreds of chicken. There are the fluffy baby chicks that still cling to one another when they go outdoors, contrasted nicely by the featherless ‘things’ that have been in so many chicken fights it’s amazing they are still alive. All of these chickens live in separate pens in the chicken coop and all of these chickens have active digestive systems. Every couple of months someone is honored with the task of scrapping up and shoveling out the excrements. We were the lucky couple this time!

I rarely admit defeat, but this coop defeated me.

I blazed into the coop, pitchfork in hand, mask securely fastened to my face and ready to clean up the crap. Ten minutes in, I was doing all I could to stop myself from gagging every time I lifted up a new pile of waste. Suddenly, my gallant knight in rubber boots strode in to relieve me of my task and finish up the coop himself. All I had to do was keep shoveling the manure into the wheelbarrow and bring it to the tractor. An hour later, Chase emerged from the coop without any signs of disgust. What a brave boyfriend I have.

I took a final peak inside the coop and, surprisingly, I could see the bare wood floor. Chase’s ability to fight through the smell resulted in a beautifully clean home for the chickens. We layered in fresh straw and let the chickens back into their shiny new home. I am still deciding whether the deliciousness of fresh eggs is worth the disgust, but I am leaning towards yes – especially with Chase in the picture.

Cheezies, Choir and Coca Cola


Today, Dana and I slept in until 9:50AM! Although, to be honest, the other mornings we only woke up as early as 8:00AM. Turns out farmers don’t always have to wake up at the crack of dawn. We are getting very comfortable with our first farm family, Nancy and Lorne Hall. We have learned so much about Canadian traditions and political systems. They took us into the town of Gimli today to help with some flower planting and window washing at a local senior citizen home. Afterwards, Lorne and I went to clean up some grass clippings and he introduced me to the local snack “Cheezies.” It is similar to Cheetos but, I must say, far better – especially with a nice, ice-cold Coca Cola from a glass bottle, which Lorne says feels great on your lips and I completely agree. Lorne explained that Cheezies only have one advertising scheme, they make smaller versions of their snacks for Halloween so that they can be handed out to children. Cheezies are also coveted for their top secret method of making no individual Cheezie the same. Each one has a unique and different shape, making it one of Canada’s leading ladies in the snack food isle. 

Giant Mosquito in Komarno, Manitoba
Next, we stopped by the giant mosquito in the town of Komarno – which means mosquito in Ukrainian. The mosquito was created to commemorate the worst mosquito season in history. Cattle in the area didn’t even breed that season because they were too busy trying to get the mosquitos off of themselves. Officials reported that the mosquitos reached a peak of 30 bites per minute. 

We headed home for a delicious lunch of stuffed peppers and cucumber salad. Lorne and Nancy informed us that tonight they had choir rehearsal, which we were welcome to attend. We were excited for what the night would bring. Our lunch stretched on a bit and we began to feel bad for being too chatty, so we set out to finish weeding the raspberry patch. Dana and I are particularly proud of this project because it is the crop that Lorne is most proud of and we felt honored to help him. 

After finishing up our work for the day, we headed in for another incredible meal. All of the meals that Nancy cooks are made from scratch, with the majority of the ingredients coming from the farm. Today we had delicious meatloaf, made from the cows they raise, baked potatoes, cooked cucumbers and the world’s best coleslaw (sorry Dana). Her coleslaw had apples mixed in with the cabbage – I don’t know how I have been missing this my entire life. 

After quick showers, we all changed into our Sunday best and traveled a short distance to a neighbor’s farm. On the way there we drove passed an airport, where the famed Gimli Glider made an emergency landing due to the crew miscalculating the fuel based on the imperial system rather than the newly adopted metric system. Apparently, this exact plane was recently put up on the auction block but did not garner enough bidding to sell.

As we pulled into the farm, just in time for choir practice, we were not sure what to expect. But, we should not have had any reservations, because this was another group of welcoming, smiling faces. The choir consisted of 15 men, women, and children from around the community. The choir director asked Dana and I if we were soprano, alto, tenor, or bass, We looked at each other with nervous faces and told him we didn’t know. He placed us where he thought we might fit and for the next two hours we practiced our singing. Everyone was talented and supportive and so we ended another fulfilling and fun day on the farm. 

Choir practice
Just finished planting beans


Locked Up A-Blog

Well, we have now entered Canada – I wouldn’t exactly say that we were welcomed in, but they allowed us into their country for 30 days. Why, you may ask, are we only allowed for 30 days? Because we lied. While it is no excuse for common sense, there was some logic behind our madness.

The program that we are farming with is called WOOF-Canada and if you check out their website, they make it seem like telling boarder patrols the truth about your intentions to farm in Canada will cause them to deny you entry. That being said, we crafted a little story about staying with a family friend in Canada. Yes, we risked a $10,000 fine and time in jail just because we thought we would be able to “out-smart” the border patrols.

As we drove through the entrance to Canada we were greeted by a nice woman who asked us quite a few questions about our travel plans. We thought that we were doing great and that we would be off to farming in Canada in only a few short minutes. We were wrong. She directed us to park our car and wait for an officer. The first officer had us remove all belongings from our car and tell him more about our plans in Canada. So far, so good, the story was holding up and we had only slightly lied about our true intentions of farming. Next, we headed back inside to talk with another officer about our plans. This is where it all started going downhill.

The officer asked who we were staying with and I told him, “A family friend.” He accepted this answer and asked for her contact information. I had her contact information in an email printed in my car as well as in an email on my phone. He wanted to see the one on my phone – in fact, he wanted to search my whole phone. He told us to take a seat while he “did a little digging.” This is when I knew we were in trouble, because the email chain contained information stating that the border patrols have become a bit strict lately and that it would be better if we did not tell them about our farming intentions.

The minute he called me up to the desk I knew he knew the truth. He wasn’t some bifocal-wearing, old man who couldn’t use an iPhone if Steve Jobs were personally tutoring him. This was Officer Generation X, just waiting to bust us. The moment I realized this, I burst into tears. Not just a single, strategic tear that would show my sincerity – more like uncontrollable crying. He called Chase up to the desk at this time to answer the questions that I was trying to get out between sniffles and sobs.

We told him the truth. After he did more “digging” on Chase’s phone, he confirmed that our farming story was the truth. He informed us of the severity of lying to an officer and told us that he would only allow us to stay in the country for 30 days, after which we would have to leave or risk arrest. We have never felt so bad in our entire lives. We asked if we could speak to the first officer once more so that we could apologize – I was crying throughout this apology too. Embarrassing. As he was stamping our final paperwork to send us on our way, he began to discuss the rules of volunteering in Canada. Chase finally got him to crack a smile when he noticed my tears starting to well-up again and said, “Oh no, if we don’t leave now you are going to get round three of tears.” Officer Generation X laughed and sent us on our way.

To Canada and Beyond

Our trip officially began yesterday!  We are excited to meet new people and learn all about sustainable agriculture over the next year. Below are a couple of statistics to measure our progress as we go!

Trip Stats:

Miles on Honda Civic: 54,622

Blog Pageviews: 1,067
Gas Stations: 1 
Farms Visited: 0
Art Sold: 0
Dana’s Facebook Friends: 1,078
Chase’s Facebook Friends: 221
Woodticks: 1

Stay tuned for our horrific border crossing experience in the next blog entry.