Hi y’all! Isabella here coming to you from New Mexico. Yesterday we left the snowy land of Colorado to a SLIGHTLY less snowy area outside of Las Vegas. VEGAS BABY. We are planning on gambling all our food budget this week. Jokes, jokes. There is no strip in this Las Vegas. Currently, we are staying at Camp Stoney, a summer camp that is unoccupied due to off season. Us students are staying in a cabin; walls lined with bunk beds trigger a feeling of nostalgia. What a beautiful throwback to childhood memories of late-night games and bonding in bunk rooms. During our time in Colorado, we learned a multitude of skills. From permaculture to rolling pizza dough to how to cut firewood (do not worry mom, I did not lose any limbs), Earth Mountain Education Farm has taught us life lessons we will never forget. We owe a great gratitude to our host Joni and her family. For more than 20 years, Joni has been farming and promoting sustainable living in the south eastern part of Colorado. The foundation of Joni’s farm is permaculture, the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. The most incredible example of permaculture, in my opinion, was her family home. She used recycled materials, straw bales as the insulators for her walls, and a greenhouse in the front purposed not only as a garden but a heat source.
My favorite day of our time there was a day hike that her son, Orion, took us on. The rock formations were incredible, resembling parts of Star Wars which REALLY made me happy. We got an extra bonus when two of the farm dogs, Greta and Ubiquitous, and the goat, Lulu, joined us. Two of our other furry friends, Ra and Whiskey, did not come with us because their little cat legs probably could not handle the trek but we do not love them any less. At the end of our time there, we ended up sleeping in the yurt instead of our personal tents. It is rather difficult to stay warm with about two feet of snow on the ground. Our source of heat was a wood burning stove that had to be checked on frequently. This resulted in night shifts to man the fire and put on fresh logs. I had the 3am-5am shift with Sage, but it was worth not feeling the indescribable -6 degrees outside. In order to keep ourselves busy, we focused on cleaning our shared space, washing dishes with snow (new life skill!), and playing with sleds and snowboards. As the days go on and we get to know each other better, our group grows closer. I see life-long friendships forming. Even though I miss home and my loved ones so much, I would not rather be with any other group of people and our beloved I-Team. We constantly are helping each other become better people and I am so grateful for this experience.
While y’all may not know Joni, anyone would be blessed to meet her. She recently has been eligible for a liver transplant and plans on having surgery on November 11th. It would mean so much to me if you or someone you know would be willing to donate and support this amazing woman that has taught me so much. Day in and day out, she never skipped a beat with taking care of the farm, her family, and us. We are forever in her debt with the knowledge and love she gave us. Below is the link to help her recovery. Thank you so much.