Freelance Farmer Chick

Farming and writing my way around the world

April 6, 2014
by Lisa Munniksma
1 Comment

This Cat

Spring is here, and it’s farm time! I’ve returned to the farm where I apprenticed last year. This year, I’m doing a livestock specialization. I’ll still be planting and weeding and working at farmers markets, but the bulk of my time will be spent with the chickens, cows and pigs.

Spook feels at home all over this farm, though we're trying to lure her back to the house where she belongs.

Spook feels at home all over this farm and has a knack for finding the most comfy places to hang out.

Toward the middle of last year, a white cat with brown and gray markings showed up. When I moved from the camper into the community house, she followed me up there. I liked having her around. (I am, certifiably, a cat person.) When it appeared that she wasn’t leaving, I named her–a dangerous thing to do to an animal on a farm–Spook. This sounds like a name a third-grader would come up with, but I think it fits her. It was fall, Halloween is my favorite holiday, she is white, and she always seems to show up when you least expect it, like a ghost. (I can even reason like a third grader.)

When I left the farm in November for winter’s rest, I asked Spook to stick around so we could still enjoy her company this year. Continue Reading →

March 8, 2014
by Lisa Munniksma
0 comments

Spring Break, Tenn.

This is just one of the nine wooden bears I had the pleasure of posing with on my trip to Tennessee. Photo by Greg Rodgers

This is just one of the nine wooden bears I had the pleasure of posing with on my trip to Tennessee.
Photo by Greg Rodgers

Nine bears. That’s how many fake bear statues line the tourist strip in Gatlinburg, Tenn. I’m surprised at this low number–it felt like three-times that many. I say this because my travel partner somehow made it a rule that I had to have my photo taken with every one of these bears, posing in real life in the manner they were posed for perpetuity. Even the bear holding the camera. Even the bear down on all fours at the busiest intersection in town. For whatever reason, I felt like this was a reasonable request and went along with the game.

After another winter storm, I was at my indoor-cooped-up breaking point. A quick check of the weather and confirmation of a place to stay sent me packing for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The plan was a few days of writing, hiking and a little bit of moonshine-sample tasting. (It’s the moonshine samples that led to the wooden-bear photo shoot, I believe.) Continue Reading →

February 15, 2014
by Lisa Munniksma
2 Comments

Earn It; Don’t Expect It

I have many photos of post-run celebrations (and a few of pre-run celebrations), but this is the only photo I have of me actually running. And it's blurry. (Sorry.) This was a few years ago at the Shamrock Shuffle, a 3K race that kicks off St. Patrick's Day festivities--hence the awesome socks and headgear. I normally give photo credit when I didn't take the photo, but I won't throw my paparazzo under the bus this time.

I have many photos of post-run celebrations (and a few of pre-run celebrations), but this is the only photo I have of me actually running. And it’s blurry. (Sorry.) This was a few years ago at the Shamrock Shuffle, a 3K race that kicks off St. Patrick’s Day festivities–hence the awesome socks and headgear. I normally give photo credit when I didn’t take the photo, but I won’t throw my paparazzo under the bus this time.

In my last post, I whined about being stuck inside because of this miserable winter but admitted to dragging myself out to run. My running has mostly been inside, on a track at a gym, because even when it’s not painfully cold outside, the sidewalks and roads have too much ice for me to trust a run in a neighborhood. So in addition to whining last time about the weather and my declining mood (blah, blah, blah) and then imploring you to practice gratitude (ahem), now I’m going to whine about running, and in particular about running indoors. To keep with the farming theme, I’m going to compare my issues to horses, as I do most things in my life.

Continue Reading →

February 10, 2014
by Lisa Munniksma
7 Comments

First-World Winter

Everyone should be so lucky as to have this view.

Everyone should be so lucky as to have this view.

I am in a foul mood. Just like everyone else, I just want winter to be over. I want to go play outside. I want to be able to go for my run without fear of breaking an ankle on the ice. I want to be able to go hiking without fear of hypothermia. I want. I want. I want.

My mental well-being has always been tied to the outdoors. Continue Reading →

October 23, 2013
by Lisa Munniksma
4 Comments

Final Exam: Farmers Markets

All looked beautiful in the Tuesday booth ... except that I put up the tent facing the wrong direction so I couldn't hang our signs from the front. (Notice the signs sitting on the ground along the tables!)

All looked beautiful in the Tuesday farmers market booth … except that I put up the tent facing the wrong direction so I couldn’t hang our signs from the front. (Notice the signs sitting on the ground along the tables!)

You know the old saying: When the farmers are away, the farm apprentice will … take care of the farm, keep all of the animals and veggies alive, and be a vendor at two farmers markets. Is that not how the saying goes? Well, then, I’ve been duped, because I just did an eight-day farm-sitting extravaganza like none I’ve done before. (And I’ve done a lot of farm and house sitting in the U.S. and abroad in the past 15 years!)

Farmer Adam and I were referring to this week of farm sitting as my final exam. I’m at the end of my seven-month stay as apprentice, and this was a fitting assignment for my over-ambitious self. I knew I could handle the farm as it is–I can keep animals and veggies alive under normal circumstances. Preparing for and selling at two farmers markets without the help of Farmers Adam and Rae, though, was another beast. Continue Reading →