Freelance Farmer Chick

Farming and writing my way around the world

January 13, 2015
by Lisa Munniksma
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I Live in a Tree

If I must be specific, I don’t exactly live in a tree. It’s a treehouse in a Live Oak tree. I’m volunteering at an artist retreat in Florida, and I had my choice of staying in a bus, which I’ve also never done, or living here, and I chose here because … it’s a treehouse. Continue Reading →

January 6, 2015
by Lisa Munniksma
3 Comments

That Side of History

Just like a typical person’s “vacation” doesn’t involve sleeping in unheated/unair-conditioned accommodations, hard physical labor or getting lost in a place where you don’t speak the language, eagerly heading off to places highlighting some of the worst of humanity doesn’t often top the list. Granted, I’m not on “vacation,” rather I’m taking a three-month road trip–a winter break from farming in Kentucky–to see the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S. and volunteer on farms in Florida. It just so happens that two museums highlighting two horrific human acts are located in my travel path, and so I had to go. Continue Reading →

April 23, 2014
by Lisa Munniksma
4 Comments

Bluegrass Road Trip

Climbing on top of Indian Arch in the Red River Gorge was part of my tour-guide offerings for my British visitor. Photo by Jenny Leitch

Climbing on top of Indian Arch in the Red River Gorge was part of my tour-guide offerings for my British visitor. Photo by Jenny Leitch

It’s not a stretch to say I’ve met hundreds of people as I’ve traveled around the world. Some of these people came and went, some of them I see on Facebook and nowhere else, and some of them have stuck with me. I’m thankful for all of them. It doesn’t often happen, but now and then, someone I met out there comes here. It’s a weird convergence of two worlds, my traveling self and my self at home.

This just happened when my friend David visited the U.S. from England for two weeks. He and I met hashing (the running and drinking thing I do) three years ago in Belgium, hashed together a few times there, and also hashed together in London. When he first started talking about a trip to the U.S.–probably a year ago–he said he wanted to go places and see things that people visiting the U.S. don’t usually experience. Living in rural Kentucky, I was pretty confident I could deliver. And after the past two weeks, I feel like I gave it a darn good try. Continue Reading →

April 6, 2014
by Lisa Munniksma
2 Comments

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
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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 →