The Life of a Chicken Murderer…

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What a year 2020 has been. My internship for Ogallala Commons has been with a really awesome farm called Tir Bluen owned by Justin Trammell. Out just south of Amarillo in the middle of nowhere.  Just past that one house on the hill and down the way. You’ll find a property that does not fit in with the neighbors green grass lawns. On most days you can find the answer as to why the chicken crossed the road. Or possibly catch sight of a group of geese that move like velociraptors. All kinds of animals roam the property. The front might sometimes look like a scene from Animal Farm by Orwell. But if Lucy lets you past the front gate you may have made a friend for life.

It’s safe to say life on the farm is never what you expect. There is always something different going on and most days you have to be ready for anything. We started off working on sorting animals and building pens. Among the variety of animals here on the farm is a type of pig called Kunekune. These are really cool small breed pigs that have lots of hair and neat coloration. Some days we worked on the garden. The drought took out the planted seed leaving no crop. Though through the struggle of trying to make it work, better irrigation techniques have been learned and applied. Lots of time was spent working with birds. There are ducks, chickens, geese, turkeys and guineas. And lots of them. They are ordered from a hatchery and come in only days old. We spent a lot of time into the care of the birds. Feeding, watering, building pens and shuffling them around could be a full time job. After months of hard work keeping them alive comes the task of processing. A majority of the internship was spent learning to process and package birds. While it’s not for the faint of heart. Understanding where your food comes from is a valuable lesson. Learning how to raise and process your own food is even more rewarding.              

Part of the internship at the start was to establish goals in a couple of select areas. This year has been a rough time to start new things. My professional network goal was to establish a family owned business and actively engage the farmers market. I’m happy to say Pixie Hollow Garden saw its debut. Fresh eggs, produce and baked goods gave us an introduction. With Covid coming to the picture life changed for everyone. I lost my job at the greenhouse taking on my daughter full time when schools shut down. Doing an internship with someone raising a kiddo at the same time helped with scheduling and understanding. But the scare of the virus made it really hard to reach out in communication and leadership. Just like life on the farm and its challenges sometimes you just have to rise to the occasion. Our garden has started seed pack distribution with the hopes of helping a dozen gardens grow next spring. With time the project will hopefully grow into a full blown seed swap. While getting to see people has become a problem. Helping to sprout seeds of change has new solutions.

Things by no means have gone according to plan this year. I’m sure none of us starting internships this year expected for things to lockdown and become such a mess. For a second I was worried my internship would end in termination. But here I sit reflecting on the year that has passed. All the hard lessons and curve balls that came. Level twelve of Jumanji almost complete. I’m thankful for my time with the OC this year. And my amazing mentor Justin and the friendship built there.