Our first interns arrived this week! Here are their introductions:
Cameron Day is 17 and a junior at the International School of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas. The owners of Good Life Ranch, Geoff and Lindsey McPherson, are both former teachers of his and he was interested in helping them out as soon as he heard about this new endeavor. He is very interested in poverty elimination because he feels that in too many societies large portions of the population are held captive by economic inequalities. He feels that if these inequalities can be eliminated or at least lessened then society will become more fair and free. The first step in eliminating a problem is raising awareness and hopefully the simulations at Good Life Ranch will raise awareness of the different types of poverty that exist elsewhere in the world. He first became interested in this sort of work after he attended a similar poverty simulation at Heifer Project International, so he hopes to help provide other students with the kind of experience he had at Heifer. In his free time he likes to play guitar in a band. Cameron is most excited about building the Cambodian and Haitian structures.
Alexa Zanikos is also 17 and a junior at the International School of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas. Geoff and Lindsey McPherson are her former teachers, and she jumped at the chance to set out on an adventure in sustainable farming with them. Alexa’s interest in sustainable farming was sparked by her dad, who since retirement has set out on a similar journey into sustainable, hardcore gardening in the backyard. She is excited to apply the skills her father has taught her here at Good Life Ranch and bring the skills she learns here back home. Her family has a passion for food and the environment, which manifests itself in a quest to “get off the food grid” by eating as much as we can from her dad’s garden and making as much of our own food as possible (homemade bagels anyone?). Besides food, farming and school, Alexa is a dancer in the San Antonio-based youth dance company Insight Dance Ensemble.
Today Alexa, Cameron, Lindsey, and Geoff spent the afternoon building Goatel 2.0 – a second goat shelter to replace Goatel 1.3 that the goats destroyed last week. Goatel 2.0 features heavier construction (2×8’s versus 1×6’s), wheels placed to allow more ground clearance, a slanted roof for better rain runoff, and tarp covering the roof and most of 3 sides of the structure. After building it we wheeled it down the road and into the goat paddock. Everyone approved of Goatel 2.0. Now let’s hope it’s sturdy enough to stand up to several years of goat abuse.
Other projects we’ve started with Alexa and Cameron: weeding the Three Sisters Patch (corn, squash, and beans); planting more hot-weather veggies, weeding and mulching the vegetable gardens, hauling rocks to build the herb spiral, staking out the first Lifestyle Lane structure, and breeding rabbits. Of course, this is in addition to the normal daily routine of moving goats, poultry, and rabbits as well as feeding and watering everyone.
Welcome Alexa and Camerson! Glad to have you!