Recharged batteries

Last week, I went home to Philadelphia for three and half days (not a recommended length of time) for my cousin's masquerade wedding. I made the masks in Jamaica---the brown "feathers" on the mask pictured on the right are dried banana leaves from my yard! 12219401_10208298489478745_8447445389725997289_n

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I am grateful that I got to see my family and friends for a brief period of time, though it was exhausting. Less than 24 hours from returning home in Jamaica, I repacked my bags for a three day Peace Corps Conference called Project Design and Management. My counterpart and community member, Shelly, attended the conference with me and we made a lot of progress on our plans for the community center (update soon come!)

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Saturday (yesterday) was the first day I got to slow down for a moment. The logical tasks were to unpack my bags from both Philadelphia and the Peace Corps Conference and to clean up my apartment, but my definition of slowing down is to recharge my batteries by working on a personal project.

It was a beautiful day out and I spent the whole day outside in the garden as well as a quick 3 mile bike ride. First off, this is the first time that I worked the soil in my yard, and that made me on a giddy natural high for the rest of the day. My 84-year old landlord, who usually plants up her yard, is recovering from surgery and gave me her blessing to plant wherever and whatever I would like.I woke up early in the morning so I could do these outdoor activities before the sun got too hot. When I opened the door, there was a familiar face waiting for me.

This cat took the Welcome mat literally.

This cat is adorable, and has been stalking me.  I never pet the stray animals here, but I may have to make an exception for this critter. It wants to hang out with me ALL of the time. I'm terrified that its cuteness is going to conquer me and  I am going to accidentally adopt it...so far I've never fed it or even touched it, but it appears out of no where to rub against my boots. I have a soft spot for this dang cat, but I haven't let it know it because I know it would be all over from there.

All day, curious neighbors passing me at work stopped by so I got to explain hugelkultur beds, which is the style of raised bed that I decided to do since there are massive piles of banana trash around the yard.

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I also harvested some of my vermicompost to mix in with the soil, which I was very pleased with---I am lucky to be able to compost with red wigglers here and I actively try to share this agricultural technique!

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Last but not least, I started a lot of seeds, for personal use as well as to transplant with the kids at the schools I work with.

This is what project time looks like when you are dealing with a Melissa.

This cat desperately wants love.

My makeshift seed nursery and my baby rosemary Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

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Other recent projects include brewing kombucha here in Jamaica! I am going to brew a big batch for Friendsgiving, which I plan to host at my house.

There are so many fruits to use for secondary fermentation here!

And I'll end it with some fun bonus pictures:

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Some of you may remember Courtney from my previous,

I hope I get a good germination rate of everything that I planted yesterday! I am refreshed and recharged to hop back into this work week.