Interview: David Rittenhouse
Interview with Dave Rittenhouse
By Verena Eichenberger
It’s my first time WWOOFing and I wanted to visit a farm in the Midwest where I’ve grown up. I contacted many farms by e-mail and by calling and 3RF was the only farm that responded and had room available. Also the description of the 3RF in the WWOOFer book interested me with the large diversity of the farm.
What are the different chores you do here? Every morning I feed the chickens and check for eggs and continue to check for eggs throughout the day.
In the garden I help to harvest vegetables, weed, water, and help plant new crops. Greg and I have prepared a plot to be used next year, which has involved leveling the land, digging a trench and roto-tilling the soil. Twice I helped to move the sheep onto a new area for grazing. This involves setting up an electric fence and mowing the old land. One day I assisted Robin with the bees to look for honey. With Verena I have helped cook different desserts from our harvest with Rhubarb & Black Currant Crisp being our specialty.
I enjoy weeding the most. It’s a very simple and repetitive job, but it allows to me to get lost in my thoughts and meditate on different ideas. Plus its very rewarding to see the crops positively react after weeding.
I do lots of reading, I’ve probably read eight books since coming here. I enjoy playing the guitar, I got a book on playing the blues in Ann Arbor and have been playing from that ever since. I have been practicing the language Swahili to prepare for classes in the fall. I have made different crafts taught to me by Robin, such as weaving a belt and learning to spin wool.
I enjoy photography very much and I have taken many pictures which Robin has used on the website. I also have ridden my bike on a beautiful local trail many times.
What is something unique you’ve learned that you did not expect?
With Robin I’ve learned a lot about different herbs that can be used to make teas and their various medicinal properties. The herbs I’ve learned about are Chamomile, Bee Balm, Comfrey, Clover, Catnip and Mint. My favorite combination is Chamomile, Catnip and Mint right before bed to help me sleep.
I sleep in the upper part of the barn which I share with George, the cat, mice and bats. Numerous nights I have awakened to bats flying over me. I then use a net to catch them and release them outside. At first it was scary to wake up with them screeching above me but now it is second nature to catch them.
What are your plans after 3RF?
I will return to Minneapolis, Minnesota to start my third year at the University of Minnesota where I’m studying Biology, Society and the Environment.
Also I’m excited to move into my new house as the landlord plans to turn the backyard into an organic garden.I will get to apply a lot of what I’ve learned here into the devolvement of my backyard garden.