Chillin’ at the Farm

8/7/11 – This week has mostly been taken up with rest, relaxation and family. After working almost non-stop at Earth Island Institute Ellen is at long last enjoying a well-deserved vacation. After our non-stop, cross- country journey Walker and I are chilln’ at the Farm with Ellen. We do have electricity here but no internet access. We are beginning to really appreciate one of the great assets of public libraries – free access to computers and the internet. I posted the last blog from Hanover, New Hampshire’s wonderful Howe Library. But this week has mostly been learning how to shift gears from flat-out to stop. It takes a while to relearn how to appreciate just watching the grass grow, seeing the clouds float by or hearing the quiet sounds of the New England forests that surround our cabin. During the week we have our annual Farm business meeting with other members of Ellen’s family. The downpour that followed was spectacular. We have a favorite roadside café called Sandys that we go to later in the week in nearby Sharon, VT. As we drove by the public library in Sharon we used their free wifi to check our email. As we drove into Sandys we are thrilled to learn that we had reached our goal of $8,000 on Kickstarter. Although it won’t pay for all the expenses of this summer trip it will pay for most of them. We celebrated by getting ice cream cones and Walker got

sprinkles on his. I want to thank all of our generous supporters who made this trip possible. It was a gamble not knowing when we started if we would reach our goal. Kickstarter made reaching the goal important by making it all or nothing. But it paid off and now I know this project will become a reality. Finally, New England has a long history of visionary, progressive thinkers. One of them was the 19th Century U.S. Senator Justin Morrill who happened to grow up in the tiny, nearby town of Stafford, VT. Among his accomplishments was starting the system of Land Grant Colleges in the United States. His family was too poor to send him to college. Because he saw the need he later established these high quality, low cost colleges in each state of the Union. His goal was to provide free access to information for everyone that wanted the chance of improving one’s life. The small Justin Morrill Library in rural Stafford has free wifi that is available 24/7. Like many of the small, rural libraries we saw on the trip this is the only place for miles to connect to the internet. I photographed Walker in our car with the glow of the computer screen on his face using the free access to information from the darkened library. I imagined that Justin Morrill would be pleased.

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