>Fiber Specialist, Holly
Holly’s love of the fiber goes far deeper than flax’s nutrient lifting roots. While she enjoyed embroidery in high school, it wasn’t until she was working towards a bachelors in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado did she truly appreciate the importance of fibers for warmth.
While working several “real” jobs after college, Holly truly enjoyed blogging about sustainable living. Have you ever seen a hand powered washing machine? Holly owns one! It’s not just a wash board although it does have a wringer. Her donations to the farm are great! We started out with a chicken tractor and a clothes line and it has grown into a washing machine to boot!
If there is a group of old ladies who meet to talk about some way to spin, embroider, knit, weave…Holly has done it and probably met the old ladies group you are thinking of. She has studied weaving under Hannelore Cole of Custom Handweavers, attended the California School of Professional Fabric Design, and has won awards for spinning, embroidery and weaving.
If there is something that you can turn into a fiber (ethically/fair trade only), she has probably made something amazing of it. Every year she jokes about making a sweater from Kiely’s annual summer shave. Some of her best works came when she was learning how to hand spin yarn. It contained so many beautiful imperfections, she couldn’t do it again if she tried. Have you ever seen a full sized loom? Holly owns and runs one in her house.
Visit her website to find out more about Holly’s love of fiber, learn to weave without fancy equipment, and peruse her fair trade handwoven goods!
Rico does not like reflect on his time at NYU. Nor does he boast about his studies with San Jose State. Somewhere between those two schools, Rico found himself among a boisterous group of misfits working on a start-up in the Silicon Valley. Rico was fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor of a company making a device that transferred mp3s from your computer, via the wireless router, to any room in your house where your stereo was! The company never failed; it just followed the tide of corporation conglomeration. Logitech bought the company out and slowly transferred jobs overseas. Rico’s abilities to solve problems with computers (hard and software) became known wider than just his job. He became the go-to-guy for everyone’s problems, from the obvious things like “you need to plug this in” or “you need to turn the wi-fi switch to on” to the insane saves like “Help my email got deleted, my password was expired and now I have the blue screen of death!”
Rico has always studied the fine nature of brews, even as a boy he helped his father burp wine bottles in their cellar. His family has been making booze since his grandfather was making wine back in the motherland, Italy. His formal brewing education was self-taught and should not be laughed at. With over a dozen books read cover to cover, emphasizing homebrew nuances, and countless internet forum articles read, Rico designed the entire operating procedure along with sourcing and ordering all the necessary parts. Using a computer program that analyzes “Grain Bills” (ingredients of a particular beer) Rico is able to tweak the flavors of the beer before we even brew it; however, in the end there is an art to it and Rico feels out the small details while brewing. It is a fact, this farm would not have beer if were not for this man!
>Marketing/Garden Manager, Lisa
Lisa wrapped up her business management degree at Santa Clara University with high honors a few years ago. Her first job as an intern out in the “real” world lasted only a few weeks because her outstanding performance got her a promotion by the end of week three! By the end of year one she was their Marketing Manager!
She fit right in with the crowd at Hummingbird Farm because she has always used books to teach herself things like: nutrition, gardening, dog training and home repair. While not leading small groups in plantings and harvests in Hummingbird Farm’s garden, Lisa supported free education as a Volunteer for the Santa Clara County Library system for many years. Now she works for them! Is it cause or coincidence, Hummingbird Farm was listed as a Reference?
Back at the Farm, Lisa is responsible for establishing and maintaining the Facebook page and, with the help of another Supporting Volunteer (Thanks Wendy!) who paid for our domain name and taught Lisa how to use WordPress, Lisa has created this website and helps maintain it with other volunteers.
>Chain Man/Brewer/Devil’s Advocate, Steve
While Steve has helped greatly with his Survey Expertise, despite his disdainful talks about how miserable it is to be a Chain Man, he truly loves helping us brew, digging trails and asking great questions.
Steve loves beer almost as much as he loves talking about strategy in video games like League of Legends. His love of strategy and his ability to ask important questions have helped keep the many steps of the brewing process safe, sanitary and oh so delicious!
Steve was one of our first brewers. He has helped with many of our first brewing sessions and has even pushed us to try his favorite recipe: the crowd winner red ale called, “Irish Redheaded Stepchild”. Judging from his haircut, it ain’t him the brew is referencing…
When touring the farm and you ask where the tractor is, you might be directed to look around at one or two of the volunteers. Within 4 hours time Steve is able to move over a cubic yard of dirt (~1 ton) over 100 yards with a 30% uphill grade on the last 50 yards! Steve started working at the farm because he couldn’t find motivation to ride a stationary bike in a small room of an apartment. The workout had a point and a goal…Cheers!
>Previous Hop Yard Manager, Givonne
Givonne was our first student intern who took on a project. When Givonne joined the farm she hadn’t yet finished her environmental studies degree; however, she is now proudly done with San Jose State and out in the field of environmental science. Last known location: Getting paid to be out in the wild helping a cute creature! Givonne had been growing hops for years, so it was only natural for her to take charge of our small hop yard.
Givonne helped establish a drip system around the four varieties of hops on our very steep slope. After sitting among the chickens and hop vines for 15 minutes with a beer, she built cages around the plants to keep the chickens out, and unknowingly the rabbits too. Because of her efforts we were able to measure our harvest in pounds per vine! Thanks again Givonne for all your help!
Davinder was our first guest to respond to our first Craigslist ad! The next guest not only walked to our Farm, they gave us $20! We thought either we would get money or a permanent volunteer every time without having to ask…[lol]… We had beginners luck with Davinder and altruism.
Davinder has worked on several farms. To us the most outstanding feet he talks about, and proves each time he wields a clam shell digger, is his ability to dig post holes despite the heat! Even when he hits “Cupertino bedrock” he continues to dig with a 40 pound steel spike! Davinder came to our farm because of his Punjabi Culture and stayed because of the friends he made.
We call him the Ringer because of his ability to get a job done. He may be able to predict the day he will be able to come to the farm, the exact time is always a mystery. When he does show up, it feels like whatever the goal of the day is – will be done. Davinder owns goals of the day and will not relent until they are done!
>Child Specialist, Felicia
Felicia is an elusive cat; although, she has always committed to helping our farm with corralling kids into fun activities every time we have asked for her help. She serves as a nurse by day and a wanderlusting urban camper by night. One of those WWOOF junkies who just helps out with a smile no matter if she has been dealt two left handed gloves.
She had this to say about her first visit: “Saturday was fun! Got a help a bit, learn a bit, eat and drink a bit and hang with good company. Definitely keep me posted if there is a big project you need people for.”
She left our farm aiming for a farm near Big Sur where she exchanged work for room and board. Her last known location was somewhere near Fort Bragg fixing up an Inn. We admire and support adventurous spirits like you!
[she is yet to be photographed, like a leopard...]
>Master of Carpentry and the Sea, Rhett
Rhett has studied the art of bending wind into a cruise for a very long time. While sailing, many things need to be rigged; sometimes in strange make-shift ways. Rhett just has one of those minds that can take what you got and make it work. As a boat owner you can bet that Rhett is handy, or else his boat would sink! He has salvaged a beautiful sailboat that he ties onto a dock near Los Angeles. If there is a tool for the job, Rhett’s got that.
Rhett’s formal education sounds like a great joke. Who is smarter? A medical doctor or a rocket scientist? Damn it Jim, get off that space ship and let’s ask the drunk guy on the boat! To be clear, he has studied Aerospace and Environmental Health Science.
Rhett has helped with three of the eight box constructions. His first time showing up at the farm, a whole wall was built in one day! (Box #2) His second visit left us with another box near completion! (Box #4) On his last visit he constructed and positioned each of the signs that Lisa had painted. He has to save the world now from toxins in the air (“real” jobs pay better). However, he still visits occasionally and is excited to start a new project now that the garden boxes are done.
>Web Development Support, Wendy
Wendy supports our farm from the comfort of her home. She is our proud donor who has pushed our farm onto the web! She trains Lisa when questions arise and supports general web development problems. Besides her help on the web, Wendy helps the farm bounce development/legal ideas around.
>Pickler and Brewer, Phil
Phil’s last home was Portland Oregon, where there are more breweries per capita than any other city in the world! He grew up making homemade refrigerator pickled eggs and veggies with his family and still does it to this day. Besides helping out when he can with brew and farm stuff, he is taking our excess eggs and veggies home to preserve them in yummy home made pickled treats. His Worcestershire style eggs are better than anything anyone has ever tried to get you to eat over a bar bet, these pickled eggs are actually great! They go well with salads too if you are looking for a hard boiled egg, but don’t want to wait.
Phil came to the bay area for the technical work, like most people around the bay, but he has also done some interesting side work. He has been a HomeBrewer, sold eggs from his own farm to his co-workers, and he loves to cook. He is one of the many people who came to volunteer while unemployed and has since gotten employed. He still comes back to dig and he is still welcome when we brew.
>Previous Aviary Ambassador, Cindy
She got a Job! She still wants a better paying one so we will leave this – Replace this paragraph with your company name and link: If you are looking for a published researcher (Psychology, Statistics, Computer Science) who is good with data, (extrapolate, model, approximate – you name it)…give Cindy a job! While the laws of working in the United States are waiting for a company willing to offer a H1B visa , Cindy will will be visiting our chickens on a weekly basis. While we are talking about laws, skip to the next paragraph if you are not a lawyer: Cindy is not a Staff or Volunteer, she is just a guest at our farm who happens to do many acts of kindness without any payment; all eggs, veggies and beer she gets/drinks are gifts not payment.
We couldn’t stop Cindy from helping out at the farm. Each week Cindy came to the farm she cleaned out all the straw/manure from the chicken coop, filled all three watering tanks, and did general cleanup/health inspections.
Cindy didn’t stop at just the chickens. She helped out where ever needed that day: seed gathering/planting, gathering/spreading mulch…
>Renaissance Man, Peeler
Peeler came to the Farm already trained at the Culinary Institute of America. He has had experience making the following things: various styles of bread, pastries, cookies, tarts, cakes, chocolates and confections, pies(galettes, empanada, etc.), custards, mousse, ice cream, granita and other frozen desserts, etc. His most popular item at the Farm so far has been his Spent Grain Graham Crackers! Did we mention that he has brewed up over 20 batches of his own beer?
Urban Foraging is a hobby for Peeler that he would gladly share with everyone! He has a knack for spotting edible plants, and is not shy about knocking on doors and asking if he can harvest what most people waste.
This is not the first Farm for Peeler, nor will it be his last. He has a long resume of Farm work including: compost, forming rows, starting seedling, transplanting, watering, fertilizing, feeding/maintaining chickens, building a fence for their coop, harvest, and of course cooking and eating.
Peeler was spotted taking beer notes at a bar by a beer aficionado/writer and now helps publish recipes using spent grains. What will this Renascence Man do next?
Kan came to our farm back in the good old free eggs for everyone days; however, it wasn’t the eggs. Eggs are more of a treat than a diet for her; Kan came to our farm because of our mission statements: She believes in ethical treatment of life and education to our community about all life.
Besides the Farm, she also helps the Audubon and local schools with environmental education right out in our own parks! She holds degrees in Environmental Compliance/Pollution Prevention, Energy Management/Climate Policy and will soon have another one in Environmental Stewardship and Biodiversity Specialist. Let’s not forget that she has been helping our community since she was in high school: the FUHSD Board of Trustees gave her their Community Service Award! The list goes on…U. S. Geological Survey, Teacher Assistant, Lab Assistant , University Of San Francisco, Good Samaritan Hospital…
As a viticulturist, Kan is more than just the grower of the grapes who amended and sculpted our grape mound . She owned the DNA for our vine before it came to our farm. Our Thompson Seedless Grape vine was started by Kan with a cutting from her own vine.
>Compost Master, Court
Court has done something for the better for the common good of all at each of these locations! Field studies of native plants, presented a talk at a symposium titled: How to Keep Wrangle St. Elise National Park “Wild.”, organized a “Global Youth Service Day”, raising $4,000 for an African non-profit, and now he comes to us to help out!
With a wheelbarrow Court moved an entire years worth of compost in less than an hour! While compost may be far from his bachelors in Geography he did get a minor in sustainability while at the University of Denver. We welcome his input on topics of hillside farming but Court is looking for a job that utilizes his skills in creating Geo-Databases; digitizing analog to digital maps – contours, rivers, buildings and roads creating attributes fields; creating contour lines, DEM data; 3D display; excel files to Arc Map layers; Urban Geography; GIS; Remote Sensing; Advanced Remote Sensing; Cartography; Economic Geography; Geographic Statistics; & Transportation Geography. Let us know if you have a great job for him!
>Chicken Manager, Jessica
Almost everyone knows somebody who will dog/cat sit. Do you know someone who will chicken sit? Jessica even has references for her years of remote chicken care! Besides loving and caring for other people’s flocks, Jessica has been a backyard chicken keeper for over 3 years (last tending a flock of Ameraucanas). Birds of a feather flock together; she gets together with other chicken enthusiasts at their Yahoo Group meetings, SVChickens. She has given a short course called “Chicken 101″ for a veterinary technician program! Like most people in the Bay Area, Jessica has worked high tech (BS Electrical Engineering, MBA, Product Manager…). Also like most people, she has a deep love of gardening! She’s been hooked since her kindergarten class sprouted seeds in cotton-filled cups!
Jessica does more than the weekly chicken routine around our Farm, she innovates for safer health! When she found signs of algae, she came up with the eradication game plan all on her own! Our Barred Rocks are lucky to have such a knowledgeable lady! She is quick with her chicken chores and loves to help in the garden or sip Ginger Ale with the rest of the crew.
>Hop Yard Manager, Mark
Mark is not your normal 7th grade math teacher. Sure he did normal things a teacher would do before teaching: while earning his bachelors in biology he led 917 students in an effort to change the health policy, studied towards a masters at Santa Clara University, four years of substitute teaching…And sure he teaches a few other subjects that are cooler than math…but…
If only our crotchety old 7th grade math teacher was like Mark! She would have been a lot cooler had she been a home brewer for three years and won an award for one of her beers!
Mark won “Best in Flight IPA” at the Santa Cruz County Fair! His secret ingredient? His home grown fresh hops! He wet-hopped (in the boil) & wet-dry-hopped (in the secondary fermenter) with fresh cones of Chinook and Willamette that grow up the side of his house! With a resume like that, Mark will be managing our expanding Hop Yard! It’s only icing on the cake that he attended the beer brewing course at UC Davis with Dr Bamforth (Professor of Malting and Brewing!).
His first day at the Farm, he did all the listed chores – then cleared 1,000 square feet of brush covered land…all before sunset! His second day, he helped carve a new trail. His third visit, he surveyed the new Hop Yard area and helped with brewing…and on the seventh day – he rested.
>Steward of the Land, Dave West
Dave had always dreamed of working at NASA and helping humans colonize Mars. It was his life’s goal when he dove into aerospace. We might mess up Earth someday and it would be good to have some kind of “arc” of DNA on Mars. Despite terraforming taking 2,000 years, thus forcing early settlers under some kind of “bio domes”. It became important for Dave to understand what was needed for humans and all of their necessary symbiotic partners to sustain themselves. Deep down he was always a nature loving hippie!
Every job he was offered in the aerospace world involved war. His graduate adviser informed him, “the inventor of the laser was hailed as a mad man bent on hurting the world. Now look what lasers do for us: DVD, CD, Laser-eye-surgery, Laser-any-surgery, fiber optics…” In the end Dave wasn’t happy working on war efforts. It takes two to tango, so he opted out and focused on two things that are important for everyone in his community: Food and Education.
Dave grew up on the land being farmed. His father raised chickens in the same coop when he was a kid (yes, the coop is that old). He caught the “wet” egg right out of a hen when he was four years old and still remembers the event. He helped his grandfather water the corn and tomatoes and even grew his own garden plots with herbs and flowers.
Brief Resume of Experience:
- 1 year leading the troop as Senior Patrol Leader (Eagle scout with local troop 494)
- 2 years Night Manager for Togos in Cupertino between the ages of 16-18
- 3 years Research/Design: Lockheed Martin, US Air Force, Boeing/NASA, Morelli & Melvin Sailboat
- 1 year starting a company; building up to 4 permanent employees and moving to a larger location. Sold company share to his partner and sailed away…
- 7 months sailing a catamaran circumnavigating the globe as First Mate(translator/cook/new crew trainer/night watch/holding the helm in storms/tasting every beer under the sun) “Gin’s Tonic” ISBN: 9789881772435
- 1 year teaching Advanced Sailing & Thermodynamics Classes for University of California, Irvine
- 1 year managing 4 undergrads developing a new materials testing lab while running experiments for Boeing/NASA
- 2 years management consulting: Army, Navy, Siemens (Germany), Emco Cables (Colombia), NASA,…
- 2 years working the land, helping people walk again, giving tours, consulting homesteaders, leading some of the best picnics you have ever seen, rain making for charities, leading volunteers and volunteer managers at Hollyhill Hummingbird Sustainable Farm!