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Shanghai Biofarm

After taking my students on a field trip to the Shanghai Biofarm last month I knew I had to return with Isla. A few days later, our sweet friends, Alice, Dennis and Lorelai, joined us for the morning at the farm and we had such a wonderful time! We toured the well-tended facilities, picked vegetables, played in the pumpkin tunnel, enjoyed a delicious organic lunch, and fed the animals- a major highlight for Isla.

Biofarm001The Shanghai Biofarm first opened in 2004. They have steadily expanded their facilities and grow organic produce without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. They instead rely upon a variety of natural solutions to keep their plants healthy and pests at bay, such as planting marigolds around the perimeters of their green houses to repel insects and creating natural fertilizer from compost and manure. In addition to providing a wide range of non-genetically modified products for purchase, they host a variety of educational classes and activities for both adults and children. Shanghai friends, I cannot recommend this lovely place enough! It is a great spot to spend a peaceful afternoon and escape the hustle (and smog) of the city.Biofarm002Biofarm003Biofarm004Biofarm005Biofarm006Biofarm007The vegetables available for picking vary by season. Our first stop was to pick garlic chives.Biofarm008Isla was far more interested in picking up rocks and dirt clods.Biofarm009Isaac eventually persuaded her to help with the chive harvesting.Biofarm010Biofarm011Biofarm012Biofarm013Biofarm014Biofarm015Biofarm016We moved on to some larger (and warmer!) green houses to pick spinach and lettuce.Biofarm017Biofarm018Biofarm019Biofarm020Biofarm021Biofarm022Biofarm023Biofarm024Biofarm025Biofarm026Isla was so proud of her romaine! She carried it around and showed everyone.Biofarm027Lorelai was in charge of holding on to the beetroot greens to feed the animals.Biofarm028Biofarm029Biofarm030I was so excited to show Isla the pumpkin tunnel, as it was just the right size for her to explore. The weight of the vines began to collapse the far end of the tunnel, which was a surprise, as I had just walked through it with my class three days earlier. Luckily the front of the tunnel remained open so we could take the girls in to check it out.Biofarm031Once again, dirt clods trumped everything else.Biofarm032Biofarm033Biofarm034Biofarm035Biofarm036Biofarm037Biofarm038Biofarm039We took a break after all our picking and pumpkin tunnel playing and had lunch at the cafe. All of the vegetables were harvested from the farm. We started with a refreshing green salad. We also enjoyed a delicious mushroom rice dish, and a Japanese style pork tenderloin with veggies.Biofarm040After lunch we stopped off to visit the animals. The farm cares for the animals in exchange for their assistance in natural fertilizer production. They are quite a hit with all of the guests too!Biofarm041Isla was a little intimidated by Molly the pig…Biofarm042Biofarm043She did, however, LOVE feeding the goats!Biofarm044Biofarm045She made fast friends with Rasheed, and fed him all the greens she could hold. His lips occasionally brushed her fingers as he nibbled and Isla would enthusiastically squeal, “Kiss! Kiss!”Biofarm046Biofarm047Biofarm048Biofarm049Biofarm050Biofarm051Biofarm052Biofarm053Biofarm054Biofarm055Biofarm056Biofarm057Biofarm058Biofarm059Biofarm060Biofarm061

Portrait a Week: 24 of 52

PortraitAWeek_0024Look who is dressing herself! Never mind the fact that she raided the laundry basket and is wearing daddy’s boxer briefs as a scarf!

Portrait a Week: 23 of 52

PortraitAWeek_0023Isla joyfully mastering this balancing act at the park was the sweetest distraction from the sadness of the movers packing our final belongings into the container. It is so exciting to witness our big girl gain confidence and learn new skills each day!

Where Did May Go?

How, how, how is it June already? Seriously. The spring is flying by, and here we find ourselves at the threshold of summer… a move home… a new career… a complete change in life, really. My head spins just thinking about it. We have been talking to Isla about our move. We tell her how we will fly home to America and see all our friends and family. Every day she says, “I-ya go to airport.” and “I-ya fly big unpane soon.”  She then proceeds to rattle off names of our family and friends back in Oregon (including our dog, Bella). The movers come tomorrow and there are only 18 days until we board that plane. Crazy! So, before we dive headfirst into a new season, both literally and figuratively, here are a few favorites from our final spring in Shanghai…

 May_0001May_0002The weather has been very lovely and mild this spring. Thankfully, it was just cool enough to keep the mosquitoes at bay until mid-May, so we were able to enjoy a lot of time in our backyard. Our sweet girl was a prime target for the nasty bugs, and got a few big bites on her face. She pointed them out to everyone. With a stern face, she would somberly explain, “skeeto bite.”May_0004May_0003Isla’s first pony tail! It was Daddy’s first pony tail too- well done, Daddy!May_0013The birds made quick work of our cherries. The fruit barely had time to ripen before they were plucked from the trees. Unlike the fleeting cherries, the birds have stuck around. Unfortunately, they have decided that waking Isla every morning between 4:45 and 5:15 is their new calling in life.May_0006May_0005May_0007May_0008May_0009“Where’s I-ya?” We play this game A LOT. Isla is a patient and quiet little hider too!May_0010May_0011May_0012May_0014May_0015May_0016Isla’s passion for drawing continues to grow and she is now making circles, in addition to lots of bold scribbles and straight lines. She identifies her crayon marks now (water, fire, cat, Auntie Money) and even points out the same lines days later, and reminds us of what she drew.May_0017May_0018May_0019May_0024May_0020More than anything our little explorer loves to be “ow-side.”May_0023May_0021May_0022May_0025May_0027May_0026May_0028May_0029We have been letting Isla paint over the top of her crayon sketches with watercolor and the resulting paintings are really beautiful!May_0030May_0031Isla is further developing her yoga skills, and asks to do “yogo” every day. I bought her a kid-sized yoga mat and cannot wait to show it to her when we get home to Oregon.May_0032At some point during the past month Isla developed a passion for shoes. Each morning she rummages through the shoe basket near the front door, collects as many of her shoes as she can carry and parades them through the house. This kid. She cracks us up.May_0033

Jan Crocker LaRocca - June 4, 2015 - 1:23 pm

Sending lots of love your way as you approach this big, bittersweet moment in your life. Just keep looking forward with the past safely in your hearts. It’s going to be a fun new chapter in your journey and this Nana, for one, is excitedly awaiting your arrival. Love you three. Xoxoxo

Leanne DeHart Reed - June 4, 2015 - 1:56 pm

Jan Crocker LaRocca, your granddaughter is so darn cute! Bet you cannot wait!!

Karen Minton - June 5, 2015 - 3:28 am

Thank you God for new grandchildren…….My heart is just bubbling over. These new grandmas are so cute too! ! !