17 Aug 2011, 10:46pm
leave a comment

mullein

*

i took those photos at the farm, but i’m in berkeley at the moment. headed back to marin tomorrow for just five more nights before i move here for keeps. lots to think about that, of course, and maybe i’ll do all that thinkin’ once i’ve secured a job and moved through this heady and heavy transition. in the meantime, here’s what our bedroom window here in berkeley looks like at the moment:

and here’s two windows (well, a window and a door) that i helped trim, in the bunkhouse at the farm:

17 Aug 2011, 4:53pm
leave a comment

four years ago yesterday

i started the blog before this one (hah).

august 16th, 2007—

I work for a bike shop. Kind of. I work for a dot com that sells bike parts and accessories. I pack boxes and sometimes write copy. Since I graduated, it’s become less a throwaway summer job I bitch about and more a job I plan to hold for awhile and am trying to take seriously and maybe even enjoy. So I got a new bike for my 22nd birthday, in July. I started feeling more and more guilty about the environmental (and monetary) cost of driving ten miles each way to work every day, and last week I became a bike commuter. I mean, I didn’t do perfectly. I biked three days out of five. For the week as a whole, my bike miles were about even with my car miles. Could be better, but could be way worse. And I surprised myself by actually really, really enjoying the ride, even though it meant leaving my house at seven in the morning to get to work on time. I mean, I already knew that the freeway during rush hour kinda sucks, but I had no idea how many beautiful things I’d see just by slowing down and taking residential streets. Trees full of windchimes, cats asleep on front steps, other cyclists on their own way to work… I’m a convert. I fantasize about selling my car. I read bike culture and green living blogs when I should be writing copy.

Yesterday I rode my bike over every bridge across the Willamette in Portland as part of the 12th annual Providence Bridge Pedal. My dad and my brother, spandex-clad and riding sleek carbon and titanium bikes, came down from up north to ride with me. I got downtown a little before they did and hung around near the fountain counting kinds of bikes: full-suspension mountain bikes, tandems, trail-a-bikes, recumbent bikes, vintage road bikes… I was just thinking to myself, “no beach cruisers yet,” when one rode by. Later I saw a tandem beach cruiser–I swear. Also unicyclists!

Despite–-or because of–-the thick crowds of cyclists, I was in high spirits pretty much the whole time. After five or six bridges, I was getting a little tuckered out, but it was nothing a banana and a short breather couldn’t take care of. At the bottom of the ascent up to the St. Johns, I groaned and muttered about having to walk it. My dad said, “just get in your easiest gear and take it slow.” So I grannied it up past, among other things, a… uh… whatever the word is for a bike that seats three people. And I made it all the way up without getting off my bike. In fact, I only ever got off my bike when crowds made it impossible not to (like before the Ross Island Bridge). Or when free food beckoned.

You know, and a couple hundred meters from the finish, when I went over some MAX tracks at a bad angle and wiped out. I landed pretty hard on my right side. Mostly my elbow. After a few moments of embarrassed sobbing, I got back on my bike and rode through the finish one-armed. Then we tried to find a first aid station so I could get some ice and maybe a sling. I went through a couple cycles of calm and tears while volunteers pointed vaguely and mumbled that, well, they weren’t actually sure where the first aid station was… Eventually a cop called an EMT for me, which I guess was a first, but “get rescued by ambulance” isn’t on most people’s “to do before I die” list, I think. Anyway I got an ice pack, a triangle bandage sling, and assurance that my arm probably wasn’t broken. Dad biked seven miles to the hotel he and Scott (my brother) were staying at to retrieve my brother’s car, then came back downtown to pick me up and take me home.

I had preexisting plans to go to the coast with some friends and wasn’t about to let a stupid fall mess that up, so I enlisted my ex-boyfriend to drive my car (manual transmission–-hard to drive stickshift one-armed), and four of us piled in, with a fifth following on his motorcycle, and we headed off towards Seaside with blankets and beer.

It rained pretty much the whole way, but we weren’t tempted to turn around. We’re Pacific Northwesterners; we can deal with a little wet. We listened to music and talked about relationships and people and all that. My friend Brook said something about being hopeful and idealistic, and I said, “I guess I’m going through a cynical period lately.” Maybe. In any case, as we approached Seaside, the rain cleared. It was warm, if not sunny. The beach was crowded with volleyball players-–there was a tournament on. We watched for awhile, ate some mediocre yakisoba noodles, talked some more. As the evening cooled, we walked along the beach until finally we found a spot below a little ridge, away from the lights of downtown, to lay down our blankets.

As the sun set, the clouds turned pink and then, miraculously, began to disappear. The sky darkened, stars appeared–-more then any of us had seen in ages. A while later, we could see the Milky Way. We pointed out the constellations we pretended to recognize, and we watched for the Perseids.

Then we went skinny dipping in the Pacific Ocean under the sky full of shooting stars. When we were waist-deep in water, I held hands with a friend and we fell backwards together into the water. We laughed and yelped and splashed, then dried off as best as we could and huddled together between our blankets for warmth. More meteors. One of those nights of beauty. I’d taken some Vicodin (left over from an ear infection earlier this summer) for my aches and passed out on the way home. Fell into bed. Woke up this morning and reluctantly (and carefully) drove into work, where I spent four hours printing shipping labels ’cause I couldn’t really actually help out much with shipping. Thing is, I won’t be perfect. I’ll fuck up, things’ll happen, I’ll drive, or I’ll fall, I’ll ache (are you getting that I’m maybe moving into figurative territory here?), but then things will be beautiful. Mostly when you keep driving even when it’s raining. Except for the driving part. Do you know what I mean? I’m not sure I do. That’s what I’m here to figure out.

Welcome to my blog; here’s what I’m (trying to be) about:

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
–Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

13 Aug 2011, 7:47pm
1 comment

growin’

can anyone identify this flower for me? [edit: it's scabiosa. thanks, mom!]

the bees like it.

i like it.

*

in the bunkhouse—the walls are plastered, the windows are trimmed (photos to come—i helped!), and soupy is just about finished with the ceiling.

*

hell yeah.

*

hell yeah! the chocolate ones were vegan. these were made (along with other tasty things) for flo and jason’s birthday celebration last week.

*

august is halfway gone and really i am halfway outta here. i am applying for jobs and i have a shelf full of clothes in berkeley and a container garden on the balcony. i took these photos in my little container garden this week—

kale volunteers sharing a pot with a pepper plant. a bonus of making and recycling our own potting soil!

cayenne pepper!

*

cosmos—

*

p.s. i keep stumbling across bicycle touring blogs while (i swear) looking for other things. oooh, i am travel-bug-bitten. i guess i am one-third here, one-third in berkeley, and one-third ON THE ROAD. transitioning. yup.

2 Aug 2011, 10:11pm
2 comments

three flower crowns

that i made today.

1.

2. (also for ashley; bigger.)

3.

1 Aug 2011, 11:26pm
leave a comment

sacred questions

a couple of weeks ago i headed into the greenhouse to sift some compost (we use on-site sifted compost and soil, plus perlite and sand, to make our own potting and seeding mixes). when i lifted the lid of the almost-empty sifted compost bin, i was startled to find a small wood rat hanging out at the bottom. i ran back to the bunkhouse to report my findings. “what should i do with it?” i asked. “kill it” was the answer, of course. it was probably the culprit who’d been sabotaging newly-seeded trays of veggies in the greenhouse. i couldn’t bring myself to do it. i scooped it up in a yogurt container and walked down through the farm to the driveway, where i let it go in the weeds at the edge of the woods. fox food, maybe.

later that day, or maybe the next day, i pulled back the shower curtain in the bathhouse to find another wood rat in the tub. this time i put it in a bucket and, feeling sort of silly about the rat i’d let go, gave it to the others to, well, do with as they saw fit. i.e. kill it. then i took a shower. i found out later that flo gave the rat to the chickens (theoretically they’ll kill and eat small rodents), but they weren’t particularly interested and it got away easily. while i was drying off from my shower, i watched another rat walk across the roof of the bathhouse (it’s translucent plastic greenhouse material) and climb down the jasmine plant growing inside and outside at the corner. someone else found another rat, maybe the one i saw on the roof, in the tub the next day. i’m not sure what happened to that one.

soupy was cleaning out her toolshed when she found a huge elaborate wood rat nest behind some boxes on a high shelf. she cleared it out, and the next day it was almost completely rebuilt. traps were set, rats were killed. today she found a half dozen tiny babies, eyes still closed, possibly or probably mostly dead, almost certainly orphaned. they were beautiful, fragile, and brave—or, really, too young to know they were being brave in crawling over our fingers and opening their little mouths to whatever we might offer them. there was nothing to do but kill them. we talked a little bit about whether we should give them to the chickens or the foxes who live under james and penny’s porch, to make their death a little less useless or wasteful, or whether we should give them the quickest and least painful death we could.

after a little while it was just soupy and i sitting with them. i said that i wanted to say a prayer or something, and soupy talked quite eloquently about how she was thankful for the opportunity to confront death, and that she hoped that maybe by the time she was approaching her own death, she would have found the wisdom to know what to do and how to feel in situations like this. i said i wished they might know or sense our compassion for them, and then soupy drowned them in the pond.

i do not know what is right. i can’t really decide if it’s radically egalitarian to imagine that we as human beings can live without contributing directly to the suffering of other animals, or foolish and unrealistic. this sacred question is one of the blessings i didn’t expect to receive in my time here on the farm. i carry it with me.

*

(other blessings, expected and un-)

flowers (and people!)

food (so much abundance i mostly take it for granted and don’t photograph it!)

fauna

*

me & my sweetheart
(by the way)
(so happy to have and be a partner)
(so grateful for the lessons i learned with past lovers, and for the patience A & i have had with each other and the lessons we have learned together)
(just sayin’)