So yeah Mom, I only shower Monday and Thursdays now, but it rained pretty hard on Wednesday and walking home from work I got soaked...I mean down to my underwear drenched so I'm thinking it counts, does my boyfriend think it counts? I don't know he's out of town.
But back to walking home, so I was on the phone with my roommate (while staying alert and aware of my surroundings and no of course it wasn't past midnight) and I passed by this large lump of a man who I had to pause and check out to make sure he was breathing. I wasn't sure if he was dead and it was one of those moments where you get to feel absolutely awful about yourself. I mean do I linger? Do I nudge him? Although very buff from my farm experience I still don't think the general public would think I could beat them up, so if this man was scary or aggressive I would be attacked and this post would be called something like "Don't wake a homeless man after midnight". I wanted to leave him the watermelon I had taken from the store (because we throw it out at the end of the night...because apparently it doesn't last in the fridge or some shit) but I didn't...It was like that Louie C.K. stand up, he talks about feeling good about himself for THINKING about giving up his first class seat to a uniformed officer whenever he flies but he never actually offers his seat. For the past few weeks I have come across situations where I could have done nice, helpful, good Samaritan things and haven't because it is inconvenient. And plagued with guilt I type this post. I mean honestly it is as simple as helping an old man walk down the stairs of the El; I think people are afraid of people I know I am, even just of smiling at someone. I mean COME ON, it is pretty decent to get smiled at, you never get shot in the face for smiling at strangers when you make awkward eye contact, and if you do well then at least the last thing on your face is a smile. But for real, it feels a lot better to get smiled at when I walk to work downtown, there is always a slew of people and getting scowled at is just unpleasant.
I used to be one of those people too, I mean ask anyone I have a turned down mouth so if I am not smiling or actively engaging my face I look pissed off, or sad. Also I never smiled at people, because oh my gosh what if they thought I was weird, or what if they said hello... disastrous!
So moral of the story, probably don't wake up a homeless man. It would also have been strange to leave him a baggie of cut watermelon, although relatively harmless so that goes in the maybe column. BUT definitely smile because if nothing else you will brighten your own day.
Oh yeah and in regards to the title of this post, I'm showering today I promise, and possibly doing laundry; but in general I do shower less I also workout less so that's a trade off. Also I don't reuse underwear but all other things can totally be used like 3 times at least, although I wouldn't recommend smelling my socks. Conserve water, and smile.
Until we meet again,
-Honey roasted tofu and swiss
Most 21 year olds would find themselves stumbling around in the dark at 4am in a drunken stupor, coming home to go to bed, this past June I found myself stumbling around trying to feed a goat...Now there is no goat. No more bitch slappin beetles, no more leggy friends in the shower, no more sweating out my eyeballs. I mean am I expected to shower now? Brush my hair? PUT ON MAKEUP? Can I not eat 500000 calories because I no longer workout for 11hrs a day? Why is there not kale growing on my porch in Rogers Park? Since when is getting off of work early getting off after 6.5 hours?
I have to starting lifting shit so I can sustain my big farm muscles, maybe I'll pick some fights on the Redline (don't worry mom I won't, I wouldn't want any thugs to lose their street cred getting beat up by a "little" blonde girl.) This morning I slept until 10am, I gotta get my life together man- laying around until 10am!?! Now it is almost 1pm and the most physical thing I have done is chew.
Returning to work at Pinkberry was weird, I now appreciate the wonderful organic fruit I picked for endless hours, and the sprayed pile of crap we serve on our yogurt is no comparison to the big juicy blueberries I got to savor out in the field. I want to throw something at the customers who complain about the pineapple being mealy WE ARE FLYING THEM FROM TIMBUKTOO SO YOU CAN TOP YOUR STUPID FAT FREE CUP OF SUGAR...I don't think that my manager would appreciate that though. Although yesterday I did have a customer come in and get a cone, and she noticed her stamp card was almost full, which means she can get a free small with toppings. She inquired if she could get a cone vs a cup, I said no because the whole free small thing causes a great deal of controversy and there are NO SUBSTITUTIONS, even though a cone is actually cheaper than a small. I said we had a waffle cookie she could put in it for the coney aspect; she nicely commented that it wasn't about the toppings it was saving the cup for you know the planet's sake. I immediately fell in love. Also I said that if she got me as a server I would make an exception, because honestly the amount of waste we produce there hurts my soul so rock on cone woman. Rock. On.
Alright, well I think I will keep my eyes and ears open for any volunteer opportunities around the city, because I think I might be into this whole environmental movement? Also coincidentally I think I can get away with not showering or putting on makeup because I'm saving water, and the environmental...that totally works, right?
Until we meet again,
- Roasted Squash and Bleu Cheese on Croissant
So spiders in my shower, bed, floor, food...yes food, I can deal with...giant centipedes crawling up my bathroom wall, and hanging out in my sink, no big deal. BUT a beetle chillin in my pants, correction: wriggling around in my UNDERWEAR, well folks that is where I draw the line. THERE IS A LINE, you cross it you die, a good rule for life too ladies.
So, the scene is bright, HOT, I mean sweltering: my eyes are swimming in a waterfall of sweat cascading from my lashes, and we are picking berries. We started our day at 5am, which means I started my day at 4am because of animal chores. Why 5? To beat the heat, and beetles who tend to be more active and ass holey when the sun comes out. We pick blueberries for about 3 hours, and move onto raspberries and as we are picking I reach out and get one that has been infested with ants, these angry ants upset that I disturbed their home take up residence on me. Great, I shake them off no problem and continue on with the picking. And then I feel a strange kind of something moving in my pants...in my underwear which honestly, to be frank when it is a billion degrees outside every inch of you is soaked in sweat so I thought maybe the sweaty underwear was just rubbing weird with the sweaty pants, also I didn't want to ahem, be indecent.
A few minutes pass and the feeling does not.
Ok, well I have already been pretty un lady like out here in the field so fuck it, I discretly pull aside the waste band of my pants and don't see anything...then I check the band of my underwear and there he is, the little devil struggling in the string of my underwear. You bastard. Didn't even take me out on a proper date, not even an offer of dinner. WHO DO THESE BEETLES THINK THEY ARE?!? What is this country coming to? Obama.
So I killed him, and as his body squished between my fingers I thanked God that this was my last day here on the farm. 9 hrs of straight picking, sweating, and beetle swearing, coupled with two hours of picking leaves off of basil and I was ready to leave...I did enjoy my time there. Really and truly, and I am sincerly grateful for the opprotunity and the woman who ran the farm, I mean she could have been an insane organic nudist farming woman, or worse a SUPER christian... but, she wasn't. Everyone was incredible, and lovely...except for those fuckin beetles, even the spiders had the decency to be in plain sight, an not try any funny buisness when I went after them with a shoe.
Well, I'll post a little reflective sandwich later, after the anger of the beetle incident has passed but until then...
-Spinach and Cheddar on Sesame
Today was the second day of 5am weeding with knives in the Aronia feild...my room mate asked me around 9am this morning if I felt alright because I looked "tired" code for you look like a sloppy piece of composted animal waste. I responded with a polite thank you, I am tired and in an attempt to conserve energy I will not be smiling for the rest of the morning...people seemed to think that was a joke. I never joke while weeding with knives.
Why weed with a knife you might ask? Because the ground is hard, clay-ey, and very VERY dry, this makes for an excellent workout if your goal is scary Madonna arms...my goal is not scary Madonna arms, but I don't think my boss would have taken that as a valid excuse to sit back and relax in the 102 degree heat.
Sarcasm aside, it wasn't all that bad; we took breaks every hour to down some water and during a stroke of genius and heat I thought of what my step dad told me to do: put a wet cloth underneath my hat to keep me cool. Now, I didn't have a cloth but I do have some absorbent hair, so I poured a good amount of water over my head and plopped back on my hat. No one else followed my lead of drench yourself with water, and I'm sure no one else felt as awesome as I did either so Na Na Na boo boo.
Today we weeded with two ladies who volunteered to help out just because they rock. And I mean like for real these women were great, they were both over 50, one was from Poland, and the other one was like a character on a sitcom that you LOVE. The second woman, Mary was really inspiring, she used to be a computer programmer and is going back to school in the Fall for public health. We were talking about why she was pursuing another degree/field/how long it would take to complete her program and she delved into why she chose to change her career and explore new opportunities. She had been getting more and more involved in the organic movement and reading up on chemical farming, and the current climate crises we have gotten ourselves into, and she said she just got to a point where she couldn't stay stagnant. She wanted to apply herself, and she was interested in public health, and food education, so why not? She said she probably won't be completely done with school until she is about 64, and then she followed that up with, "I think after that I have about 10 good years of work left." And just looking at her, and her determination I felt like she probably had 20 good work years left! Meeting someone like that is really powerful, because here I am having breakdowns about not knowing what path to pursue, or where I want to "end up" but why do I have to "end up" anywhere? I don't think I need a concrete plan or an answer to "where do you see yourself in 10 years?"
In 10 years we might not have access to clean water, how bout we focus on that since I'm 100% sure that access to clean water will be part of my 10 year plan, and it should be part of yours as well!
Maybe I won't save the world, or be a famous actress, or writer, but it is comforting to know that no matter what I choose I can choose again, and again and for the first time I kind of like that I have so many interests, it isn't overwhelming, its endless possibility.
Just an update since I think I may have been a tad cranky in the last post. It is not all bad, although beetle patrol was a little trying tonight, we do get some perks being on the farm such as: fresh eggs, fresh veggies, a nice hand tan, some great tea, an overwhelming sense of superiority over all others...to name a few.
But back to beetles....note to self- wear a hat next time even if it is not sunny out the beetles will fly into your hair, get caught, and leave you with a feeling you will never be clean again.
On a brighter note, I felt like such a beetle bad ass I got in from doing animal chores, had to shower the sense of bugs crawling on me off and encountered two giant spiders that I promptly stepped on without any funny business of screaming, squealing, or squirming.
Also my boss just brought down pesto she made from the basil we picked today...I might not forever be a farm girl, but I value my time here, and always enjoy free food!
- A happier potato wrap
It is my last week here, phew. Almost survived.
Perhaps I am not in the greatest of moods to be blogging, although I mean lets face it- using "blog" as a verb just makes me sad in general. It makes me picture a rich girl with too many shoes traveling Paris who feels like every thought she has is GOLD, or a fat hairy man in his mom's basement drinking orange pop and eating 5 day old pizza who needs to blog to maintain a connection to the outside world...I am neither of these people. I am a sweaty girl, who ate too much popcorn on a farm in Eureka, IL where the holes don't lead to Wonderland but instead lead to bruises.
Farm work is hard. I bet you are thinking to yourself, "Um DUH, are you just figuring this out you silly little 21 yr old you" but yes everyday I discover new intricacies that affirm my belief I will not be an organic farmer, and also strengthen my respect for those that do farm.
SO the other day when it was 10 gillion degrees outside and I had sweat through every fiber of clothes all the way down to my bra straps, we were going to go water the orchard. Although the farm is small, the orchard is in the back and the hose doesn't stretch, so instead we fill up a truck load of buckets and water each tree by hand. Easy enough. I grab the first bucket of water off the truck and use all of my muscles to carry said bucket of what feels like liquid bricks to a very thirsty baby plum tree. After about 2 buckets I am tired, and now my eyelids are dripping with sweat. I grab the third bucket and have to hug it because there is no handle, I waddle quickly over to the tree and as I am hurrying I don't see one of the many holes the dogs have dug and my foot falls in and CRASH, BAM, BOOM, WHOOSH goes the water and kersplat goes my face. Instead of watering the tree I have successfully watered myself, which actually took care of all the sweat and since I merely battered up my leg and didn't break my ankle I am going to call this one a win win. Later looking up at a tree while doing beetle patrol a Japanese devil got to second with me, I'm going to call that one a win lose...
Besides some insect advances, and water mishaps, oh and driving to Evanston Farmer's market at 2am when all the hooligans are driving back from the bars it has been pretty standard here in Ronald Reagan land. Tomorrow we are starting work at 5am to weed in the Aronia field with knives...yeah, before sunrise+lack of sleep+not enough coffee in the world+knife... perhaps I'll be more interesting after tomorrow, hopefully not!
Oops I've gotten lazy, sorry folks...from the lack of wit in the title you should prepare yourself for a rather dull post. Why? Perhaps because it is over 100 degrees out, perhaps because I am rethinking the stale crackers and peanut butter I consumed for lunch, or perhaps because life on the farm has been pretty uneventful. (Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, lalalalalalala LA...it's a song, I promise. I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell)
ALIGHT lets get this party started! SO, My boss went out on an adventure earlier this week to pick up organic peaches for her CSA, and she came back with a LOT I mean a ton, and we sorted through them and made trays of "rejects" vs "good" and even the good ones had some significant damage, but it was dry damage, not mushy damage. Because guess what guys, fruit isn't perfect, it isn't meant to be. We eat these strawberries the size of our heads in October, and it is LUDICROUS. We have grown accustomed to perfect food, and I include myself in this "we"; as I sort through the peaches some of them that were "good" I thought looked terrifying with dried up brown nicks. One peach with some fishy damage I showed to my boss who responded with, " Yeah that's fine, there's probably a worm at the pit somewhere, but that's OK". A WORM! And then I thought, well yeah, a worm and when you cut up the peach you find it and you throw that little bit away (or compost it!) and then you consume your non steroid, all natural, totally juicy and delightful peach.
This experience has opened my eyes to a lot of new things, and I consider myself a pretty open environmentally friendly gal, I mean come on, I AM a vegetarian of course! But in all seriousness, maybe this is just my young naive doe eyed blonde self coming out, I believe we can adapt and change our food system to one that is geared toward sustainability. "An old dog can't learn new tricks" is bullshit, and it is just a lazy excuse for people to not separate their plastics from the trash. And I might not be old, but I certainly have learned some new tricks. If last year you told me I would be squishing beetles between my fingers, wiping their guts on my shirt, and continuing on with my day...I would have laughed - hysterically. Last semester I was paralyzed standing on a chair and called my roommate on the phone to have her come out of her room to kill a centipede on the floor. Things you are forced to deal with, and adapt to end up becoming easier and easier.
Yesterday there was a giant, and I mean the size of a small golf ball with 8 legs spider in the shower. I stared it down, and it didn't spontaneously die, so I went to the kitchen put on my boots, stepped in the shower, yelled DIE, and squished it, this morning I did the same thing without the yelling for one on my wall. Now, yeah, I recognize revolutionizing the way we consume is a little more radical than me learning to kill spiders, but I think you get the point.
Oops lunch break is over, gotta go!
- Cream cheese and Peanut butter on wheat.
Well hello there,
Happy Sunday. Hope your weekend was as restful as mine! I got the morning off from animal chores and slept until 10! I know you're foaming at the mouth with jealousy. So what does a lazy farm girl do on a day off? Well she feels guilty for watching 4+ episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" and then decides to make a list of ways to improve her life! You know a relatively generic, "I am not contributing to anything right now" crisis kind of list.
Whats that? You want to see the list...well of course! And feel free to borrow/modify any items for your own personal benefit...except 9, number 9 is mine so back off! Thing to change, habits to curve, and impossible goals to strive for, break, and not get discouraged by:
Every morning or lunch read an article, about not shoes/sex/dieting, do this instead of frying your brain with a TV show you have basically memorized. I promise you can eat and read, stop pretending like you can't.
Listen to NPR while cooking, cleaning, and falling asleep...again as opposed to numbing your mind with TV.
If you absolutely must watch something, watch a documentary...lets face it there is a lot of things you can learn, and you will not learn them from watching Joey eating lasagna, or a meatball sub, or Rachel's God awful Thanksgiving dessert...well, you get the point.
Utilize your resources, buy things used, and no you do not need another pair of flip flops!
Turn off, and unplug electronics!
Only buy local fruits/veggies.
When you inevitably break goal 7, only buy what is in season.
Meet Aaron Sorkin and woo him into putting you on his new show "The Newsroom" also I would settle for just meeting him and mumbling something like, "I love you" while shaking his hand.
That is what I've got so far...Oh and in regards to 8, how do you know what is in season- Google it! Here's a list of what is in season now in the Midwest
(obtained from: http://www.chicagocooks.com/about/foodGuide.aspx) :
May-June: Radishes, Spinach, Lettuce, Arugula, Asparagus, Fennel, Mushrooms
Starting in June ending in various months:
Kale, Chard, Strawberries; and Broccoli; and Rhubarb; and Cauliflower (only June), Beets, Herbs, Cabbage, String Beans, Zucchini, Peas, and Squash
Starting in July:
Cucumbers, and Carrots (although carrots have been early up here at least due to our bizarre weather patterns this year)
Also Raspberries and Blueberries have been early on this farm due to the frost, and then other weird weather factors!
I find it discouraging to look at numbers, and listen to various environmentalists say we are terrible, and Americans, and suburbanites, and fatties have tied up our fate with doom. Instead I am going to chose to do what I can to learn, change, and live with myself in whatever capacity that makes me happy. Now does watching endless television make me happy? Sometimes, and so sometimes that is what I will take comfort in...but everyone gets a free pass on a lazy day and nobody's perfect.
Life on the farm involves many things, I thought I would never do: wake up at 4am to feed a goat, murder beetles with soapy water, use a pitchfork, and last but not least swear (sorry grandma) at a chicken repeatedly.
It all started at 5am, an hour earlier than usual in order to cover the blueberries from the creatures sent by the monarch of the north, needless to say I was not a happy farmer . We pick for about 7ish hours and then are given a break for lunch with the gleaming hope that maybe we won't get called back to work for the rest of the day! I do a little dance, eat a lot of peanut butter, and cue up to watch some hardcore Netflix. Then we are informed that we will be picking another row of raspberries at 5:15 that evening...I drag my almost permanently glued butt off my chair and put back on my very sweaty clothes. It was really not a big deal or source of contempt until 8:30pm came around and we were not yet done picking. Already late for animal chores by the time we were released I hurry to the basement, prepare the goat's bottle, and hustle over to the barn. Drink, drink, drink, feed, feed, feed, alright time to put the chickens to bed. As I approach the chicken's field I unhinge ad swing open the fence eyeing one lone hen just chilling out looking at the coup. Now, we are supposed to wait until all the chickens go to bed and then we can lock up the door to the coup and say our good nights and my boss said we shouldn't have to touch them to get them to bed. SO I wait, and wait, and wait, and call my mom to kill some time, and then the lovely, wonderful, delightful hen hops under the coup. She is now UNDER the coup versus IN the coup, insert a string of profanity here. I peer underneath and try soothing her out, with sweetness which quickly turns into "you dumb fucking chicken PLEASE go to bed, please you are so stupid". Both tactics are fruitless, and as I lay on my stomach peering at this animal I can't help but wish I wasn't a vegetarian because I would take such great satisfaction in eating this idiot bird.
I eventually go up to the house and tell my boss about the hen situation. She lets me know that the hen is probably sick and dying and then says, " I'll take care of it, if I can't get her in the coup I will put her in the barn and she might just die, so you may find a dead chicken in the morning."
Well...awesome, catholic guilt sets in and I feel terrible for not only swearing at this poor exhausted hen, but I also wished I could have eaten her! But the good news is that with catholic guilt comes heaven's reassurance, and I'm sure I can find some mention of a hen afterlife somewhere in that old leather bound Jesus thing.
PS. She isn't dead...yet. This evening for chores I had to poke her with a long branch to get her out from under the coup, but I did so while apologizing vs. spewing insults so I feel a tad bit better about myself and my character.
Can you tell by the titles I'm kinda a fan of the "Wizard of Oz"? Fun fact about me, I used to refer to the movie as Dorthy Gale when I was little, betcha didn't know Dorthy's last name off the top of your head, well I do so HA!
Sorry for the hostility that's what a long day capped off with some beetle duty and a run in with poison ivy will do to you. Oh? you want me to elaborate, well don't mind if I do:
It was a 6am harvest day, so after FREAKING OUT around 4am that I was late I went back to sleep and let my alarm wake me up at 5:20. Blah blah breakfast, coffee, sunscreen (yeah mom I wear it EVERYDAY), hat, action! In the field for another glorious day of raspberry picking. Our first row of raspberries was made even more fabulous by the array of picnic bugs that had set up shop inside about 1 out of 3 harvested. What are picnic bugs? Well, contrary to their name they are no picnic...Oh come on it wasn't that corny, laugh a little, humor me here I'm secretly an old man- I like to make "Dad jokes".
Any who, picnic bugs are long black bugs that burrow into the raspberry and hangout, and usually if they have gotten there recently we can just blow them out of the berry and salvage it for selling. Easy enough, but pretty time consuming, and very frustrating. Then after one measly row it is already 9:30am...yep over three hours with 6 pickers on one row- it's gonna be a long day.
We then move onto my favorite: black raspberries, which actually fight you when you pick them it is almost as discouraging as the bugs. AND THEN we move onto another variety of regular raspberries that have been invested by our favorite bug of all time (drum roll please) THE JAPANESE BEETLE! Super exciting, these puppies are shiny, black and green/blue and they destroy the leaves and berries and come in swarms. To kill them, you pick them up and squish them in between your fingers until you hear a crack. Yep I'm a bad ass I kill beetles with my bare hands, children tremble when I walk into a room, and women weep at my sheer strength no big deal.
So we make the genius decision of just working a long morning so theoretically we don't have to come back out after lunch. It is 95 degrees outside, my toenails are drenched with sweat, but it is 2pm and we are DONE. That's the perk of starting your day at 6am! However, as we make our way back to the house my boss asks us to come back out and trellis some cucumber melon plants later, I volunteer to just do it right away but am told I have to take a break...UGH I just KNOW if I come back out we are going to have to do more than just trellising. Sure enough as I am sitting out there, my boss's boyfriend comes out and asks me to do "beetle patrol" with him. Beetle patrol means going through all the bushes and some of the trees and whacking branches with beetles on them over a bucket of soapy water so they drown.
Beetle patrol also involves climbing underneath the netting placed around the rows of these plants so that you are trapped in with the beetles, and let me tell you they are not happy when you try to murder them. After they swarm all around me the first time I drop the F bomb, and then turn to Steve (names have been changed for confidentiality reasons or whatever) and say "Shit I swore...sorry?" He laughs and responds with "they won't hurt you or bite you or anything" UH yeah STEVE but it is not exactly a fairy tale having them fly out at you with vengeance while you are trapped in what they have claimed as their territory...it is terrifying and although I am a bad ass, I am also sometimes a 21 year old city girl.
Needless to say my first beetle patrol did not yield high results, but don't worry folks because we will be doing it from now on every morning!
Oh, and the poison ivy thing- no big deal, just while murdering some beetles we were by an area apparently overgrown with poison ivy, a fact Steve shared with me after several minutes, following it up with "you're probably allergic, we should just go inside now and you should wash up with warm water and soap."
I showered promptly, crisis averted.
- Chicken Salad Sandwich, hold the chicken
After doing some self required reading by Michael Pollan, I have acquired some feelings. I recommend you check this guy out, he has a website with all his articles posted, so there is no excuse of "I can't find them", I just told you how. Also I am sure you have all already heard of him, but I'm 21 and in no way educated on the environmental topic. The other day in the field my boss mentioned him prefacing it with, Oh and you know of Michael Pollan, right?...UM, no- BUT, I'm here to learn! So I googled, I found, I read.
One interesting point he brings up in his article "Farmer in Chief" is the legislation protecting wetlands... which I found fascinating since I just took a wetland ecology class! And recently I've been struggling with the fact that many farmlands in the Midwest are drained wetlands. The one I am currently on is located right by a river, and I asked if they knew if their land had been drained. My boss said they have found tiles on the property which means yeah, it was drained.
SO, recently there has been a movement to protect and restore one of our most valuable resources- wetlands. Now you may be thinking "yeah ok, wetlands you mean bug paradise swamp city?" Well shut up, because wetlands are very important and full fill many roles from filtering our water, to storing carbon. Pretty good stuff, not to mention they aren't too shabby to look at.
Anyway, Michael Pollan makes the point that farmland should be protected and treasured just as our dissapearing wetlands are, because; if we are going to continue to eat food we need to start changing the way we farm, but we are also going to need more farmers. More farmers means we need to protect already existing farmland from greedy developers and suburbanites who plop their subdivisions on quality land.
After reading this article, I realize that lands that were drained in the 1800's and 1900's that have become farms are not evil, and we can't forever mourn the loss of what once was centuries prior. They once were wetlands, but we can't change it all back. We can however respect our Earth and our soil in another way. We can farm organically, we can plant poly crops, and cover crops, and put an end to CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and we can make sure the farms we have aren't turned into three story mansions. Farmlands around here, are for the most part drained wetlands and if we are protecting our wetlands because of their value why then are we not protecting their not so evil younger sister farmland?
I think gradually we are learning that expansion is not the answer, bigger isn't always better, and we need to recognize we live in a community and what we do with our land, water, and resources effects our neighbors however broad that term may be. Now maybe we can't all sing kumbaya and sway, but we can at least be respectful.
My cousin once said people in their 20s are the worst because it is always all about them. It is a time in one's life where mostly your world centers around yourself- you don't normally have a family to provide for, and you generally have some parentals paying for your bills while you prance around at school. The more I read about America the more I feel like we are just a big ol' selfish 20 year old prancing around demanding Mommy and Daddy can't cut us off yet. Well guys, its time to grow up.
JEEZ, bet you thought you weren't going to be lectured...Where is all the bug humor? Don't worry it won't all be heavy lifting!
Thanks for sticking with me,
-Egg salad and cheese extra mayo
I survived a week, let's celebrate shall we?
Hmmm what should we do? Sleep a solid 9 hours, HELL FREAKIN' YES!
Aye am a parti animal guyz, PAR-TEA- AN-E-MAL, I also don't spell, that shit's for city folks.
So you may be wondering based on the title of this post, who is the poor bastard eating this crazed farm girl's shoe? Let me clue you in, it is a giant hand spider beast who I was forced to squash in order to use the bathroom. Now, anyone who knows anything about me knows I pee 500,000,000,0000 times a day and I am a nervous pee-er, which means I run the water while I pee because I don't like people hearing me, I close the door because I am a human, and I pee when I am in anxiety producing situations: like if I have an audition, a test, or a meal to eat soon. SO you can imagine my dismay when I run into the bathroom to find a bold little bastard of a spider just staring me down directly across from my sanctuary aka the toilet.
Well this ain't gonna work. If I can't have people hear me pee, I sure as hell won't be able to go with this bastard giving me the stink eye. (Full disclosure I am not using the term "bastard" correctly, I in fact have no previous knowledge of this spider's mother and do not know if he was hatched out of wedlock).
So needless to say I won that staring match, unless of course you consider going and getting a shoe to murder your competitor cheating...in which case I just won at life. HASHTAG farm life, EAT MY SHOE SUCKA.
Another farm moment came this morning when my room mate came out of the bathroom in a towel and said,
"I think we have a hot water problem"....And no the problem wasn't that we had too much hot water. Normally, I would have just not showered, but my mother was coming to visit today and it had been a solid 3 days without showering and my hair was now just molded into a ponytail shape without the elastic.
Ice cold shower because the water heater broke- check. I can do anything now, killed an eight legged monster, suffered through some serious ice flow, I've pretty much done all there is, right?
Ok, you caught me I haven't been posting everyday. It is Friday. Yesterday I was up at 5am to do animal chores, and we worked until 7pm...so Netflix looked more attractive and took less brain power than writing, plus I made a promise that I wanted to learn something each day to share with you, my oh so loyal readers (aka my mother, thanks mom!) and I haven't done any outside readings. I'm slackin'.
SO, what have you been up to? Oh please you go first I insist, we always talk about me...ALRIGHT I guess I'll start:
Yesterday was another harvesting morning, so we picked blueberries- which was a million times better than raspberries because blueberries are not out to get you. Blueberries are friendly, their vines don't have prickles and they don't bend and twine and hide from you, they are also less delicate and therefore don't break if you get too excited while picking them. So we are jollily picking blueberries and then we hear one of the dogs digging and making a raucous by a bush. Shortly after, we hear some squeaking, like she found some sort of toy, and she had! She had found many toys in the form of little baby bunnies. She destroyed them one by one, each helplessly squeaked before submitting to what sounded like a not so quick and quite painful death. My boss tried to call over the other dog, because she thought the other one would be a little more considerate with her killing- but she wanted nothing to do with the mass murder, and I understood turning down the invitation of looking at the dying bunnies I responded with,
"No thanks, I'm a vegetarian."
Now, I know this is a farm, and life on the farm involves some brutality, I mean the fight I had with the black raspberry bushes today was not a pretty sight my friend, but it was a little shocking to listen to some baby bunnies be torn to bits. In the end the rabbits would have eaten the berries and although it would make my job here easier if there were no berries, it would also make it non existent. I guess I still have a tougher coat of skin to grow, which would come in handy while fighting raspberries-
Day 2 of Farming:
It was a 6am day today, what is up sunlight? 6am start means 5:15 wake up to feed my loving caffeine addiction; it also means finding another large friend in my shower and responding like the true adult I am and closing the curtain.
We harvested berries... Admit it, you were picturing some frolicking in fields, and serious skipping with baskets, this however, is completely and utterly wrong. It is lots of squatting, reaching, bending, hot hot sunning, and fighting with thorns on raspberry plants. It was 6-12:30 of me feeling like I had stayed in the same exact spot finding new berries with each new leaf moved. It was fun!
Yeah, so then an inappropriate amount of food later, I returned to the field and my boss took me to another farm to get her bales of hay she stores there. The other farm is also organic, but the do more crop farm stuff- like wheat, and corn- it was awesome to see those fields, they were super clean. No weeds, as far as I could see, which was heartwarming because people tend to rag on organic farmers for having very weedy fields- well take that big corporate America. We climb up to the top of the barn where the bales are stored and she explains I should be careful because there are holes in the boards. Holes in the boards I am standing on? Yes. Holes in the boards I am standing on that are covered in hay? Yes. Um is there a light switch please.
After some serious tiptoeing and gluteus maximous clenching, I got a grip on the strings of the first bale. Then my boss directs me to a small opening in the side to haul it out of, she warns me against falling out of the little door, I give a half smile because I think she is joking. She is not. She then shares a tale of how the man's father who owns the farm once tossed out some hay and fell with it toppling to the ground, he was relatively alright until his son accidently ran over him immediately following... Well, that's terrible, I think to myself, but I mean come on- I got this, I work out. Two heaves later I stumble forward and realize how easy it is to not let go while trying to propel this giant hay thing out a tiny window.
I didn't fall out the window in case you were worried, nor did I fall through the boards. I am alive, SURPRISE.
The rest of the day went by quick and my roommate and I ventured back out to the field to pick some things to make for dinner. That sentence alone makes this experience totally worth it. Even if I do make a new 8 legged friend each morning, I GET TO PICK MY DINNER!
SO yeah, exciting day!
- BLT hold the B
PS. I'm not a total wimp by the way, I totally stepped on a monster, I'm talking American style obese, ant today- inside- and wiped it up all by myself. Granted there was serious squirming and whining but baby steps guys, baby steps.
Well, day two of being here, but day
one of work. At first I arrived apprehensive and very afraid a spider was going
to eat my face off. I unpacked in the basement, my roommate (the other intern)
was visiting home and wouldn’t be back until later that night. I explored our
bunk beds, saw she had settled into the bottom bunk and eyed the top spotting
several large leggy creatures nestled in the window sill by where my head was
meant to go. So I did what any self respecting 21 year old female would, I
climbed up and reached for the shade to pull it over the problem. If I can’t see them they can’t see me, right?
Well, I pulled and the carcass of their brethren unraveled with the shade.
Great. Ok well, what the hell did you expect? It is Eureka IL and you’re on a
farm…if I was on twitter this would be a hashtag moment, something like
#farmlife #America. Fast forward through
me eating lots of peanut butter out of the jar, my room mate arrives; it is
late and we chat for about 5 minutes until it is straight to bed to be up and
out by 7am. I curl as far from the window as possible, jam head phones in my
ears, and drift to sleep.
Day one of farming we weed all
morning and in the midst of weeding my room mate spots a giant spider, and asks
if I like spiders to which I respond appropriately with, “uh hell no” , she
points out the cool looking monster carrying its egg and I twitch while saying
I found a giant one in the tub last night, but I was too scared to kill it so I
just shut the curtain (again I'm an adult guys, I know how to hide shit and pretend it isn't there). And just then as I am remembering how gross the tub bug was, choir music began to play, the heavens opened up , and light bathed her face as she said “Oh really, I can take care of it when we get back inside.” Done, and done...
Alright Eureka Illinois, I think
this is going to work out.
Oh HAY there,
Yeah I'm hilarious, deal with it. So I haven't kept up with writing, during my class I was busy studying, watching online t.v., eating, feeling superior to mankind because I ripped out some weeds in a wetland, studying, eating, celebrating being 21, and oh did I mention eating?
So now my next activity will be staying on an organic fruit and herb farm...whoot whoot small town IL here I come.
- Tofurkey dog
Alright, so quick synopsis of where this sandwich is at: picture greenery, farmland, wetland, hills, trees, mosquitoes, bon fires, and chickens and there you have it. I am currently enrolled in a class, Wetland Ecology at Loyola's retreat and ecological campus in Woodstock, IL called LUREC. It is beautiful. It is only my second day here and I haven't started the actual course yet so I may be singing a different song by the time class starts but for now I am happily sitting by the window enjoying the breeze and hiding from the glare of my "Wetland Ecology" textbook I still have yet to crack open.
A couple summers ago I attended a summer program in Oxford, England and studied Shakespeare and now I get to study ecology and be a farmer. I think I had a realization many young people do called "Oh my God I have no idea what I'm doing with my life"...I then reminded myself I am only turning 21 this month not 100, I've got some time to figure it out.
Just reading the few pages I have about Wetlands, and having taken the handful of courses in Environmental fill in the blank, I am saddened by the lack of connection we have to our environment. Now I know it is all the rage to saddle up your high horse, buy soy cheese, and flip through the magazines to buy a purse made from recycled paper; but, hopefully soon the public will buckle down and get serious.
Lord knows I saddled my high horse quite some time ago when I became a vegetarian, and bought a new saddle when I changed my major from secondary ed/English to Biology. I like feeling like I am doing something, and other people aren't. I enjoy hiding behind my major and pointing my finger at others to say "well at least I'm studying something of value." But come on, who am I kidding, knowing how to draw a mechanism and protonate a carbonyl is really, in the grand scheme of things, not the solution.
Honestly, it isn't about who is better than who; we need to become a community again. We have been competing for who is right, and who is wrong, and who is to blame for too long. Nothing gets done pointing fingers.
Oh jeez when you sat down to read this I bet you didn't think some 20 year old high school drop out was going to lecture you about that steak you just grilled- BUSTED. Alright, guess I just had to put some ideas down on...paper? Now, I can buckle down and actually educate myself, textbook here I come!
Oh whoops spoke too soon, LUNCHTIME
Until we meet again,