Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm not so good with, times, dates, and numbers in general. And apparently comma usage.

It has been a spell, but give me a break! None of my recent days off have been spent on the farm. I've been making trips to Santa Rosa to help a friend with her nomadic pizza oven where just last night I had to be the front person dealing with money AND people. I know giving change should be a simple task but never ask an art student to do it! There were several blank stares given to customers especially when they give you a 100 dollar bill for one slice of pizza! (I went into art to avoid math...) There were many hysterical things that took place starting off with the owner of the farm giving me a cooler with money in it and a scale and telling me a toothless woman has something for me to weigh. Blackberries, wild frozen blackberries it seemed sketchy though right? (she was in fact toothless as well) I've also been hanging out on the coast, just something about the ocean ...And who uses computers anymore anyway, right!? You can ask my parents how much I've used the phone lately too... I love living in my little farm bubble!

(meet Delilah and her crazy eyes...and her back licking habits, she really does lick her own back)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Painting!

(read the following post with a slow Texas drawl) Hey hey I did an art project!! Ok one of many but I'm real proud of this one! This is the epitome of farm life, a barn, a tractor, a farmer and a red plaid shirt. Yup! When I saw Casey driving that tractor I knew I had to paint it. And this is what it ended up being. Strangely enough I think its the first time I have painted a face and I LOVE IT! Casey and his gal Diane loved it too, Casey said, "It'll do my mom's heart good to hear about this" in his little slighly texas drawl. Yep Casey is a mixture of willy nelson and santa clause...haha and he's full of one liners! Diane thought it be best to be named "Grump of the Farm" Here' to Casey, aka Mr. Fixit!

Animal Activities

So During Environmental Education at Emandal (ahah alliteration!) from April to June I was the animal chore master! Yes thats right I was in charge of 120 or so chickens, 2 pigs, 2 ostriches, 6 goats, and the cows well they kind of took care of themselves. We have new additons however, like a set of 4 cute little kittens that were invited into our house and eventually peed on my roommates' bed! Then there is the goats you see. That big one in the middle is the only female of the crew, and she has a nice little goatee! haha And she also has the best bleat ever MMMAAAHHH!
You may be wondering about the cat. Meet Dumpster Kitty. She was found in a dumpster and given to Tam the keeper of the farm. Dumpster Kitty recieved several different names during the Environmental Ed season. Such as Shenanigans, because she was always up to somthing usually consisting of running through a circle of children and completely distracting them from the lesson. Letter B, this was a trifecta name. We wanted the children to LET HER BE, it sound like the song by the Beatles called Let It Be and also the letter B. Lucy was another one, short for lucifer. And to this day I still refer to her as Turkey Head. She got this name because Monica the Gardener was working outside the hoop house on day and D.K. (dumpster kitty) jumped up on the table and into a bunch of potted plants, and to this Monica replied, "aw you Turkey Head!"

Well we have a resident mouse at the Bunkhouse (although our house is currently called the Funkhouse because we like to get down!) whom we don't really want to catch in a trap, so I decided that we could use some natural mouse eradication techniques, so Dumpster Kitty came to the rescue, or so I thought. Ok this kitty is really hilarious when its isn't E.E. season. She's simply just nuts. So when it came time for be she was wandering about on my bed and attacking my feet when they wiggled under the covers. I was petting her for a bit and she got all frisky and was biting (yes Jolene and Kelly pretty much all cats bite me...true). So then I began to do something else and she ran straight up to me latched onto my arm chomped it and ran away. (HILARIOUS RIGHT!?) Then at approximately 5:18 am she was screwing around with my shoes and attacking my feet.. and she had no mousey little snack either... little bugger. But at least she was cute and entertaining. The picture details her mischeviousness. She is inside a drawer at our house hanging out with the cereal. Gotta love her.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

San Hedrin Saved by the Gatorade

This is the story of the triumph of a rag tag group of super humans who decided a mountain must be conquered. It was a lovely Friday afternoon when we began the trek. Our goal: to conquer San Hedrin, the highest nearby point in the area. Nearly a vertical mile in elevation with the summit being around 6,700 feet. By far the largest mountain I will have tried to climb. The summit was 9 miles away from the Farm. Though we managed to take a slight detour amounting to about 2 miles total which makes the round trip to be approx. 20 miles for the entire trip. It also roused the suspicion of the neighbors who owned the land we inadvertently camped on (and started a large fire!). It so happened the night we camped we also were visited by some unidentified 4 wheel vehicldes and men speaking. Laying in the tent with a pulse rate rapidly increasing, and hearing these vehicles outside sent our minds in the motion pictures, where strange vehicles show up and whats left in the aftermath is relatively gorey...(ill spare you). We kept on the next morning, we all survived the 2 visits from 4 wheelers but still not knowing what or who those vehicles were. We finally found the logging road leading to the top. This road....hmm. Well lets just say it was aprox. 9 miles of extreme uphill switchbacks. We did manage to stash our packs so we weren't wearing those on the summit run. The views were amazing, we could see the farm from some vantage points and the top was glorious! We did it!! Then there was the down...prepair your kneecaps.... We also ran out of water at the top, we were told there was a spring that we could find (ha ha) nope! So we were eating snow and thats when the gift of the mountain was bore upon us. A bottle of unopened GATORADE XTREME FRUIT PUNCH! WE are SAVED!! We were so thrilled, what a gift! We then proceeded to make Gatorade slushies with the nearby snow, ya hoo!!! An amazing trip, though the excitment was far from over. After letting ourselves loose, flying down the hills hopeing there is enough strength left in our legs to stop ourselves on the corners. We come to where our packs are stashed. But there are a few more things there then when we left. Including a Jeep, a 4 wheeler, 2 dogs, a pair of shot guns, and 3 male humans. The asked us if we knew where we were going (we did at this point!). Basically what they told us was that they had trail cams out and we were on them and they thought we may be and I quote "mexican dope growers". (i thought this was histerical...). Well of course we were not but they didnt give us a ride either, Monica was very upset about this for quite some time...heh. But my friends it was a glorious adventure and my first backpacking experience, one for the memory books, afterall it isnt everyday that you get mistaken for fugitives...haha!

Friday, April 24, 2009

California =

I have trouble trying to find the words to describe my trip and experiences thus far in California. Maybe love, because love is something that is difficult to define but still universal. I love it here, I love what I am doing and I love the people I work with! I couldn't be happier! Amazing happens to be a work we have begun to overuse along with: unbelievable, beautiful, crazy, oh my god, and blank stares and deep soaking inhales while making a mmmm noise while exhaling. I am so blessed, lucky and appreciative. Nothing but big smiles and laughter from California!! (and some guitar playing too!!)

The photos are not in any order, but the first is the naturalist doing "quick act like a tree". Some cranes from Nebraska. My friend Hiro in Colorado, some trees in Utah. The skyline in Utah or maybe Nevada. The tall tall trees of California, the plum blossoms of Emandal Farm. A rescued Brewers blackbird. And a shot of the farm from Inspiration Point.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Canoeing Obstical Training Ground...

Sunday was a beautiful day for BOATING!! So that's what we did. We loaded up the canoe and the bicycle and headed over to Rocky Run Creek. I got to do the bike shuttle this time.

Since of course it isn't the brightest idea to take your brand new camera on a water adventure (and yes there was an incident once that involved my mom's camera a canoe and some water) so I drew you pictures. The first image is of an obviously to scale and extremely accurate depiction of Rocky Run Creek (in blue) and the shuttle route (in black). The green 'x' marks the spot where we began and the red 'x' is where we landed. It took me approx. 20 min to bike from the red x to the green to begin our adventure extreme. (I've included a "real" map even though you cant see all the tipped over trees and I beleive my map may actually be slightly more accurate. I was there and paddled it myself)

The next image depicts a scene just 20 yards down stream...yep we could see it but we did it anyway. My first 'canoe over partially submerged log through a bunch of Alder branches' experience. It was sweet, I sat in front and was in charge of being the 'eyes' of the boat to make sure we were in deep enough water and to avoid obstacles. After being attacked by the Alder we made it over, phew! Almost as fun as white water! As we dawdled along the extremely curvy steam (see first image "map") I spied a large roundish brown object entering the stream, immediate thoughts-beaver YES!! I love spotting wildlife!

As we rounded a curve we were surprised by the one and only bridge/tree combo (third image)! We couldn't plow our way over this one so we cleverly hopped out and chucked the boat over the blockage. Ta daa!! So on our way out to the Wisconsin River there were several hundred other tree in the way diversions, we had to get out of the boat 2 more times and carry it across some marshy land before we made our way out of the delta. ( I apologize for the partial swatches pallet in the last depiction, it was in no way along on the trip in the sky, its presence is inaccurate) After our wonderful river challange we ended up at Hooker's for a bite to eat and to listen to some billigerant drunks. The food was great, (cod sandwitch and walleye) the people were obnoxiosly loud and foul mouthed, and the beer tasted swell, a perfect end to a sunny Sunday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I drank tree sap

Yup, it's true, I did it. Drank tree sap. I liked it too! A beautiful thought crossed our minds; the tree sap we were enjoying was a beautiful life force. The tall Sugar Maples had collected this water from the earth and sky and had begun to transfer it to its tallest branches to begin its yearly wakening. I drank the tree's life juice, it tasted strong and cold, with a barely sweet after taste. Humans being humans then boil it into a gooey sugary delightful treat! This one is for my Grandpa Steve, who always was telling us stories about his maple syrup adventures. And yes, I hauled 5 gallon buckets of Sugar Maple tree juice up an abnormally rocky and mossy hillside and I only spilled a little. On my pants and down my sleeve. (no worries, wasn't sticky!) Oh and the sunset! It was a "slam on the breaks and snap" kind of moment high on the bluffs near Happy Hill Dr. Baraboo, WI.

Devil's Lake State Park!

After some dawdling at Farm and Fleet in Baraboo to purchase the wrong flea and tick topical treatment for my dog, which we only found out about AFTER we returned home...we passed the turnoff for Devil's Lake State Park and feeling a bit forlorn, I shouted, "We're here, we're GOING!" As if my friend were opposed!? March 21 was a wonderful day, not only was the weather perfect for a spring hike, but Jack got to come too! I was amazed. The West Coast and all of its mountains and coastline sometimes seem so attractive, but when I entered Devil's Lake I was surprised for some reason. You kind of expect this type of raw beauty from places like Oregon, California or Colorado, but Wisconsin? No way, we just have cows and farm fields separated by kettle moraines and drumlins, and an occasional river. Not glorious boulders deposited on the edge of an ancient riverbed a million billion years ago! (get the real story on how the lake was formed, here) So ha! You states with your snow capped mountains and salty ocean breezes, we had the Wisconsin Glacier, which was humongous, really really old and had gargantuan bolders frozen in it!

Aldo Leopold's Cabin!

Down a Wisconsin Rustic Road (# 49 to be exact) is Aldo Leopold's Cabin. Don't know him? Check him out here and here. Basically he was a Naturalist and wanted people to realize that the land and the wilderness and whatever exists in it is all part of our community. He wrote the A Sand County Almanac, in which he discussed the Land Ethic. Smart guy, and a sweet spot! His backyard consists of sandy patches, golden grasses and beautiful River Birch trees, and a Osprey circling above. How could you not love nature in Wisconsin?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Birding Adventure!

The weather was so unbelievable today! With no sub job and the day to myself I decided to hit the trails and bag me some bird! (first I did laundry though...) My favorites were the Sandhill Cranes! Expertly camouflaged in the second picture, you can tell they are young because they still retain their rusty colored feathers. They were so noisy, along with their marsh neighbors the Canadian Geese who by the way weren't keen on me photographing them. As I was cruising along I spotted some Wild Turkey gobbling there way along the field, the one in side profile has a nice little beard! The Red Winged Blackbird cooed its little tune as we drove past. Lets not forget the silly Banded Woolly Bear Caterpillar! All in all not a bad birding day!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weather Wonders

I was in awe the day after the rain/hail/snow storm, out cross country skiing just after daybreak. Simply put unbelievable, so astonishingly beautiful. Then as I headed in toward the house nature bore yet another gift, fog. Gorgeous icicle branches snow and fog.

As a photographer I've always loved the unusual things nature has to offer, the mystery it can deliver with fog and the stillness and strange light of an oncoming storm. Nature and weather can be very curious!

The poor trees suffered for the beauty, yesterday I visited a beautiful tree farm. A long row of White Pines stood tall, but their branches littered the ground near their trunks. You can see the strain of the weight of the snow and ice on the trees, though one distinctly reminds me of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". It definately belongs in Whoville.