Whew! What a day, Farmgirls. I'm finally home and sitting after a day full of: new jobs, new homes, escaped critters, dog walking in the mud in formal clothing, a wonderful evening with some friends, and late night wading through vernal pools...
It may just be the lingering vibe from a "glam rock" themed party I attended last weekend, but David Bowie said it best "Ch-Ch-Changes/Turn and face the stranger."
Come see some of the strangers this farmgirl has had to face recently...
Hello all you fine, friendly farmgirls! It's finals week here at Alaska Pacific University, and because of that...I'm sleep deprived. It happens to the best procrastinators among us year after year, generation after generation. When some people say they are sleep deprived, they are probably surviving off of just a few hours of sleep here and a few hours of sleep there. Since I'm fairly child like, sleep deprivation for me means that I'm getting less than eight hours of sleep per night for several nights in a row. The least amount I've slept has been five hours, and I kind of feel like a zombie. I know, it's rough. How can I hope to be a farmer some day if five hours of sleep leaves me feeling less-than-human? I don't know, that's a question for another day.
Anyway, I digress. One reason for this sleep deprivation is some forced civic dutiness I was assigned to complete for a graduate level environmental law class. We had to write and submit an official public comment to a governmental agency regarding our stance on some bill, act or other decision that is recently being decided upon. Of course, this had to be regarding something related to the environment.
Evan and I enjoying a spring ski. It should be a civic duty to enjoy state and national recreational areas on a regular basis.
The Greener Side of Life
It's the winter that keeps on giving. Maybe it's just the winter that needs the last word, when everyone is too caught up in the impending spring and summer to retaliate against the shoveling and plowing anymore. We just give in. We put on our boots and cram our heads into our hats and head out into the white abyss without a dismissive word about the darn winter or cursing the yet-again snow-covered porch. We've become complacent with the winter world around us.
The only animals that seem to be protesting are the chickens. They have left their coop exactly once per day for the last five days to eat and drink. Egg laying has all but ceased.
The spring tease a few weeks ago had me excited about sitting on the GREEN grass, hiking in the GREEN wilds and strolling through the farmers market, checking out the GREENS. Im supposed to start a new farming gig in a few weeks, and it seems like the season may be off to an extended indoor start.
To compensate for this lack of natural green, this Farm Girl has been taking in some green news. Some of it has been great, some of it has been not-so-great; but the most interesting of it has been GREEN.
Does a green filter make this shot (from April 6) seem any less wintery?...No. The answer is no.
"We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility of our future." George Berrnard Shaw
Our pasts, however much we want to think of them as static things, are ever changing. Think of the word 'recollection.' Every time we look at the past we are re-collecting, or collecting again, thoughts and memories of times past. There is no doubt in my mind that this act of re-collecting continually results in changed versions of memories and the uncovering of thoughts long unthunk. How have I come to this point in my life of dreaming of being a farmer? As a kid, farming wasn't even a consideration. What happened between then and now to influence these present dreams of farming?
I'll have to take a trip down memory lane...
How in the heck have I found myself immersed in Alaskan agriculture?
Long, Skinny, Slimy Things
Spring was here! for a few days, it was here, I swear. The skies were clearing up in the afternoons, the icicles broke from our house, and that distinct smell of snow melting and gravel roads thawing tinged the air. It seems to have all been a tease--but what was I expecting? It’s March in Alaska after all. Last year at this time we still had thigh deep snow on the farm, and growing up in Minnesota I would be expecting at least one more big snow fall.
However, the daylight hours are increasing, daylight savings time means that the afternoons seem even longer, and spring really is just right around the corner. With this increased vitamin D comes a jumpstart in our farmer-wannabe attitudes and motivations. Sigh...what a wonderful time of year!
It's Spring Break for teachers and students alike! I headed south with a friend and spent a few days in Homer, enjoying the spring tease.
A Year in Poetry
Hey Farmgirls, Guess what? I have now been lucky enough to have shared a year's worth of some exciting and not-so-exciting stories with you all. That's right, it is my one year Rural Farmgirl-iversary. The year has been full of ups and downs, wrongs and rights, and straight down the middles; and I can't THANK YOU enough for joining me biweekly for a whole year. I love writing for Maryjane and you, her audience of amazing women (and some men, too!). Thanks for sharing your own anecdotes and providing some great advice for all situations.
I wanted to make this post an extra special one. However, I was having trouble getting past the stage of blabbing about what has happened over the past year--if you really want to read that, there is a list of my writings over there-----> somewhere on the side of the screen. Be my guest! Otherwise, I have composed some poems as a sort of lighthearted thank you to you all.
So, come on in for some various high school level poems inspired by 366 days (2012 was a leap year!) in Rural Alaska as Mary Jane's Rural Farmgirl.
I've learned that skiing (and other winter sports) is a wonderful complement to farming! Plus, back country skiing is free!
Upcycled for Our Pleasure
First off Farmgirls, Happy Valentine's Day! For some reason, the holiday has eluded me this year. Yesterday, a few moms of my students asked if it was alright if the kids brought in cards or treats for our class, and it took me a second to realize why. Then I realized--oh yes, we are studying hearts and the circulatory system today for a reason! It is the heart happy holiday. The best thing that came from today was finding out, through the grapevine, that one of my cute students has a crush on another--he displayed his love by proudly giving her a candy heart that had "awesome" etched into it. He can't read very well yet, so he had to ask me what it said (he's seven). "Because you're awesome," he sweetly proclaimed as he handed it over. Ah, young love!
My stepmother collects heart shaped rocks for little decorations, I've taken to snapping pictures of heart shaped boulders.
While my love and I won't be celebrating Valentine's Day this year, our love is still young and this post is about a thing that we love to do together...Repurposing found and otherwise cheap objects. Have you ever heard of repurposing or upcycling? It entails taking another person's trash and transforming it into something useful, possibly beautiful, and definitely better than it previously was.
The White Stuff
White. It is the color of purity and innocence. Most say it isn't a color, rather it is the combination of all colors. For our purposes, white is a color that compliments and opposes all other colors at the same time. It is clean and bright, and it brings to mind (at least for Farmgirls!) an image of crisp, beautiful linens flapping softly in a summers breeze. However, as the weather reports have shown us over the last few weeks, white takes on a whole new meaning in the winter months.
A farm in Norway, ca. 1910
Farmgirls, I have a confession for you: My holiday season up until about yesterday wasn't all that great. I tried, really, to see the best in everything and be full of holiday cheer. There were definitely very good times had by myself, my loved ones and some great friends, but overall, I was kind of down in the dumps. I even tried a faux Happy New Year resolution excitement in my last post on New Year's resolutions; and you know what? I've already failed at most of those! Have I done yoga once in 2013? No! I did call a good friend; but I called my grandmother and she didn't answer, when she called back I didn't answer and haven't called her back. I guess I have been a bit more organized. But overall, I've been somewhere between apathetic and discouraged.
There are many, many facets that played into this state of mind. Most notably I really miss my family. Another one is ice. It gets to me. I'm afraid of it at times and in total awe at others. We have been living in an increasingly icy world here in Palmer since before Christmas, so I've had a lot of time to ponder ice and its role in my life. Luckily, I'm gaining traction, both physically and mentally.
Moki gets a break from the ice in this snow at higher elevations.
Well, Farmgirls, we've done it, we've turned another page in history and now have a nearly blank page to fill with the trials and tribulations of 2013. What stories will top our bank of memories at the end of the year? Will the great and beautiful outweigh the hard and sad? Will our adventures outnumber moments of inertia? I have a feeling this year is going to be great! Maybe thats just because of my unorthodox attraction to the number thirteen, though...