Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Doesn't Kill You..

August fifth. That’s my birthday. And that makes me a Leo. Rawr!

There are certain Leo-esque qualities that I possess, mainly that I think I’m awesome and (although always trying to be less) headstrong. I think I get that headstrong quality from my Paps. I remember him once telling me, “Well, there’s the wrong way to do something and then there’s my way.” This quality really began to rear its ugly head on my NOLS Patagonia Semester. Along with other things, my course taught me that it really doesn’t matter if the cheese is sliced or cubed cause either way its going to be melted. But, I was still adamant to have it my way.

Showing a little tooth ;);)

Usually Leos take a leadership role. They are the first to jump in, get dirty, take their clothes off, whatever. Although I am an outstanding leader, who any intelligent person would willingly follow, I don’t always possess this bold, outspoken quality and desire to be the first to try something new. In NOLS it was the leader of the day. I was the last one to go. I was intimidated about the standard that was set and worried that I wasn’t going to be a good at it. Here at the farm, it was the weed whacker, a man’s job (insert sarcastic voice). I didn’t want to operate it, thinking it was going to be too physically demanding, I wasn’t going to be able to start it up, what if the thing ran out of that cord stuff? Or gas? I couldn’t do it.

But, on Saturday I decided I would finally give it a try. I pushed that intimidation aside, pushed the fear aside and decided to finally get’er done. Sandy said she left the weed whip (that’s what they call it in these parts) along the road by the Adventist’s property.

I won’t go into too much detail, although I know my Dad would love that, because unless you have been to the farm it won’t really make much sense to say this field or that, Michael’s house, yadda yadda yadda. So I’ll just over exaggerate a little in order to let you know how it really felt:

Alright, I walked for what seemed like days trying to find the weed whip that apparently Sandy hid along the road somewhere.

No weed whip here, just old worship equipment and facilities.

I literally had to have walked up and down this ten mile stretch of road thirty times before I gave up, completely defeated and headed to Micha and Sarah’s house. Right when I arrived, Micha stepped outside and I told him the bad news, “Sandy musta harnesses ten thousand American Robins and tied the weed whip to them, sending them to far away place that needs to monitor the thistle and noxious weeds a little more then we do, apparently.” Before I could keep going, Micha told me that he drove down and put the weed whip in the shed.

I said,“Oh. Ok. Well I kinda felt like logging a few extra hundred miles on foot today anyway, so, no big deal.” And was on my way.

Once I got the weed whip I headed out to tackle some Canadian thistle. And I did. But not before getting shocked by the electric fence. It’s not powerful enough to send you into a stupor but it’s enough to make you wish you didn’t get shocked. I was now feeling a little more defeated.

I got the weed whip going and walked down along the fence for a good 7 hours when the fuel ran out. I left the fuel at the other end, 7 hours away, but went back anyway and got it. Filled’er up and went back to whippen.

Another 7 hours later I was back at the other end of the field, and the cord ran out. Now the cord was back at Micha and Sarah so I walked all the way back and called it quits. I arrived back in the garden, probably an etinurity later, having wasted the larger portion of the afternoon walking back and forth. I felt so incredibly unproductive and inefficient I should have just stayed in bed all day. Sylvan asked how the weed whip went and I said I was glad I get paid next to nothing. I felt like I didn’t deserve even that petty amount.

A few tears came out. And that was that. For then at least.

But… a new day, a new start.

Today was my chance to reintroduce myself to what I though was Satan’s tool, the weed whip. And let me just say, this work ain’t just for men anymore!

I think that fear and intimidation are healthy feelings to have whether it’s in rock climbing, a job interview, first date, or using a weed whip. It’s a powerful tool when you can identify it and move through it. Those feelings are only healthy if you are able to control then and use them to your advantage.

I felt defeated at the end of Saturday, but today I feel empowered.

It was a learning lesson. I love experiencing fear in climbing. It’s one of the main reason why I climb. It’s flippen’ fun to be scared! When was the last time you were so scared and uncomfortable? I can think of mine and they bring smiles to my face.

Although at the end of Saturday I had tears in my eyes, today I collected those feeling and used them for empowerment. August fifth. Yeah, that’s my birthday. Sometimes I will deny being a Leo, but today I definitely was. Rawr!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jumping Over the Fence

I have always loved John Muir's style of "throwing a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jumping over the back fence." That's my kind of impulsive adventure planning. This picture was taken just about a mile and a half south of Sunrise this evening. Check out my little film:

Paparazzi... and I'm not talking about Lady Gaga.

I will admit that since I moved up to Sunrise Ranch I have grown a little soft spot for Lady Gaga*, but this post aint 'bout hur! 

I just got a new digital camera to compliment my decision of entering the wonderful world of the blogosphere. I have been taking pictures left and right and capturing all the beautiful faces around me. Here are a few:

Yesterday Sheldon and I went to Snake Lake, a little secret spot in Fort Collins, for a swim. I'm training for a triathlon... and I think my swimming could use a little more help. Tips?
Avana grew up in Fort Collins, but yesterday was her first time at Snake Lake. It's just that secret... and snakey. Although I have yet to see a snake there with my own two eyes.   

Biking around Fort Collins on my day off. 

Creeping outside Daniel's house, waiting for Avana and Daniel to arrive.

This is a true paparazzi shot. This is where Avana and I live. The Gables. One of the oldest houses on the property. This was taken this morning at roughly 6:25 on our way to the garden.

David and Alisha harvested some tasty carrots today. Check out David's blog, he's keeping a good account of what's going on at the farm.

Our peas are off the hook! We harvested 20 lbs. today. Hey you know why we use "lbs." as an abbreviation for pounds? winky face* A little trivia for you.

The coolest farm manager ever. I think since I have Carhart overalls and a fanny pack too, I now have equally cool status as Sylvan. Now I just need a pair of glasses with glass lens. 

Doesn't Alisha's find look just like a coodie? What a great picture. This gal is beautiful.   

Me milking the peas... I haven't ever milked a cow before, but if I had to imagine I would say it's probably a little far off from picking peas, but who really knows. Milk come from the grocery store, not an animal.

Another great day. Tomorrow 5 of our cattle are going to be "harvested." Thats an emotionally sensitive way of saying slaughtered. 

Until next time.

*For those of you who where disappointed that this post didn't highlight more of Lady Gaga, here is an uplifting video of an aspiring little Lady Gaga. If this doesn't bring a tear to your eyes, I don't know what does.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Smile Goes A Long Way

In my freshman psychology class I remember our professor telling us of a case study about smiling. There were two sample audiences, one audience was told to frown and cross their arms and the other was told to smile while they were both told a series of jokes.

The audience that was told to smile laughed more and found the jokes to be funnier then the audience who was frowning. Ah ha!

Hostel in Chile

Before I got to the farm I was convinced that I had romanticized this whole experience. Surly I would spend my days running through tall seas of grass blowing in the wind, a basket full of chicken eggs in my hand, fresh pies in the window, long pigtail braids and red bonnets...

And well, it is kinda like that.

Avana in the hoop house

For the most part, our team works as a fine oiled machine, weeding, harvesting, and planting. However, sometimes the days are long and the complaints are flying. Where are the smiles at then?

4 Day Solo in Barlioche, Argentina

Sometimes it’s hard to remember to smile when barbed wire slices your arm, your genital region is sweating incessantly and your foot is soaked because your rubber boot has a hole. Yesterday while chopping down the Devil’s plant (bull and Canadian thistle) David and I had a great conversation about the power of little things, like smiles. How could you not smile when your arm is bleeding, your underwear needs to be changed and your foot is water logged? I’m dead serious. This is exactly what I signed up for and I love it. There isn’t anywhere else I would want to be, and…

I have been giggling now more then ever.

It’s odd, having graduated college and all, I feel that the ceremony should have been some kind of passage into adulthood. But you know, I feel like I may be regressing back into a more child like state instead of growing up. Whatever the situation actually is, the fun is just now beginning. And the smiles are free.

Smiling in Patagonia

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Good Life

This is it.
Beloved Mathews House. This first post goes out to the lovely lady Nelly.

I arrived at Sunrise Ranch June 1st. Leaving Fort Collins was a whirlwind. However, I have only myself to blame for allowing 1 day to pack all my belongings. But come on, after graduating college who wouldn't want to leave ASAP to go climbing? And spend all available time climbing as well? And that's exactly what Fumie and I did.

God willing, my 88' Toyota Camry started on May 15th, allowing us to depart from the Parker Residence Graduation Party with out complete embarrassment. My pits were beginning to sweat just a little as I pushed in the clutch and turned the key, "Come on girl, not here, not now." All that positive energy took Fumie and me all the way to Salt Lake without any hindrances. For whatever reason, Lidia (the name my dad gave to Old 88' Carmy) decided she had about enough, maybe she didn't like Utah.

Fumie and I felt like a clip straight out of Little Miss Sunshine. Bump starting Lidia every stop from Salt Lake all the way to Arcata. And we became masters, receiving cheers and encouragement. Thank God its a stick!

We kept it real in Arcata with my amazing family but soon departed to Bend, Oregon. Fumie and I were on a mission to climb as many routes as we could before we would go our respected ways. Fumie is one of my only friends that I met in the dorms and still continue to have a giggly, immature, loving friendship with. If you said whats your schema of friends, I would say: Fumie & geese.

With our loving friendship aside, we're still people. And when people are around each other for ungodly amounts of time, sometimes the temperature gets a little uncomfortable. But in the end, Fumie knows I'm not a mind reader and I'm the one to blame for leaving the keys in the ignition and draining the battery in the, supposedly more reliable, Phoebe (dad named her too), my new 03' Toyota Avalon. So the moral, we still love each other, possibly now more then ever.

After leaving Fumie in Tillamook (more to come later), I started driving in the general direction of Colorado. I emailed a few peeps off Mountain Project to try to get in a little more climbing and got connected with a dood named Tyson. Tyson and his friend Victor are two of the most welcoming people I have met in a while. Despite then later telling me "Yeah, we thought you were gunna SUCK!" they still invited me along for 5 days of climbing in Joes Valley Utah.

Since I currently do not own a functioning digital camera, I have stolen the above pictures from my own facebook (which don't actually belong to me?) Anyway, we met up with two charming traveler guys Stu and Charley. Stu and Charley took loads of pictures so I will have more to come in the near future.. that is if I keep up with this blogging stuff.

Climbing in Joe's changed my life and the way I think about climbing. I have begun to assess what climbing really means to me and why I climb. Its for the love. For the love of the movement. The power. The grace. The balance between the two. The technical. The mental. And the physical.

It was hard to leave the send train after I was so graciously welcomed aboard. But I think the friendships I made in Joe's are ones that will last.

So after a hectic day in Fort Collins, I moved up to Sunrise Ranch where I will be a farming intern for the next 5 months. I will be blogging hopefully on a regular basis. I would love to hear comments and feedback. Welcome to a little glimpse of my life.

I'll see ya out there.