Monday, October 26, 2015

Some of My Best Friends Are Dogs: Farm Times in Late Summer and Early Fall

I don't know what it is about gardening. I know it might seem as if I'd be very into it as a hobby or way of life. And I do believe a garden should be a part of my life, but I seem to be lacking almost any hue of green in my thumbs. My toes, elbows, knees, ear lobes, tip of my hose and any other part of me is equally free of any hint of the green color spectrum. Except maybe my veins? But let's put that aside. My veins have nothing to do with how well I may garden, or how much I want to do it. I took horticulture in high school as a senior elective. The teacher was  a very enthusiastic man. Generally always looking to engage with his students. It verged on being over the top and almost strange, but Mark Wiley was certainly memorable for his desire to connect with his classes.  He was also my teacher for the required freshmen 'Hydrology' class. A way of being introduced to the many arms of science through the unifying theme of water. I'm not sure I've really retained many of the science lessons offered in that year. But at 33, literally 20 years later, I do recall the following:

1. Watching Waterworld and his incredulity with the basic premise of being able to turn urine into water in the opening scene, but finding no way to do a similar thing with the salt water  of the movie.

2. His telling us about watching a friend parachuting, and his parachute not opening, and the teacher watching this man fall to his death.

3. There was a unit on the Hoover Dam. Or maybe not the Hoover Dam. Some dam. And it was an activity that demanded that all students play a role in a sort of improvisational debate on whether it should be built. There were military experts, scientists, witnesses, etc. The desks were positioned (I think) in a horse shoe with a committee as its removed third side, a few feet away. One boy, playing the military expert and voice in the drama, was incredibly fascinated with the military and, independently of the assignment, already had a full military costume, which he wore for the duration of the mock debate. I forget if I was assigned, or if I requested it, but I was the local news journalist covering the proceedings. If I recall correctly, I created a daily newspaper covering the 2 or 3 days of testimony. I recall being rather light on facts, and including stray "articles" about the goldfish in the classroom. Or maybe I only thought about doing that? In any case, Mark was great to let me do the least science-y thing one could do in that situation.

3. He never pronounced my name right. Always Caro-linn as opposite to Caro-line.

4. During that horticulture class he found a nest with some eggs in it, which seemed to have fallen out of a tree or otherwise been separated from its respective mama bird. Mark randomly suggested that I take the eggs with me to my dorm, put them in some sort of container with some kind of insulating material, keep a lightbulb on them, and see if they would hatch. This is then a thing that I did. I forget the container, but I think I swathed them in a teeshirt or washcloth. I was pretty diligent about the lightbulb too. It was just a regular desk light lamp, but I positioned it what I thought was at the right distance to emanate heat and warmth without air boiling the eggs. I think at least two weeks passed. Maybe a month? Maybe longer. I have the habit now to put things off for huge swathes of time. Truly astoundingy in appropriate amounts of time. So it could have been two weeks, but it also could have been two months. In any event, some period of time lapsed. No baby birds pecked their way out of their egg encasing and into my haphazard man-made nest on the desk. Eventually I began to worry that the eggs might be rotting. I was fairly certain that there were not baby birds to wait for. I don't know why I didn't just throw them in the trash. A fear of the stink that could potentially emerge if broken and lingering in the hall garbage can? Hard to say at this point in time. But the solution to whatever reason that wasn't an option was to throw them out the window into the grass below on a night where it seemed likely to rain. The rain, honestly, may be something I just hope I thought of as opposed to actually having done. I didn't throw the eggs at the right speed and they ended up hitting building and pavement. I couldn't see just how bad the damage was, or if there was a stink to worry about, as I did this after our dorm's curfew. The next morning I awoke early and went down the flights of stairs and out a back door with much apprehension. Turned out that while the eggs had smashed, there was no offensive olfactory situation to feel guilt over. The eggs had landed close to the basement entry way to the school's day care, but had spared its stairs, so I didn't have to content with the feeling of shame that would have been caused if the day care people thought someone had tried to egg them. I should also mention that while they didn't smell, there also weren't fetal baby birds that I had sent to death. I don't know what lesson or outcome Mark Wiley thought would come out of sending me home with those eggs, but I'm sure I learned something. Not to throw eggs out of a window?**I started writing this in Ohio, got almost immediately sidetracked by writing about Mark, and then didn't even start to really write about anything related to the photos. Now I'm going to leave this unfinished rumination, which really was just a long reflection on the potential causes of my ambivalence about gardening when it seems like I should really like it. A large part of it, I think, may have to do with my the guy I dated one million years ago and his own good works in the gardening world. But let's not blame him.***

In any case, here is a video of Rodo and Coco being friends.
Oh, maybe my gardening rant had to do with this photo. Garlic was pulled and L. showed W. and L. how to braid it.
Rodo looking up at me while before I hoisted him up to the tent platform down at the beach.
View from my tent spot.
Morning tent sunrise view.
Rodo riding shotgun in the old truck.
Me holding the pelt of Mary Jane, whom we sent off with a number of others for slaughter. In about three months it will be tanned and soft and lovely.
L. and I went to a thrift store one day and I tried on some ridiculous dresses just for the fun of it. This reminded me of Belle's dress from Beauty and the Beast.
The ferry coming in one morning.
Me, post-farmers market, on a particularly windy day. Actually I think this was the day that it was so blustery that the market actually ended early out of fears of tents being blown asunder or trees crashing down on us all.
I returned to the farm then went to a party.
The painting I made for L. Her likes were space and bats and her dislike was moths.
The sheep swarming towards me and the hay-full tractor.
Lovely ladies sitting on a porch.
A delightful breakfast.
Another good bar/letter writing night, featuring an especially scrumptious burger.
Filsa either got a gnarly scratch or allergic reaction to something, which made her eye swell up something fierce. I gave her some meds and about a week or so later her eye was back to normal. She looks like such a bruiser.
Rainbow sheep.
Rodo and his boy on a sunny afternoon.
Playing cribbage with Coco.
Hanna, who was an intern here last year, returned for a visit and it was so lovely to see her.

Whitney holding up Coco like Simba.

The ten year old made Rodo a hammock and became just a head.
Another photo opportunity before Hanna departed, with bread.
Yup, all my best friends are dogs.
I used some blue coat on a sheep at some point, and accidentally got it all over my arm. Tattoo idea.
A pretty place I live indeed.
Danny, Matt and I did some feeder moving and sheep wrangling at some point. I had a sheep in my lap, Danny had a sheep in the back, Matt drove, and one million dogs followed us.
My view.

On another day I went to Seattle to pick up a large amount of processed lamb from the butcher. While I waited for the meet time, I went to a dim sum joint and ate myself some tasty dumplings.
Another view from the ferry.
And after a farmer's market, I enjoyed a few happy hour oysters.
Pretty flower.
Whitney was housesitting, so I came over, we grilled ourselves some dinner and played Cribbage.
I took the Christmas lights and paper cranes that Hayley had strung up in her place. I think it adds a nice added layer of ambiance to my life.
We put the rams in with the ewes to start the hump party and get them all knocked up. We put paint on the ram's chest so we can gauge who has been humped, and when.
Another wine and letter writing evening, with Clare's hand giving me a fake fuck you.
It's official. Washington State is where I live.
We had some baby bunnies born in September. Unfortunately they didn't make it.
Pretty freckled Paisley getting her eat on.
Stan and I took apart the panels he had put together on one of the trucks so he and Lynn could transport a ram from Montana to the farm.
Tasty, tasty hay.
In the final days before my departure from the farm I had many things to do, but I took a moment to enjoy the sun and beach and to more properly list all the many things I still needed to do.
In the last week or so of my time on the farm I made chile rellenos. They were pretty good, though a whole heck of a lot of work.
Lizzie and the Buddha chilling on the porch.
Ping pong times in the ping pong room.
They are friends.
Close friends.
I'm not entirely sure what this was about.
Nor why I am covering my face.
Oh Rodo, my most faithful of farm friends.
I asked Whitney to watch my fish while I was gone, which meant I had to drive him to her place. I took a small detour for a small session at the beach, which I thought the fish might also enjoy.
Rodo came with me too.
Because he is basically my best friend. Ha ha. He is a dog.
And then suddenly I had only one last night before my cross country journey. W. and L. and I went to Prima together for some wine and tasty treats.
It was a lovely evening and a good way to wrap up a good season on the farm.