> jumping into life.


tuesday morning, second-to-last day of my week-long pseudo-summer-vacation, the longest break from school i'm going to have until christmas. it's almost noon, and i'm on my second pear woodchuck, listening to some kickass bluegrass, and doing research for my writing certification paper, which means reading articles with names like "The characterization of novel mycorrhiza-specific phosphate transporters from Lycopersicon esculentum and Solanum tuberosum uncovers functional redundancy in symbiotic phosphate transport in solanaceous species" and "Human Impact on Erodable Phosphorus and Eutrophication: A Global Perspective." strangely enough, i'm thrilled.


it was 118 degrees in phoenix when we were there today.

oh, but at least it's a dry heat, right?


my favorite line from the book i'm reading now: "In other words, a bunch of guys who spent their time running around the woods, hunting and fishing and trading meat for sex, one day saw someone hoeing weeds and said to themselves, 'What a fine idea! Let's go do that instead.'" this probably doesn't ring quite so truly if you've never hoed weeds, but believe me, it makes agriculture seem like a pretty dumb idea, indeed.


back on the farm, and it turns out we left it alone a wee too long. got to work weeding: everything not shaded by buffalo gourd was choked with bindweed, and everything else was coated in very disturbing tiny grey flies. but a hula hoe makes short work of most everything, and it wasn't too hot, which is a blessing.

at this point, whose plot is doing well depends mostly on what you planted: the beans are up almost without exception and thriving, the sunflowers are fine where they haven't been eaten, the corn got blown over and dried out, and exactly six squashes sprouted out of the entire field. not everyone has bindweed, which will probably mean more later on in the season, when it has its roots better established. that picture, by the way, is a good argument for perennial crops. so we thinned the beans and said prayers to the corn, reseeded the sunflowers and decided to wait and see if the squashes are slow or unviable.

this week i am kahuna at the farm. this means that in addition to what ever we're doing on a given day, i also have kahuna duties to perform: feeding and watering the chickens and collecting eggs (and fending off the rooster who likes to bite), recording temp and precip for the day, sweeping the solar panels, checking the gopher traps, watering the garden and the greenhouse, and, most importantly, emptying the poop bucket. also, checking for black widows in the toilet. today, when i watered the chickens at the end of the day, there were three eggs. i had already gotten eggs so i didn't expect any and had ridden a bike over to the coop (the farm is pretty big, so we bike between fields and buildings most of the time. the kahuna gets the best bike.) so i put the eggs under my new farm hat, which we found outside the donut shop today, put the hat on my head as snugly as possible, and biked very carefully back to the classroom, hoping that a) the wind wouldn't blow my hat off, as it had already twice today, and b) that i wouldn't eat shit on the bike, as i had already once today. fortunately, this story is anticlimatic, and i got to impress everyone by taking my hat of and pulling three eggs out of it. then we had a long, long class about water cycling and irrigation efficiency, which i'll not go into here because it's boring as hell.

scrambled eggs for dinner!


and here, for the record, is my farm hat.


i feel balanced again, finally. after ten days of van-riding and gas-station-food-eating, moving hardly at all ever, cooped up with nine other people, with impossible reading and homework to do, overwhelming information to process, and, let me say it again, gas-station-food-eating, i was about ready to lose it. we alternated 8-12 hour driving days with class days in various locations; the class days were spent, logically enough, in class, while the van days were spent mostly writing in our grinnells. in fact, "grinnelling" was probably our most often-used verb the whole trip.

there was a great irony to our eating habits on this trip, and it wasn't lost on us: we would spend a day talking about local food systems or perennial polycultures, then stop at a gas station and buy chips and candy and soda and crap. and that's all we ate, except for the three days when the fed us at The Land. and then we sat in the van for twelve hours, eating our crap and annoying the hell out of each other.

accordingly, since i got home on wednesday, i've been trying to recover. first: lots of alone time. walking in the park with my camera, lots of reading, some more walking, some swimming, and lots and lots of sleep. and then: lots and lots of veggies. nothing but fruits and veggies and nuts and rice and beans. and pickles, because he bought me some and left them here before he left. i feel so very much better, it's unbelievable. on wednesday i wanted to drink myself stupid and/or punch someone really hard, somewhere that it would make a good cracking sound. thankfully, that feeling has passed. horray for home.