Is it worth letting one person grow, and holding the rest of the group back?
Hearing something is much different than experiencing it.
We’ve been climbing the mountain so long, now we just need to look at the view.
A fun morning in the rain by myself picking kiwis. I imagined I was a kiwi farmer for a few hours, and marveled at their rambunctious vines overtaking the greenhouse. Rachel said they chop the trees down every year, and every year they grow back, 12 feet tall. And then George and Alyssa joined me, and we ate kiwis, became masters at peeling them, and talked about travel and life.
Kiwi leaves are just as soft as kiwis.
And when you pull one kiwi down, ten others fall on your head.
The rain is amazing. Alyssa and I pilgrimaged out in the storm for another ladder, only to realize we couldn’t use it.
Out for my jog, pass the four old men who are always playing ping pong on their back porch outside.
Then, jogging down the hill, George comes up behind on the bike, a big black dog riding beside him. Who knows where this dog came from, there are a lot of dogs here. They are just as communal as everything else.
Want to write it all as I walk around.
I finally remembered why I am here- exactly what I’m doing. I’m here to write. So I’m going to write it all out so you can see it.
I get back to the house, and find George outside playing with the puppy. Sit down and play with them for a few minutes, and then Rosie, our sponsor from the Grange, walks out the right side of the house, wearing a big blue wig and wooden Swedish shoes. The Grange is going to cost 3,000 dollars a person for 4-6 months at a time. So we are actually getting a really cool deal working for our living here. Rosie is a rough it and tough it cowgirl, who doesn’t take shit, and has a shitton of plans she puts into action daily.
They are all making soup and getting ready for the event tonight, and I see that three other girls have big wigs and costumes on. I didn’t ask.
“Is he still trying to hump her?” Rosie asks of the two dogs, one of which is hers. Her dog is named after the Greek goddess of fruit, and was our first official friend here.
Rosie is 26, and the other farmers in the area are around that age as well. It’s a movement, it’s a revolution. They are bringing organic farming to the forefront of America’s consciousness, by making it fashionable as well as being super smart and intellectual about it all.
So on the right side is where Sheba lives, but she also lives with Hunter and Ray. Ray is another one of our sponsors, she’s from the Ecological Action team that hosts interns from all over the world in the house that we currently live in. Ray is around 26 as well. She’s blond, wears red cowboy boots and has a steady chuckle that she uses as often as a smile in conversations. She studied abroad in Argentina in college, and says the mountains here remind her of the Andes. Ray has two boyfriends, and is openly polyamorous. Met one of her boyfriends at the pub, his name is Jungle. He wears a top hat, he’s tall dark and mysterious with curly black hair. The other one, Jay, talks loudly and with conviction with a ginger beard and glasses. He lives on the ranch as well, and stops by our place daily.
Hunter is the other one who lives on the right side of the house, and he moved in when we did. He bought a plot of land from the ranch, and is starting his own sustainable agricultural project. He is 28, and still has a college boy mentality. He’s dating a previous intern from Mexico, and they are planning on living here for good. Hunter is tall and blonde, he’s got a hesitant smile, and kind eyes. He invites our team out a lot, and a few of the team drove to town with him tonight.
So that’s the right side of the house. Since Hunter and Ray live there, there are always a lot of meetings taking place over there. And all the young farmers we met at the Grange meeting a few weeks back flit in and out of their place on various, one can only guess, revolutionary errands and conversations.
Last night there was a new young guy over there, and he tied his new puppy up outside. Jess ran outside and lay down with the puppy for the rest of the evening, calming it down as it cried for its owner.
I’ve forgotten to eat all day.
What a great day.
It’s 4pm, and I’m outside after a wonderful jog producing an invigorating natural high. And I’m sitting in our front yard on a wooden chair, eating quinoa and dahl I spent the morning making. And looking out at the mountains- I feel like I want to eat them as well everytime I see them– as if I could shoot their beauty out of my fingertips. Everyone is getting dressed up and ready for the soup competition, and I can smell interesting and savory varieties drifting over from next door.
I’m writing on paper- I need to write on paper first more often. Then I can be outside and explain this beauty to you.
I never thought I was a nature person. Maybe I’m changing.
Wind today– leftover from the rain storm we’ve had the past two days.
No care of other’s expectations any longer. I float around house with purpose on my time off-coexisting without disappointing. Inspiring others instead with the strong presence of being able to be myself. Little by little, one step at a time daily. But never standing still.
Our house- tucked in between a community member’s home on the left– he lives in a mobile home, with garden of twisted tree trunks and carvings surrounding the house and negating it’s mobility. On the right of the house– on the other side of Ray, Hunter and Sheba’s side is an old car repair shop. In front of our house is an old barn that they use for grain production. The barn is white with peeling paint, and an old sign in blue lettering that says “New Age Products” on the side.
The grain production takes place on the second story of the barn- and big doors open on the second floor with a picture perfect magnified view of the community garden, and the wilderness surrounding it. In front of the barn is where we park the van, and the golf cart they loaned to us. So the big faded yellow duplex is where we live. It’s one the oldest building on the ranch, and is where the ranch hands used to live. The cowboys, way back when. The house is about 50-100 years old. I can’t be bothered to ask someone again.
Like I said, three people live on the right side, and then the ten of us live on the left side.
When you walk in our side of the house, you are greeted by the living room, complete with two couches, a coffee table and two bookshelves full of organic farming and natural heeling textbooks. Then we have the dining room table- stocked full of bowls of fruit from Saturday afternoon to Wednesday evening, when we run out of food.
To the left is our little kitchen, and to the left of that is the house computer and printer.
Walking straight ahead from the living room, you enter the hallway. On the right is our washing machine, and to the left is Ryan and Ricky’s room. Ryan is from Sacramento, California and is an aspiring make-up artists and movie guru. He is tall and blonde with viking ancestry, and a voice that he is never afraid to use.
Ricky is from North Carolina, and has a thick southern accent along with a love of manual labor and cleaning. He is constantly cleaning our house for us, and is currently sleeping on the couch out in the living room because it is more comfortable than his cot. Ricky wants to be a park ranger and move to Oregon. I have a team date with Ricky that I need to get to this weekend.
Right next to their room, on the other side of the wall, is Jess and I’s room. Jess sleeps on the bed, but I get the desk for my writing and reading endeavors. Jess is mad funny, probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life. She is from New Jersey, a town right outside of New York City. She has a thick Jersey accent, and is never afraid to tell people exactly what she is thinking. She has winter eyes, and sees through people to their core. She is in love with pushing boundaries, and is an aspiring social worker. She has a degree in psychology.
To the right of our room is the bathroom, which I have decided, after much feedback, that I will refrain from writing about what goes on in there anymore.
On the other side of Jess and I’s wall is a big room with two beds, and a cot. This is where Carrine, Sydney and Alyssa sleep.
Carrine is one of the most outgoing people I have ever met, and is a far out artist who paints and draws her feelings, and connects with music and musicians as a past time. She is from The Colony, Texas and is an aspiring yoga teacher- she leads our weekly yoga session every Friday morning at 6 am. Carrine was an au pair in Germany last year, and has the travel bug as well. My wildflower counterpart, she told me that if I ever wanted to take a few years off an go WOOFing around the world, she’d be my go to partner.
Alyssa is the singer. She’s been performing for crowds since she was seven- country music to rap to soul. She auditioned for American Idol last year, and made it to the second round. She has spunk, and belts out soul music like no one I have ever heard in my life. She could definitely be a star someday– she just needs to meet the right people in the meantime. Alyssa is from upstate New York, and has lived her whole life in a teeny tiny town in the middle of the Adirondack mountains. She doesn’t take shit from anyone, and is just about as funny as Jess with her timing, and no bullshit. Alyssa and I have a special bond, as we are always there for one another when we need it most. Alyssa wants to travel the world with me after this– gypsy girls with a voice to sing, a need to write, and people to meet. We might.
Sydney is the youngest, just out of highschool, but has so much potential. She is from a tiny town in New Hampshire. She is my counterpart to team leader, and she’s been doing a kickass job. While I handle speaking to the team, and organizing ourselves during meetings and communication, she does the behind the scenes paperwork and organization. She has also grown up with horses her whole life, and is training the horses for community members here because she is so experienced in it. She is also very insightful, and sees what lies below the surface. She is one of the least judgmental people I have ever met, she sees the beauty in you that you are not able to see in yourself. Sydney reminds me of myself in a way, she is currently reading a history of women in America. She was telling me about it today– it includes Native American women, African American slave women, and housewives as well as the well known feminist stories. She told me she thought I was a world changer in an anonymous letter at the beginning of the year, and I believe she is going to be a world changer. Maybe we can do it together.
There is a bathroom connected to their room, and then a door leading out to the backyard. Our backyard is where the smokers hang out at night, and I hang out during the day. It has various chairs, christmas lights and a lamp for reading. There is also a stone oven that we haven’t really looked into yet.
Take the winding wooden stairs to your left, you can walk up to the attic. This is where Tony, Dre and George sleep.
Tony’s room is amazing, as I have stated in previous blog posts. He has it to himself, and a queen bed, couch, desk and to top it all off: a view out the backyard of the hoses running free in the pasture, mountains in the distance. Tony has a degree in anthropology, and an unofficial degree in cooking. He’s from Minneapolis, and loves to talk about it. We make fun of how he says “bags.” He was a cook for the past eight years, and is one of the hardest workers I’ve met. He worked 50 hours a week to get himself through college, and studied abroad in Japan.
The the left is Dre and Geroge’s room. Dre is from Virginia, and knows more about evolution and archaeology than anyone I have ever met. He carries a book on the evolution of man with him everywhere that we travel, and rereads it with enthusiasm. Dre is a sweety, and completes Jess and I’s trio. Dre is the quietest person on the team, me coming in with a close second. Dre was my first friend on the team, and I was his. I took him to his first bar, and we’ve been tight ever since. Dre has had a much different life experience than I have, and it’s always eye opening when he feels like speaking up. The first time Jess, him and I hung out he told us that we could ask him any five questions we wanted, and he would answer with complete openness and honesty. He just wanted to be known, he wants us to get to know him though he is so quiet. And that’s what we’ve done, and continue to do.
George was born to a Romanian family, and the adopted by a super Italian family in Boston. George is very sweet as well, and always has something to make us laugh about. He’s one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, and he’s all about group dynamics and making sure we’re all feeling included. He’s trying to become like Jess, Tony, Dre and I. We’re all becoming each other, in actuality though. We’re all becoming one big, unique personality.
We’ve all got to so much to give, and we’re all ready to learn and grow from others as well.