Monday, September 29, 2008

take your time, hurry up

Finally some pictures! (Courtesy of Kate - my camera's still in Oregon.)

The weekend was relatively uneventful. Saturday I didn't do much other than take a bike ride up Rt. 14. (Side note: the next time I play Ten Fingers, I can't use "never ridden a bike on a state highway.) I found a bike that has both working gears AND working brakes. That was exciting. Unfortunately it's a super heavy mountain bike. I'm definitely bringing my road bike back here after winter break. Sunday I cooked brunch in the morning, as usual, then took a nap all afternoon. It was altogether a slow weekend. I did watch Zoolander after dinner, though. I love that movie and have seen it way too many times.

I started running again. It feels great, even though I'm only doing about three miles a day. Hopefully Jack's shoulder will heal soon so he can give me boxing workouts. That way I won't puke when I visit the wrestling team over winter break.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I want to get caught in a torrential downpour.

Biscy and Brain, you'll both enjoy this one.

I love my agriculture techniques class. Yesterday we sampled the apple preservation projects that everyone did as homework from last week - I ate lots of ice cream, muffins, apple sauce, apple chutney, and apple butter. Then we made kim chi to preserve the cabbage, beets, rutabaga, ginger, garlic, and carrots from the school garden. I have a nice jar of fermenting cabbage on my floor. It smells... interesting, and it'll be there for the next month or so.

Today I had Bounder. We built shelters in the woods out of tarps and rope. The whole purpose of that class is to prepare for Winter Expedition: three nights of backpacking in the mountains in December right before winter break. Who's excited?

The leaves are changing color and it's absolutely gorgeous. I wish I had my camera.

I went running in the rain tonight. I love coming back inside dripping wet and steaming. It's my favorite. It'll be even better when it starts snowing.

I'm watching the McCain/Obama debate tonight at the Dean of Students' house. He extended an open invitation to the entire school (all 100 of us). I'm prepared to narrate the whole thing a la Harry Potter #5. Oooh yeah.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kelsey, you'll appreciate this.

I cut down my first tree today with my ax. It was a good twelve inches in diameter.
(All this and modest, too!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

hiking and more

Hiking yesterday was lots of fun. We went to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It was my first time in NH other than briefly passing through last year on the way back to Boston from visiting Sterling. The hike was only about four miles, but it was really cool. I don't remember which mountain we were on but a lot of the hike was above the tree line, on these solid granite rock faces. I did a lot of scrambling up rocks. There were a couple points where we had complete 360-degree views and it was gorgeous. The only signs of civilization we could see were a couple roads down in the valley (and the other people around us). I wish I had my camera. I went with Kate, Andy, and Andy's girlfriend Abby. I was the youngest by four years - that was weird. Abby is almost 24. I'm still getting used to having friends in their 20s. Abby and Andy are adorable and vegan and they go hiking lots.

I slept outside again last night, this time at the lean-to. That was actually a major accomplishment for me. I don't like to admit it, but I'm fairly afraid of the dark. If I have someone else with me, I'm fine. I just don't like being alone in the woods after sunset. I've realized that I'm not afraid of the woods themselves; I'm afraid that there will be lurking people who I can't see. The lean-to is out past the farm, about a mile away from the main campus. When everyone went in for the night, I stayed. It actually wasn't too bad, other than three drunken upper-classmen wandering down around midnight and telling me they were Condi Rice and George Bush, then reminding me to vote. My sleeping bag is really warm.

Sarah and I cooked brunch today. We did pretty well considering I had only done brunch once and she hadn't done it at all. Yeah.

There's an amateur boxing club in Hardwick, and I may start going. I want my muscles back. They kind of disappeared since I stopped wrestling.

Also: just because I listen to YACHT doesn't mean I'm a hipster. Here is why I'm not a hipster:
1. I don't dress well enough.
2. My bike has gears.
3. I don't read Pitchfork.
4. I have never bought anything from American Apparel.
5. I don't have ironic shirts from thrift stores.

The end.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The rain, it fell. The story went on

My attempt to sleep outside two nights ago didn't go so well. It didn't get as cold as I thought it would, and when they say it's a -20 degree bag, they're not kidding. So my layers ended up on the ground outside of the sleeping bag, in prime location to get rained on. Which they did. As did I. It wouldn't have been so bad; the water wasn't soaking through the fabric. But I wasn't all the way at the top of the sleeping bag, so rain accumulated in the hood. When I sat up to look for my watch and check the time, a big puddle of water ran down to my head/back/feet. Wet wet wet. I ran inside Hamilton dorm (not mine) because I didn't feel like walking back to the upper dorms. Richie let me sleep in his room. My sleeping bag was dry by morning, though. Last night worked much better: we had our first good frost and I didn't wear as many layers so I didn't roast, and it didn't rain. However, maneuvering in a mummy bag on a hammock can be difficult. I woke up half on the ground.

Yesterday I had classes from 8:30 in the morning to 5:30 in the evening. During statistics, I graphed functions and found the area under their curves on my calculator to stay awake. TI-83+, I love you.

Yesterday was my first Agriculture Techniques class. I'm really excited for that one. The first half of the semester will be focused on vegetable harvesting and preservation, and the second half will be focused on animal ag. We picked a ton of apples and pressed cider, which was served at dinner. It was delicious. For my long term project, I think I'm going to make cheese. That should be interesting. My homework for next week is to make apple pie with Matt - everyone is demonstrating various apple preservation techniques.

Today I just have Experiential Education after lunch. We're going canoeing. Fun fun.

Here's the amazing thing about Carhartts: The dirtier they get, the better they look and feel. I bought my overalls in early August and have not washed them once, and they've been worn a ton.

Things I have learned in Vermont:
Just because the temperature is below zero doesn't mean you can't sleep outside.
If you can't smell yourself, you don't need a shower.
If you can smell yourself, you still probably don't need a shower.
Hygiene is for suckers.
Carhartts are god's gift to mankind.
Goats are kind of dumb.
If you're on the East Coast, a plant probably isn't called "Western" anything. (Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar.)

I'm still on an Avett Brothers binge.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I was in love with the place (in my mind, in my mind)

Today was the all-college work day. As part of the garden crew, I readied the vegetable beds for winter (we're expecting the first frost tonight!), picked pears, harvested wheat and winter squash, and worked in the garden of a staff member who's dying of cancer. The last part was a bit of a downer. Gardening is ridiculously satisfying. I think I want to be a farmer when I grow up. I'll buy a piece of land and have a self-sustaining organic farm with a bunch of friends. It will be amazing.

Yesterday we toured a local family-owned organic dairy farm and I PET A COW-COW. I resisted the urge to loco, poke-o, and sing like a coco puff (snap crackle pop rice crispies!). Seriously, baby cows are absolutely adorable.

Sterling operates this place called the Center for Northern Studies. It's about twenty minutes away down a dirt road in Wolcott. It's really pretty out there. It's really pretty everywhere. The CNS is basically a little house in the woods with an amazing anthropology/botany/wildlife/circumpolar studies library on the top floor and a couple classrooms. Some other students and I drove out there tonight to work on our botany projects. It's really cozy. Matt is a 4th-year student who gets a tuition credit for living at the CNS and maintaining it. He helped us find useful books and made us crepes while we drank tea, read, and kept warm by the wood stove. Super super cozy and quiet. That place makes me want to do a self-designed major that mixes sustainable farming, primitive skills, and umm anthropology? Yes. I could totally do that here. Too bad I've never taken an anthropology class.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

that's something I'd use every day!

I'm working on a big research project for school, and part of it is writing about plants from a micro climate that mimics circumpolar boreal forests. Sooo I borrowed this book that everyone said was really helpful called "Plants of the Western Boreal Forest and Aspel Parkland." It looked quite familiar, but I knew I had never seen it before. Then I looked at the authors, and lo and behold, I found that it's a Pojar/MacKinnon! Bahaha! That made me really happy and it made me miss my "Plants of the Pacific Nortwest Coast."

Also: did you know that Black Spruce, also known as Picea mariana, induces abortions in caribou? I'll keep that in mind the next time my pet caribou gets pregnant.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I bought an ax and intense John Deere work gloves yesterday. I need to sharpen the ax so I can actually use it. When I go back to Portland for winter break I'm pretty sure I'm going to get intense reverse culture shock because it's so different here.

The Gordon Stone Band played a show on the front porch of my dorm last night. As I was dancing barefoot on the lawn with a big group of people I realized just how much I love it here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A day full of water!

My group went canoing today in a lake nearby. We had our tippy tests and everyone passed. The water was a perfect temperature and the sky was clear and I probably got a sunburn. I swear I'm going to get skin cancer by the time I'm 30. I did remember to wear sunscreen today though. When we got back to school a bunch of us decided we wanted to go swimming so we drove to another lake and swam for a while. I haven't swam in a lake for a long time.

This morning we had another map and compass class and learned how to triangulate. Fun stuff.

The Gordon Stone Band is playing a show tonight in the dining hall. They're a local folk/bluegrass/blues group. I'm excited.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hello everyone. This is my public blog.

I found a bike at school yesterday. It's a cruiser that's just my size and it's tons of fun to ride. The only problems: the brakes don't really work, the gears don't shift, the seat isn't too comfortable, and it's majorly in need of a tuneup. Other than that, I love it. I went on two bike rides today: by myself this morning and with Brian from Eugene this afternoon. There are four of us from Oregon here. It's crazy.

More to come later.