30 November 2008

Whirlwind US Tour

Its been a long month. As most of you know, I got married to Joel Stizlein (hurray!) and we are now moving across the country to Portland, OR so I can go to school. We are almost to Portland, but have stayed in Teton Village for the last two days. This has been like an extension of our honeymoon, our hotel was reasonably priced because it's the off-season but its *very* nice. Pictures to come. :0) Today we visited Grand Teton National Park and went a little way into Yellowstone but neither had any through-roads because of the snow and, again, the off-season. They were both free for that reason ($25 each!) but we would have gotten in free because we got a National Parks Pass for a wedding gift (totally awesome!). There will be photos of both parks to come too.

Thus far we've driven through PA, WV, and OH, stopping in the latter for Joel's grandmother's funeral and our second reception for local friends and family. Then went on to IN where we visited Joel's old roommate who is now currently residing in Bloomington, IN which was a great town. Then we ventured through MO, stopped at the Arch in St. Louis and went through KS. Neither of the Kansas Cities (MO and KS) were cool cities, I've never been more disappointed in a city before. That part was kind of sad. Then we drove to CO to visit my (extended) family for Thanksgiving. It was good, we relaxed a bit after spending many days driving all day and into the night. Then from there we drove to Teton Village in WY. I've got to say, desolation never looked so pretty! Ha, we've honestly driven many miles through WY without another car in site and only plains and flats full of dry grass and cattle. Tomorrow we are embarking for our final leg of the trip on to OR. We'll be driviing through a little more of WY then on to ID and finally to OR. It should take about a day and a half and we should be there on tuesday.

We've got an apartment pretty secure. We're filling out applications and the studio we're applying for has no other applicants, so it looks pretty solid. Joel has an interview to be an MRI center secretary in a couple days too. Things seem like they're looking up and I will most assuredly update what happens to us next and will include pictures of our trip.

Thanks to everyone who made this all possible!!

26 September 2008

Good News

The good news is that I'm going back to school! After much thought, prayer and meditation I've decided to go back to school at PNCA. I wasn't going to for a while, and I didn't, but I think now that I've got things straightened out a little better I'm going to give school another shot.

I've also thought about the direction my work could go in and I've decided that I really want to do work with plant propagation and using the plants in my work, using them as my work, etc. I'm really excited to see where this is headed.

So after the wedding we'll be moving to Portland, OR sometime before school starts. Anyway, we're going to visit Ohio (Joel's parents) this weekend, it was going to be next weekend but both of us had an unexpected amount of days off of work so we're taking advantage of it. This way we don't even have to ask days off from work to do this!

15 September 2008

These are some photos of insects and other creepy crawlies from the farm that I'm finally uploading for you all to see!

This is a katydid, approximately 2.5 inches long. Thats one big bug!

Common house spider.

Can you spot that mantid? Hint: in the lower right quarter..

Thats the female Praying Mantis.

So things are still really rocky. I'm possibly going to California for the 3 weeks to a month before I get married to spend time with my mom (and family) and take care of wedding stuff and chill out. I still haven't decided what I want to do for sure yet because I feel bad about leaving Joel again, but we've done it before and we did it well. I also feel bad about not having involved my mom for the most part in the wedding stuff. So I don't really know what will happen, it would be nice not to have to pay for rent for sure but is that the most important thing? So many things are going on and it makes me sick to try to comprehend it all. I need some perspective.

11 September 2008

Life as it Goes

Life can be disappointing. And speaking of disappointing, I'm sorry to those of you who read my blog, or did. I'm going to try to write more. In any case, the disappointment. Yesterday Joel and I were driving around the Woodberry/Clipper Mill area and I saw the BioHabitats firm. So I decided to stop in and see if they had anything to offer. I don't know what I was quite looking for, perhaps a job, volunteer work, internship. Who knows, I just want to learn about environmental restoration. That's what they're all about anyways. ( http://biohabitats.com/ )

I was able to talk with Tim Burkett who deals with employment at the firm. It was helpful, really helpful -- and really disappointing. I found out that what I was hoping to do, willing to finish school for... just doesn't exist. I want to work outside, plant native species, rip out invasive species, collect bugs, research things and collect data. This job doesn't exist. Why not? Ask someone else because I do not know.

Now it is time to move on and figure out what I need to do. Someday I want to own a cafe and used book store. I do want to continue learning but school is so ridiculous to me. I don't want to be an executive anything, I don't want to be an artist, I can't be the biologist that I want to be. So what now? If anyone wants to give me ideas besides working in a coffee shop or retail, I would really appreciate it. I need inspiration and a goal. My goal was ripped out from me and now I feel aimless and confused. Like walking in a cloud, with diffused light and muffled sounds. Where do I go from here?

18 August 2008

Who knew working 60 hours on a farm, getting yelled at by farmers and planning a wedding *wasn't* a good thing? I certainly didn't know. So unfortunately we're calling it quits early. It was too much to handle and way too stress inducing and no longer good, fun or healthy. So in two weeks we shall say good bye to the farm. We told the farmers today and they were surprisingly calm about it. That was nice. In any case, that is the update for now.

07 August 2008


Alright, I'm just going to post the photos now with not too much text if -- I can help myself. :0)

These are some wasps next to my room's door.

And this is a silly chicken roosting in the tree. They don't usually roost in the tree since there is a roosting house where they lay eggs and also sleep at night.

It was this dirty before I swept it when Joel came. Then after done sweeping I forgot to take that picture.

What a cock! He wasn't getting along with the other chickens so they plucked out his tail feathers and now he's growing them back and feeling more confident. He's even gotten up the nerve to chase the hens (no mounting just yet).

One of the chickens. They're very friendly and photogenic.

An old dump truck and some new trucks.

Baby birds!! Unfortunately they didn't make it. I took this photo on a sunday and the next monday they were no where to be found. I was very sad. :0(


And some lovely zinnias.

The end. More to come, don't fret!

10 July 2008

Life on the Farm

So I don't have any pictures for now. Its a bit exhausting living on the farm and trying to also keep a blog is a bit ridiculous. I do a lot of various jobs on the farm and there are a few regular things too. Right now we're harvesting squash and cucumbers (both in the cucurbit family) and we just started picking tomatoes -- masses and masses of tomatoes! By the time two weeks have passed we'll be up to our ears in tomatoes! And yesterday, on the not-so-regular end of things, I shoveled chicken poop out of the hen houses for four hours. I wasn't doing it alone, mind you, which made it a lot better. So my responsibilities certainly run the gambit!

In other news, Joel and I have set our wedding date! November 8, 2008. It'll be at the Patapsco State Park outside of Ellicott City, MD. Then we're going to have a reception in Ohio and one in California for all of our friends and families and their respective states. Its tough having to figure out how to encompass everyone! We've also been thinking about having a honeymoon in the Florida Keys since we're getting married in a cold time of the year it sounded nice to be able to have a warm place to go to and do nothing after planning a wedding and finishing farming!

I've also decided to wait til the fall semester to apply to colleges. It made a lot of sense to Joel and I to wait for a bit and stay in Baltimore/Ellicott City for a while before we decide to move across the country (or wherever). It'll be much easier to focus on applying when we're not doing a million other things at the same time. There were too many things up in the air to try and fit another thing in. Or several things as the case may be.

And lastly, I turned 21 on tuesday! And I didn't even get carded when I bought a bottle of wine. Oh well, I suppose. Beth, one of my old roommates, and I went to Harpers Ferry, WV and brought burritos and hung out at Jefferson Rock for a bit. Then we went down to the Shenandoah River and waded in the water and it felt lovely! I can't wait to go back when I'm more prepared (a swimsuit and a towel, perhaps?). Then we drove back to VA, I bought my uncarded wine and we went back to the farm. I poured glasses for both Beth and I but she doesn't like alcohol so she was a good sport and drank about half and then poured the rest in my glass. It was far from the traditional turn-21-birthday but that is certainly fine by me!

And that is the update in my life and I'm sure someday I'll write more about the farm, I won't leave you hanging!

29 June 2008


Here are some photos of where I'm living and the storm we had the other night.

These are wasps and their nests that I have been cohabiting with since I've been here, and more keep coming!

It was mighty stormy last night with really fierce winds blowing. The clouds were amazing to watch and when it rained it poured! But after about 5 minutes of it pouring it kept raining but only lightly.

Last night a bat came in to roost with me while I slept. Or didn't sleep, considering it woke me up and kept me up. I thought it was either a dying mouse or a dying bat but had no idea what. So when one of my coworkers (who is a full foot and a half taller than me) got off work for lunch I asked him if he could get it down/out for me. It turned out not to be a mouse but a bat. She flew around the room after Brad moved her and reroosteed. She had beautiful wings and was a fair size.

We got two new workers today, which I believe means only two more workers are left, Joel and Oliver -- the latter whom I have no idea who he is. I will take more pictures eventually but they will most likely be relegated to sundays when I have my day off.

Things are going well. I miss Joel terribly but hopefully we'll be able to see each other next weekend! But other than that, farming has been very interesting, with the wildlife being exceptionally so.

25 June 2008

Livin' in a Barn

Hello everyone, I am truly a delinquent in my posts. But I promise pictures will be coming soon! I am truly indeed living in a barn, I am one of the luckiest people in the barn in that I have a mattress. Most people have plywood bed things that they lay a mat on. I go to the bathroom in an outhouse without a door and the dinner house is pretty bare. But besides that its a lot of fun and I'm getting use to the other parts. And I'm getting comfortable enough with the doorless outhouse too, which is a good thing since its my only option.

There are 8 workers on the farm and there are four farms on this plot of land (I think). One of the guys is named Malla, who is from Nepal, he's really funny and I think he appreciates when I laugh at his jokes. There's a new guy who started today named Zach and he goes to Brown University and is a creative writing major. Danielle and Mike went to Warren Wilson University and were environmental majors (yay!), Jeremy went to Warren Wilson (I think) but took some time off, sounds like me? And then there's me! Oh and another girl Emily but she's on vacation and I haven't met her yet.

Right now the sun has almost finished setting and I'm sitting on a piece of farm equipment near the farmhouse (not to be confused with the barn, I think they actually have flushing toilets in there!) and there are hundreds of birds singing, bullfrogs are croaking and there are a ton of fireflies.

I work on three farms on this property. I dunno how they figure out where I go but they do. Today I bundled German statice so that it could be dried. I also mulched tomatoes and cucumbers. Its nice to finally be learning how to do all this. Right now a bird is looking at me. And another one is squawking from across the gravel road. And as I said, I will be putting pictures up soon! I'm missing everyone from Baltimore and California and Arizona (where are you Rachel?) and everywhere. Its nice here but it would be nicer with people I loved. :0) I love you all!

13 June 2008

Oh, and...

This is a bit like a PS post. I made a painting for Joel for our anniversary. Its a bit of an inside joke, but yes, that *is* a capybara that has invited us to tea at his house. :0) Its called, "Jacques the Cosmopolitan Capybara and His Two Merry Guests." That would be me and Joel.

And this is my license examiner's list. I passed! And I should be getting my official license in the mail sometime in the near future.

And thats all!

12 June 2008


The day started off by being woken up by two scurrying ferrets. And by scurrying I mean, ran across my arm. Luckily I didn't freak out and it wasn't a Baltimore rat, which is what I was afraid it was before I opened my eyes. But I tapped Joel's shoulder and before I could get a word out one of the ferrets ran across his leg. So, needless to say, it was strange: the last thing I would have imagined being woken up by. Ever. Save for the one time a raccoon sniffed my face while I was sleeping on a houseboat. But thats a tale for another time. So we made flyers and posted them around the neighborhood and was stopped by one of Joel's neighbors who told us it was Joel's next door neighbor.

The ferret above is named Peanut, I later found out.

Peanut was the friendly and less psychotic of the two ferrets (the other ferret's name is Scooter, they're both girls) and decided she liked it over at Joel's house so much that she decided to come over again today (two days later). Just one ferret is fine for me!

Scooter is the lighter ferret. They're really quiet when they're sleeping, you'd never known they'd exist if they slept like this all the time! When I was looking for Peanut a while ago she fell asleep in a suitcase -- but I didn't know that so when Ron, her owner, came to look for her I panicked a little cause I couldn't find her. Not but two minutes later I was smarter than the ferret and figured where she had hid herself.

We then went up to Annapolis Rocks which is just past Frederick, in Gathland State Park. We were going up for our honorary anniversary since I wasn't here when our real one was. So it turned out okay. On our way up (2.5 miles, steep grade and 95 degrees -- I wasn't sure if it was worth it at the time) there were lovely white flowers that made the trail into a corridor of celebratory blossoms. I even said they looked celebratory before I knew what was going to happen. :0)

There was a lot of wildlife along the way too. So many spiders, caterpillars, cicadas, and so colourful too!

This photo is a story in and of itself but I'll be brief. In Western Maryland at this time of year (end of May, early June) the trees are full of caterpillars, that means, millions of caterpillars, munching on leaves and pooping. Its the funniest sensation because while its sunny it sounds like its raining, and well, it is in a manner of speaking, its just not water!

More cicadas and caterpillars.

The view from the top! We made it! Not without much ado but it was well worth it. This is where Joel and I sat for a while and talked about the last year and the good things about it. Meanwhile I was very distracted with the promised rain and the thunder that we could hear in the far off distance. But finally we got back to talking about our year together and Joel came up and sat behind me and said, "And those are all reasons why I would like you to marry me." He held out a ring for me and I threw my arms around him and said, "And I want to marry you too!" It was lovely! For those of you who are in MD, you'll see the ring in the near future but for those of you not in MD I'll be posting a picture of it in the near future cause I couldn't describe it well enough.

Its a beautiful antique ring thats about 75 years old, and came from Pittsburgh. We wanted to do something that was environmentally responsible and "green." So it fit our requirements and its beautiful! Its very elegant and subtle which is a lot nicer than flashy stuff. :0) As many of you know, I'm not flashy, ha ha.

In any case, we watched the storm clouds roll in over the hills and the farmlands towards us. The weather cooled down considerably and we both felt much better. It finally started to rain and the thunder sounded over head so we decided that it was probably a good idea to go back down before the rocks got too slippery. The rain brought out some animals that we had't seen before on our way up. We first saw a frog, and then later we saw this toad.

We saw a couple squirrels on the way up and on the way back.

And we saw a lovely iridescent green beetle, much like a June bug.

Here are the lovely white flowers again, they were so delicate and beautiful!

Here's the beetle again.

And another lovely flower that was at the entrance to the trail. :0)

I'm now engaged! Hurray! I will keep you all updated with further plans. :0)