I just finished up a breakfast burrito for dinner. I'll tell you the ingredients and you guess where in the country I am:
-The best tortillas ever made by humans (can't say for certain about aliens, dinosaurs, nor the Little Red Hen, I hear she's quite the baker), eggs (from this plot of land), onion, garlic (from this plot of land), kale, green chile (from this plot of land), green chile, green chile.
That's right, readers, I'm back in New Mexico! But first, I must catch you up.
The last I wrote was while in Montana. I worked on the farm in Livingston for two months (farming, walking in hills, camping, fly fishing-sort of, watching the rodeo and demolition derby, thrift shopping, learning about dandelion greens from a man convinced he'll sustain himself on them when food runs out, working farmer's markets, eating ice cream, blowing up fireworks, blowing up fireworks in marshmallows, blowing up fireworks in kiwifruits, eating popsicles, driving tractors and old trucks, light saber battling with a five year old, you get the picture). I then met Seth in Bozeman, MT, and we visited Yellowstone, of which I believe I added photographs already. Next, I drove over to Seattle, WA, where I stayed with the Pipers (our neighbor's daughter and her lovely family who treated me to an excellent birthday dinner/cupcakes!), I took a train down to Portland, OR, for a couple days to visit my friend Rachel (and make some new ones) in Corvallis, OR.
The next leg of my journey was from the middle of August to the beginning of September in Vaughn, WA, which is on the Key Peninsula, southwest of Seattle. I stayed on Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch with the Sikoras. They raise animals: sheep, goats, cows, chickens. They also have horses and we got to trail-ride a few times, which was awesome since I haven't ridden in quite a while. They had a green draft horse named Quest (for those non-horse people, green means young and untrained, and a draft horse? think Budweiser Clydesdales, the ones that play football) that I rode a bit, not nearly enough, but we made good progress considering he hadn't ever walked without being led by someone walking on the ground.
|This is me feeding Molly while she gets milked|
|This is me learning how to butcher mutton|
|This is a goat eating my underwear|
|Chopping down and moving trees|
|Moving more trees|
After Washington, I drove down to San Francisco where I stayed with the Larkins. They tolerated me for an entire 2 1/2 months, and were kind enough to show me around, recommend sights, feed me, and be the most amazing people ever. Emily and Lindsay came to visit, and it was really great to spend time with everyone together. Toward the end of my stay, my friend Rochelle facilitated a volunteering/interning opportunity at a photography lab called Rayko Photo Center, which was a really great time.
|Buster reacquainting with the ocean, hasn't seen it in a year|
|Visiting Ocean Beach with Tom and Gabrielle|
|I made Gabrielle reenact the scene from Vertigo. I was in Hitchcock heaven the entire time (if you didn't know, it was one of his favorite cities, so just walking around makes you feel like you're in his films)|
|The view from our (hehe) roof deck, Alcatraz and the bay in the distance|
|Big Sur hike|
|Lindsay in Big Sur|
|Lindsay and Emily collecting jade|
|Gabrielle, Tom, and I visited Yosemite, too!|
|Sequoia at Yosemite|
|Rochelle at Fort Cronkhite|
I was sad to leave San Francisco, but I decided to fly home for Thanksgiving through mid-January. Upon returning, I stayed one night in San Francisco (where my rear window was smashed in, nothing stolen- I'm sure they were really disappointed with my lame stash of thrifted sweaters and dirty pants), and drove to San Diego. I stayed in San Diego (Point Loma, actually) with Jon, who I had worked with on the farm in Montana. He and his girlfriend and roommates were really cool and I wish I could have spent more time there. In the morning I visited Fort Rosecrans at Jon's suggestion. If you've never visited a California military fort, you really should, I would love to make a trip of visiting all of them sometime. They basically combine all of my favorite things, managing to preserve wild open land, old buildings (sometimes complete with historical furnishings), and serve as national historical landmarks with plenty of room for education!! Fort Cronkhite (above) in San Francisco is within the huge Marin headlands, across the bridge from the city where you can hike around and check out dizzying cliffs, old weapon fortresses, maybe mountain lions, and collect pretty rocks on the beach! It's heaven. Fort Rosecrans in Point Loma (below) has a fully preserved lighthouse complete with bedroom and kitchen sets and little stories about the keeper's family. PLUS an entire separate building just housing the educational information about the history of lighthouses! Did you know that the job of Lighthouse Keeper was the first non-clerical government job available to women?!?! It's my new past-fantasy to have been a Lighthouse Keeper in a previous life.
|Fort Rosecrans Lighthouse|
|View from inside the lighthouse|
|Fort Rosecrans military graveyard. As if I couldn't love it anymore they throw in a graveyard! These Californian military historians really know me.|
|On our way to Tempe with Buster's broken window|
|Arizona landscapes are quite different from anywhere else I've been|
** OH MY GOSH! I can't believe I forgot to thank Julia and Ted and Rose and Ann for keeping my car at their house for the time I went home. I am so glad I got to visit with them, meet both girls, and see all the Bethels upon returning!
And for that matter, I should probably just throw a huge Thank You out there to everyone who has housed, fed, met up with, hung out with, or showed me around. People have been more than generous on this whole trip, and it really wouldn't be possible without everyone's kindness.