"It is a pity indeed to travel and not get this essential sense of landscape values. You do not need a sixth sense for it. It is there if you just close your eyes and breathe softly through your nose; you will hear the whispered message, for all landscapes ask the same question in the same whisper. 'I am watching you -- are you watching yourself in me?' - Lawrence Durrell, Spirit of Place
When I hike up or around a mountain, geology is pretty hard to ignore. I’ve hiked a bunch in the Adirondacks, which is a dome of a mountain range, exposed about 5 million years ago as the pressure from moving glaciers pushed giant stones. The rock formations that I have climbed upon, are made of sediment that is more than 1,000 million years old. Most of the high peaks are made of up coarse and blue-ish grey anorthosite. The Adirondacks just feel old. I thought about this, as I approached the Flatirons in Boulder, CO. These, reddish rocks, tilted dramatically towards the sky, as if they were formed in one big jolt of Earth.
It begins like a storybook; I explored the Pleasant Valley, while residing on Leprechaun Lane, situated directly under what seemed to be daily sightings of double rainbows. I had the opportunity to stay with friends, on their budding new homestead in the little town of Howard, CO. Spending the entire first day soaking in their 360 degrees mountain views and other great features to their 2+ acres property. The place is pretty perfect - along with some of my favorite people around, this homestead has a dog, two cats, 8 chickens, 5 ducks, a tortoise, and so much space for activities.
I’ve driven through Kansas twice before. I don’t remember much from those drives, except wanting to get through the state much faster than the speed limit allowed. Both times, I considered visiting the Worlds Largest Ball of Twine, to break up the straight, flat, one might say “boring” views.
2.9 million people live in Kansas. Clearly, I’ve missed some highlights of this state in my last travels through. This time around, I decided it was time to make amends with Kansas.
When I returned to my parents house after visiting Fresh Pasture Farms (on the other side of my home town,) I laughed as I described the amusing antics of the young turkeys. I visited this farm, mainly to see their arrangements for egg laying chickens, in addition to my interest in their overarching approach to raising animals in rotating pasture spaces.
They let me wander across their property with some general directions and I visited most of their animals. I loved their “egg-mobile,” which was a chicken house on wheels. It allowed the chickens to free-range graze in a new location everyday. The chickens also had a Newfoundland guard dog buddy (who noticed me before I noticed him.)
But the turkeys. They made me laugh out loud. As I approached the movable fencing, they honked and squeaked and quickly made their way to where I walked. Some flapped their wings and darted through the tall grass, as if to hurrying over to greet me. I am instantly won over by a personable animal.
How does a person transition from a 9-5 job into a free-lance/self-employed/farm friendly lifestyle? ...I'm not really sure, but here are a few things I tried to get a fresh start.
1. Yoga (with Goats!)
Two days after I left my job, I attended yoga with goats at ZiegenVine Homestead. It seemed like an appropriate way to kick off this big transition. Maintaining a tree pose, while also giggling at goats being ridiculous, is a great practice in balance and general good vibes. A beautiful setting and refreshing experience, even if a goat peed on my yoga mat...
I grew up in the country.
My mom taught me to identify plants and bugs. My dad built a place for me to hang out, high up in a tree, in the woods. My big brothers showed me how to revel in the displays of dramatic summer lighting storms.
We always had pets – dogs that accompanied walks around the lake and cats that would tolerate the antics and imagination of a 5 year old. Wildlife would walk through our backyard, on the regular. And the windows of my bedroom looked out on the crooked network of branches of old oak trees.
Undeniably, this all shaped my perspective on the world.