The land is illuminated in an eerie way, dimly with thick gray clouds overhead. I think it would be exciting for Elaina to give birth tonight during a storm. With the half moon above. But it looks like she is holding out for another night. She is behaving differently these days, but it doesn’t mean it’s happening quite yet.
It is very still out here with only robin clucks. I am in the hammock, though daylight is dwindling and a few mosquitoes are buzzing, but it is stuffy in the trailer. It was in the 90s again today.
I hit a big rock with the mower this morning and broke a spindle. Mike fixed it. Then I got the thing stuck on the side of a hill. Mike got it unstuck. Then the belt snapped. So I called it a day with the mower. Mike later fixed it. Then I went to chip some wood but I couldn’t get the chipper started! So I called it a day with that too. Mike later fixed it. I moved on to the weed whacker and did not break that.
Today I rode the lawnmower around in circles. Then I overflowed the duckling’s water and turned their marsh into a full on pond. So we had to tear apart the whole thing and clean it at 8pm. Oops. I’m getting better at milking… sorta.
My hands smell like goat’s milk. Not like the refreshing beverage from the store, but like warm and sticky bodily fluid. Today I got a little more to come out but my aim is all wrong. It runs down my arm and squirts on my shorts – not even close to the cup! Liane’s been very patient with me. But I caught her giving me this expression over her shoulder that reminds me of the way Sugar would roll her eyes at me.
A cougar was allegedly spotted today at the edge of the property. The goat kids were making progress with being weaned but now separating them from mom means that one of the two groups will go unprotected.
I went hiking today and was dumbfounded by the bird sounds, walking around with a crook in my neck and frown on my face. I’ve possibly never seen so much poison oak in my life – arching over the trail at waist height, like evil snakes trying to entrance you. I did well at avoiding it until I saw a fresh pile of bear poo and then my focus strayed and I think some brushed my ankle, and finger, and arm. Will find out in a few days I guess!
Nashville warbler and ash-throated flycatcher are vocal at dawn. And turkey. A scrub jay, a crow. The lilac bush glows. The sun moves quick – the shadow on the ridge drops before my eyes.
I got bit by a goat today, because I thought it was so cute to let them nibble on my fingers. Turns out they have sharp back teeth. Tried my hand at milking this morning and got about a half an ounce. It takes practice. It’s a relief to be around goats – no need to fear for your life every time you’re in back of one. And let me tell you, that bite was a pin prick in comparison to the bite of that mustang Emma Grace.
Goats are way cuter than I imagined. There’s chickens, thank the lord, because eggs and entertainment. There are 4 ducklings that are deathly afraid of humans. And a huge black bunny, bigger than the cat. 2 cats. One is skiddish and one has an eye ulcer.
It’s so insanely beautiful here. It feels the way Trinity did to me in the spring, and it brings back all those feelings of bliss and invincibility. Until I’m laying here at the end of the day half paralyzed from hours of digging and gardening and running and sunshine (because I’ve been so lazy for the past 6 months)…!
I have arrived at Twin Pear Farm. How did I not know that this lush, beautiful, picturesque Applegate Valley exists? I love this place already just based on the drive in. My trailer is nice as fuck. Came equipped with a ton of coffee, towels, aloe and sustainably sourced facial tissue. The trailer is decked out with camo decour. The sheets, the blanket, curtains, lampshade. So great. Westi was sure to explain that it came that way, they did not, and would not ever, choose that pattern.
A breeze is already moving through the yard at 8:30. The scene before me is so alive with bird activity – finches singing from the trees, orioles calling from the big oak, doves singing from the north, a pewee off to the south, a sparrow singing from so deep in the brush it’s almost inaudible, there’s a Cal towhee stretching its wings in the shade, and cowbirds at the feeder. I’d be lying if I said they’re not beautiful, the way their brown heads glow chestnut in the morning sun against their cloaks of midnight.
When Papa Claude tells you to do something, you do it, because he knows best. Yesterday he could see I was discontent so he told me to go for a ride in the quad, so I did. And it was fun! I feel like a little kid when I’m here a lot of times. We went on down to Walmart to get a new band for my watch. I drove Joe (GI Joe, the 1945 army jeep). And then we went for a ride in the Model A and I got to drive! Yes, I feel like a little kid. We also worked together to make a new cap for my power steering fluid! It’s been a fun and heartwarming day.
I am off to start WWOOFing at Twin Pear Farm tomorrow. I feel similar to when I left here for the ranch a year ago – ready for a salvation from the road and a place to exist for more than just a few days. I am manifesting so much positivity, though trying not to have hopes or expectations.
Mountains appeared on the horizon this morning just before 10. I knew they were coming, as the roadsides started showing topography upon entering Wyoming. I am in the west now. The American West. I first set foot in this state 4 years ago and it looked the same as it does today – pale, light blue sky, strewn with thin, wispy clouds, and green hills, with freight trains inching by. I’m sure they’re not actually inching, they probably travel at high speeds, but the landscape is so massive that they appear to just crawl along.
I was greeted warmly by Bill and Jo as I pulled up, and I was told to stay for days. Bill got the sauna going and we sat in there for a while chatting. It was nowhere near as hot as the sweat lodge, but still intense. Upon entry the warmth was a comfort from the wind outside, but very quickly my face seemed to be melting off. You think that is a figure of speech, but I used my hand to investigate the situation multiple times, pushing my cheeks back into place. He threw water with peppermint oil on the rocks, which was an odd sensation, as adding water makes steam that intensifies the heat, but the mint entering your orifices and gaping pores feels cool. It is easy to forget there is a world out there when you are sweating. When I re-entered the yard I was overwhelmed by the deep gray clouds and pare aspen shaking in the wind. I staggered to the creek side feeling cleansed and rejuvenated, though dizzy and drenched in my own sweat, and I remembered why I am here. Not in Wyoming, but in existence.
I crossed the Mississippi last night as dusk settled on the plains. In Illinois the trees of Michigan and Indiana turned into fields, and at times, the air was heavy with chemicals. I just said goodbye to someone I’ve spent nearly the past 120 days with. Friends and family frown and ask me why I am leaving then. Well, I am always leaving something behind. I couldn’t stay right now anyway.
I slept on some hunting grounds north of Des Moines. Those places are always good because it’s public land. The night was mild with starry skies and I awoke only once from coyote cries blaring from just beyond the bushes. It had been so long since I’d heard such sounds and the volume alarmed me at first, until my sleep soul remembered they are just fiends in the night. In the morning I awoke just after sunrise to a full choir of red-winged blackbirds and a screeching jay leading the bunch. It is Sunday morning.
Exhausting being on the road – lots of time for the mind to wander. I made it within 20 miles of Wyoming but I can’t go any further tonight. Very defeating to drive through Nebraska all day and not make it out. Driving straight into the wind, might I add. I had no sleeping locations in mind tonight but I found a park on the map that I was hoping I could sneak into for the night. Turned out to be a free campground… so I am not even breaking any rules this time. I am excited to sleep under the stars for the first time since the fall. I hear a duck from the dark void to my right which is the reservoir. A few chirping frogs. Something unknown. Periodic splashes, large ones – geese? Distant drone of highway men. So happy to be horizontal (and) on the earth.
Feeling like I’m in a good, safe place. The robins take turns singing from their respective parts of the block. Slight breeze, green grass, bare feet. White disk brushes fingertips and rolls onto the sidewalk. Blonde bun, so hip. A stray mason jar of water on the rail, a birdie lies halfway between the wide open door and the wooden stairs. Footsteps on the roof. Swaying hammocks. This situation is very hip, it’s a pleasure to be here.
We recited poetry from the stairs after waking up dumb and dazed. Lazy morning. I guess it’s Sunday. Lazy Sunday morning turned afternoon, while we must have been looking away.
“The wind’s picking up.”
“Maybe I should go bring Taylor some mac and cheese.” We’re not 22 anymore, it seems.
“I feel like a winner today.”
“The sound of trash rustling in the wind.
Did you write that one down? Please write that down.”