[Editor’s note:  I started this post about a month ago.  The day before the first hail that decimated my garden and my positive outlook on life.  I had a rough couple of weeks bouncing back from the weather.  This post is unfinished, but it can offer a bit of an update for those of you looking for one.]

The past month has brought new life to my soul.  I’ve tried to put a finger on it, but I don’t know if there have been specific things that have caused the change for me.  Here’s a couple of highlights for you.

The stress of my 19 credit spring semester ended much better than I expected.  I don’t know if this is because my professors were extra lenient with grading the final papers and exams, or if I had finally felt confidence in the material we had been covering all semester.  I had a pretty heavy load with a lot of 100 level classes I needed to get out of the way.  I felt like I struggled more with my 100 level plant biology class than I did with a 400 level vegetable production class I took last fall.  I think this is because I have a really hard time getting my head around information at the microscopic level, but if I can put my hands on something I have a much better grasp on it.  The majority of classes that I’ll need to take are the hands on/ I can see with my naked eyes what’s going on type classes, so I’m pretty excited about those.  I will be taking Organic Chemistry over the rest of the summer.  The class will start in a week and run for 8 weeks.  I wouldn’t say I’m looking forward to this class at all, but I’m glad I’ll be taking it by itself.  And I’ll be glad to be done with it.

I started a summer internship about a month ago.  I’m working on an 8 acre, certified organic farm that has a 75 member CSA program as well as does research on green manures, no-till planting, organic hops production,  and variety trials of a bunch of different vegetables.  I really like being able to be out on the farm every day.  I love the feeling of dirt under my nails and the sun on my face.  I love the fact that my body reminds me of the work I’ve accomplished.  I love the rhythm that cultivating land leads too.  To be honest, there has certainly been a fair share of hard, frustrating work.  I spent nearly an entire week fighting with drip tape for our irrigation system.  I would try to unroll the tape off of a spool (that would inevitably get snagged on itself), walk off 450 feet of tape (the length of a single row), hook up the tape, and then try to patch all the holes. Four days of this drove me crazy.  I’ve also had a good amount of time to work on tasks like weeding, which allow me time to do a lot of thinking.  Having the chance to work on a farm is giving me great fodder for thinking about issues surrounding organic, local, and sustainable food systems.  I started another blog as a way of focusing my thoughts on these issues as well as reflecting on my time on the farm.  It’s called Field and Table and you should click the link and join me over there, too.

I’ve been driving less and less these days.  We live about a 1.5 miles from campus and about 9 miles from the farm.  There’s a grocery store about a block away, and Old Town Fort Collins is about 3 miles away.  Because of the close proximity to the majority of things that I do or need on a regular basis I’ve been able to bike or walk most days.  I have an old Gary Fisher mountain bike that I’ve been riding since 1996.  It’s served me well.  It traveled with me through 4 states and has been a reliable work horse, but it’s pretty outdated  as far as components go.  I had been looking for a bike to replace the Fisher; one that would be a bit more road worthy.  The knobby tires on the Fisher are great if I’m hitting up a single track or wanting to hop off a curb or roll down some stairs, but it sucks energy when I’m rolling on pavement.  I thought about getting a new set of rims and tires with some road slicks on it, but the gearing was still set up for mountain rides.  I started looking for something used, but didn’t really find what I was looking for.  I wanted a bike that I could have a rack and bags set up on the back and maybe one day have a trailer to pull behind.  L and I stopped at Full Cycle and I found the perfect bike for what I wanted.  I rode a few different models and fell in love with a Kona Dew.  It sat right in my modest price range, and had most of what I was looking for.  I slapped some fenders and a rack on it.  I’m looking around for a pannier for the rack, but I’m not sure I really want to shell out $120 for something that I might not use all that much.  Here’s a pic:

BikePretty slick huh?  I think it needs a name, though.  Any suggestions?

Let’s see, what else… Oh yeah, the weather, more specifically, the rain!  It has been a wonderful month of spring weather.  With the unusual amount of rain we’ve seen over the past month I’ve been reminded of how much I miss rainy weather.  For nearly 5 years I have been slowly forgetting what it’s like to live in wet climate.  I’m certain that the cool, rainy weather wont stick around for too much longer, but I sure am enjoying it while it’s here.  Since it’s been raining so much, I’ve gone out to buy a new book to read.  It’s been great to sit and read and listen to the sound of rain.  Also, the rain has reminded me that if I will have a farm of my own one day, the dry climate of Colorado is not for me.  Because of the small amount of annual rainfall we receive, farmers are forced to rely on irrigation to ensure that the crops are getting all the moisture they need, but the water laws are so ridiculous and the cost for water rights are so expensive it makes it really difficult for a young farmer to secure the water that they need.  I’ve got a few more years before I need to really think about all that stuff, so I’m enjoying the rain while it’s here.