This morning as I was driving to work I became embroiled in local Farm Drama.
Let me back up.
Photo by Cryptia 30 Apr 07, 10.59PM EDT.
I live, at least for the next week or so, in upstate New York. Among other things, such as a dearth of decent tamales, living upstate means being surrounded by rolling hills and farmland.
There’s a big contingent of young hipster organic farmers in the area. I live across the street from a small sheep farm. The woman who owns the farm has about 20 sheep.
Depending on which field they are in, I can hear them through the open windows in the morning. It’s nice.
This morning I drove by the sheep farm and saw a distinctly sheeplike rustling in the tall grass next to the road. Two lambs had wiggled through the gate and were standing wide-eyed on the wrong side of the fence.
I pulled over and tried to find the farmer, but her truck was gone. It was up to me. The occasional car whooshed past the loose sheep.
I was wearing Work Clothes. I wasn’t prepared for any sheep wrangling, but I decided to try anyway.
The whole thing ended anticlimactically. The lambs were so terrified to see me walking toward them that they wiggled back through the gate. Problem solved. I left a note and went to work strangely pleased with my ability to frighten sheep.
owing to the demands of my own powerful curiosity, I have agreed to a give an exclusive interview to myself. My publicist disagrees with my decision, but I believe I have a strong connection with myself and I think I can be trusted to report my answers fairly.
Q: Hello Erica. I’m glad you agreed to this interview. You have been pretty reticent with the press lately. What’s been going on?
A: There have been major changes in my life this year. I haven’t felt it was appropriate or respectful to write about them here.
Things have settled down a bit recently. I’m no longer engaged, and I’m living in rural Ithaca near some friendly horses and sheep.
Q: Wow. Do you want to talk about what happened?
A: No. Thank you.
Q: I hear you are moving to the Bay Area in the next few months?
A: I’ve been looking at the Bay Area and NYC as possible places to relocate. After visiting last week, I decided to move to San Francisco.
San Francisco is one of the geekiest, friendliest places I’ve ever been. The city is beautiful, I’ve got good friends, there are interesting projects, and I’ll be among my fellow dorks.
I’m really looking forward to learning the city, starting a new job, volunteering at 826 Valencia, and being immersed in the calm, weird, sunny West Coast atmosphere. Come visit. Bring chocolate babka.
Q: Where are you going to work?
A: An excellent question. I’ve interviewed at a few places where I would like to work. I will know more by next week. Stay tuned.
Q: Don’t you like Ithaca?
A: I love Ithaca and I adore my job at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which is why I’ve been here for four years.
However, that translates to about 40 years in Internet Time. It’s time for me to start a new project. I might return to Ithaca someday, once I’ve made my fortune. I’d like to live on a big farm with dogs, books, a wood stove, and all my friends.
Q: Ok. That covers the big topics. What else is going on?
A: I’m having the best year of my life. This weekend I swam in a waterfall, watched a turtle lay eggs, drove a sports car really fast, petted dogs, helped a friend find tractor parts, drank local beer, picked flowers, was charged by a deer, and met one of the first US African refugee coordinators who was working in Botswana in 1965.
Q: Well, thanks again for letting me interview you, Erica.
A: I’m welcome. Thank me.
Maggie and I visited the bees this weekend. She’s five and wants her own hive. No one ever told her that she’s supposed to be afraid.
We cleaned the hive, inspected for mites, and took out some honey frames. Her family watched proudly from a safe distance, and took this picture of Maggie pointing out a drone.
Life is good.
riving home through rural Ithaca I saw, within 30 seconds:
- A snapping turtle crossing the road, long prehistoric tail dragging behind her. The turtles are laying eggs this week wherever they can, including parking lots, trails, and ditches.
- A great blue heron
- A vole running across the road. Voles are apparently susceptible to some sort of brain parasite that makes them go nuts and do stuff like this. A few weeks ago, cow-orker Mary Winston and I watched one running in a small circle for five minutes. I finally caught him and put him under the dock so he wouldn’t get stepped on. It was all very Wrath of Kahn.
- Two horses and riders walking toward me in my lane. Can anyone tell me if that is standard horse-in-street protocol? Because it was hella surprising.
30 seconds. Ithaca.