Archive for the ‘idea’ Category

Rabbitstick

October 13, 2013

When I was looking into taking time off from work and figuring out my path it was important to me to have at least one thing to look forward to each month, be it a farm to visit, a camping trip, a trip out of the country, or a chance for learning.  During the time I was planning everything out I came across a notebook where I had written ideas for things to do in the future.  In that book was written ‘Rabbitstick’.

Living in a place where the importance of DIY, sustainability, survival, and knowledge play out in conversation daily, I knew Rabbitstick, a primitive learning gathering in Idaho would be a good option to pursue.

I left for Rabbitstick in September with all my camping gear, sunscreen, and an eagerness to do it all.  A week of learning and community, and me an open book.

I arrived on a Friday with the actual even beginning Monday after every one else (for the most part) arrives on Sunday.  I set up camp near the shadow of trees alongside a huge open meadow, next to the snake river, which would be my bath for the next 9 days.

The path to the meadow.

Image

When Sunday arrived and the place filled with over 300 more people, the teachers and schedules came out, allowing me to ponder over and sign up for classes.  Knowing that I didn’t want to spend my whole time on one thing, like 3+ days of braintanning, I signed up for smaller time contraining classes, like knife making, duck processing, duck scalping, and fire making.

I spend the next week being immersed in a very kind open community, much like the cycling one I am lucky enough to have in the Bay Area.  For these people at Rabbitstick, THIS was their community. And I was happy to see that it did exist outside of the one I know and love at home.

My favorite part aside from meeting such wonderful people all of which are so eager to share their knowledge was duck processing.  Taught by Tom, who every year holds a huge lunch feast for all of camp, I learned how to take a duck (already dead this time), and make it into a meal.

In process while plucking feathers.

Image

The finished meal, alongside the damascus steel and horn knife I assembled.

Image

Another class Tom taught was scalping the duck, which enabled you to use the feathery scalp of the duck to decorate- I chose my knife sheath.

Image

Rabbitstick is an event that taught me a lot, opened up new ideas for me to pursue (hunting, fishing), gave me a chance to camp for days on end, meet incredibly kind people doing cool things with their lives, and will be a yearly opportunity that I take advantage of to reconnect with myself and others.

Crater Lake

June 27, 2013

When I went cross country in 2007, my travel companion and I sort of stumbled upon Crater Lake.  Having come from California and with no knowledge of what Crater Lake was (regardless of the obvious name), we pictures something closer to Lake Tahoe.  You can imagine our surprise when we came across the snow capped peaks and bright reflective blue water set below us.  It quickly became my favorite spot of the entire trip.

Now that I have family in Oregon, I find myself driving pass signs beckoning my return.  Thankfully I have very adventurous friends who quickly jump at the option of visiting, taking a boat tour to Wizard Island to hike around, and camp at the park.  

The plan so far-  WWOOFing in northern Oregon with a few day trip to Crater Lake on the way.  Can’t stop smiling….

The trouble with Portland

June 11, 2013

My first time in Portland Oregon was 2007 during my crosscountry roadtrip. It was spring, the weather was perfect, and I had a gracious host who showed me around the city and gave me an experience where for the following 6 years I spoke of my utopia, Portland.

It took me 6 years to make it back. Pedalpalooza, three weeks of themed bike rides including the famed naked bike ride, goes through the month of June. I came up with my cycling group to see first hand how Portland does it. Being part of a very bike oriented subculture, we  were excited to see it all.

I additionally came to Portland because I am in such a transitional state, I viewed this trip as that extra push towards Portland, my utopia, and making a life here.

My first group ride in Portland was a Farm to Farm ride, which took us to urban farms through the city, all with different layouts and stories with how they came into fruition. The turn out was inspiring, people of all different ages, who like me loved bikes and farms and were looking for their own way to put it all together. It was a great crowd of people to be surrounded by.

I am camping in a backyard of a beautiful home, next to some chickens, along a busy bike boulevard. The traffic of bikes far exceeds that of cars. It is beautiful.

There are local artists everywhere, and I have already been invited back with a place to stay and the urging to come sale my jewelry at their last Thursdays on Alberta, where I won’t need a permit or to worry about tax!

The road infrastructure seems to be the representation of complete streets- set up to account for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars. And the awareness of all three by each group creates a carefree trip around the city.

But, I don’t want to move to Portland.

Although in Portland I feels safe, I can easily find farms to volunteer at, I could sell my art, I could meet thousands of people with similar interests, and everything cool thing I could think of (bicycle repair + bar, urban farm + dinner club, delicious themes doughnuts, to name a few) have already been done, time and time again, it is lacking a few important things.

Growing up in the Bay Area I am not accustom to such a lack of ethnic and cultural diversity, and being surrounded by a variety of different ways of thinking. I don’t crave being different, but I do crave being opened and challenge by the people around me.  I don’t know if I would get that from Portland.

I want to live in a place where much of the good ideas already in place in Portland could be beneficial and flourish. I don’t want to compete with a large number of businesses with the same mission or idea. I believe I would feel more fulfilled bringing these things to a community that doesn’t already have it.

Of course I’d be a fool to stay away for another 6 years. Portland really is a mini utopia, and has a lot to offer in terms of ideas and inspiration.  But for now, the search for the right place for me continues.

…and the planning continues

May 19, 2013

Leaving for my first farm today, Sunday . Packed and ready to go!

Spoke to another farm/homestead in Oregon for the month of August that sounds like a perfect fit- camping, survival skills, and sustainable agriculture; which during my stay I will be harvesting, planting for fall, and likely doing some hide tanning.

Outline of a year

April 2, 2013

It is wonderful how a path of uncertainty can become so clear.

The more I plan for my upcoming year the more things fall into place.

My number one concern was my cats, and thanks to amazing organizations and incredible friends I know my cats will be taken care of.  This is allowing me to further focus on my year plans and take steps for everything to come together smoothly in the way I need.

The following is a loose outline for my year…

May- After attending some amazing bike events in the bay, I will travel to Morgan Hill to work at a small farm learning new skills.

June- After leaving the farm, I will embark on a 3 day backpacking trip in Santa Cruz county.  The mid to end of the month I will be going to Portland for their yearly Pedalpalooza event.

July- I will be volunteering in the bay area including trail maintenance and Habitat for Humanity. 30th Birthday celebrations  will include mead, sushi, and Angel Island camping.

August- I am still looking for a farm to spend the month at. Hoping for one with animal husbandry preferred.

September- Attending the wedding of close friend in the Bay.  Mid month I will be traveling to Idaho for Rabbitstick (primitive learning), and possibly a trip to Boulder at the end of the month.

October- Attending the wedding of a close friend in Sonoma.  Then the much awaiting vacation time in Okinawa to visit a friend!!!

November- return from Okinawa.  Then….?

November and December are up the air.  Possibly go to Bend, Oregon…

Farm booked, application in process

March 25, 2013

I have booked my first farm!  Through the end of May I will be staying with a couple at their 1 acre farm south of San Jose where I will be busy learning some new skills in farming, doing lots of weeding, trellising tomatoes, and tending to hens.  The area is located close to Gilroy- garlic central, and will provide me with some new locales for biking and hiking.

And… after filling out a Peace Corps application and not pressing send three times over the last 10 years, I am almost complete with my application and will sending it in.  I am hopeful that the rest of this year filled with WWOOFing, Habitat for Humanity, and volunteering clearing trails I will have a hand up in finding a Agriculture or Environment placement with the Peace Corps.

More details to follow.

My year in a nutshell

March 6, 2013

I have trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life.  A task that always seemed easy as a child, but as you grow and realize the vastness of choices becomes a nearly impossible thing to decide.  Or at least that is how it has been for me.

I have worked for the same company since I graduated college in 2005, aside from a few short detours. In 2007 I ventured across the country in order to explore and help clarify things. It left me with a love for traveling, a hatred for cars, and the same uncertainty with what to do next that I had before the trip.  In 2009 I had a short stint in Southern California working random jobs (at a Charter School, at the Academy Awards, and at a delicious pizza place) which furthermore didn’t clarify what was next.

After returning to the bay in 2010, and working an additional three years at my current job, I thought I would gain me some clarity, but I am left in the same place I started- confused and unsure.  I suppose I should have referred to the saying: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  I have been slightly insane.

This is not to say my time has been a waste.  I have helped spark a group of close-knit cycling friends who my life wouldn’t be the same without.  I was a part of creating a super supportive community of friends who will ride with you any time of day, and bring you soup and medicine when you are sick.

But, it has been clear for a while that I needed a change.  To uproot myself.  To challenge myself.  To take myself out of my comfort zone and figure things out.

So, I am doing “it”.  All my belonging are going in storage. I am going to be putting myself in various situations to gain new skills, try new things, and challenge myself.  This includes WWOOFing at farms in U.S., bike camping throughout California, going on backpacking trips, volunteering, going abroad, and keeping my schedule free during certain months to be open to what comes my way.

For the first time in a long time I have no idea what this year will bring, aside from new adventures.  I have a basic outline, but no clue of what my life will be like day to day.  And honestly, the not knowing feels so freeing that I am counting down the weeks till this begins.

I will use this page to update my adventures.  So tune in for what comes next.

Rabbitstick, 2013

January 17, 2013

Rabbitstick, 2013

I met a friend of a friend a few years ago that was talking about skills they had learned that sparked an interest in me.  Being curious about researching further I wrote “Rabbitstick, Idaho” in a notebook.  A week ago I was going through notebooks, to enable better planning of 2013, which I hope includes traveling, WWOOFing, and a lot of personal exploration- and came across my note about Rabbitstick.

Researching Rabbitstick is is exactly what I have been looking for!

Lectures and hands on classes: traps and snares (so eager to learn), shelter building, food gathering.. and the list goes on and on!

2013 is gonna be a good year!

East Bay Scorchers

July 2, 2012

scorcher vest

Just shy of a year ago a few friends and I created East Bay Bike Ride Crew to meet other cyclists in the East Bay.  The groups since then has grown to over 345 members and a core group of about 30 which is affectionately known as the East Bay Scorchers.  The group since has become a catalyst for multiple weekly bicycle rides and group BBQs.

If you are in the East Bay and looking for a place to plan a group ride or join one visit: http://www.facebook.com/groups/243317479030413/

TILT, again

May 20, 2011

Ouija Boards

There is a childhood curiosity related to spirits and ghosts- the unknown lurking under your bed or in your closet that the ouija board holds for me.  It reminds me of sleep over parties with my girlfriends, and moving the oracle to see your friend’s faces overcome with fear and disbelief.  And on top of it all the hope that maybe there really is something more than meets the eye.

Cats

I have had a pet cat since I was 3 years old.  Shadow, my first cat was my best friend.  Always there to comfort me when nothing else would.  Her meow upon entering a room always put  smile on my face.  To this day, even if my cats are meowing aggressively for food, I smile at their vocalizations.  They are the ultimate cuddlers, greeting me at the door when I come home, and purring in my ear when I go to sleep.  Truly, the best type of pet around.

Book Shelves

They are the perfect combination of organization and the display of something you love.  Set into a home it speaks of someone who is read and wants to be reminded of knowledge and creativity.