Tag: goats

Guess who’s back?

Whooooa!

Where in the world is Lauren, now? I’m in the magical, mystical land of Mt. Shasta, CA, where people come to reflect, heal, and embark on spiritual quests.

What am I doing here? Well, right now I’m sitting in a tavern called “The Goat” and using their wifi to update my blog!

Honestly, the fact that this town has a tavern called “The Goat” just makes me all the more convinced that I’m exactly where I should be.

IMG_20131125_124030_440~2 (1)

Goat Lady 4 LYFE!

That’s a picture of me and Freida, one of my boyfriend’s goats. Yes, I have a boyfriend now. One of the many reasons I haven’t been keeping up with my blog.

What else have I been up to? Well, aside from changing careers, radically shifting my lifestyle, and moving to the opposite side of the country, I found a new life partner, was a damn proud bridesmaid in the wedding of my only brother to an amazingly rad woman, I sold the trusty subaru I drove across the country with to buy a gigantic, old 3/4 ton pickup truck named Daisy and learned to drive her STICK SHIFT in Portland, OR during rush hour. I’ve also been living on a little farm in the mountains of Northern California without electricity, and DEFINITELY no wifi.

1504089_10101400367489176_591962684_n

That’s me and my brother on his wedding day. I’M SO PROUD! Yaaaaay love!

So please forgive me for not keeping you fine folks entertained with the crazy stories of my silly little life. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s just because I’ve been living like a cavewoman AND LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

But I digress, I came to Shasta because…

because they have a tavern called “The Goat” and I can sit here at a table by myself and rekindle my old blog flame while oh so daintily sippin on what might very well may be the ONLY IPA from the northwest I haven’t tasted yet. Where any dude who was thinking of hitting on me will be instantly deterred by the pile of garlic fries I’m shoving into my face with joy. *psst- this place covers regular old french fries with raw garlic and chopped herbs and makes them the most incredibly delicious man-repelling things I’ve ever eaten*

So yeah, I believe that Mt. Shasta is where I need to be right now. I’m renting a small cottage at the end of a private road for what I’m calling a “Creative Retreat.” I have goals, one of which is to rejuvenate this blog and generally get back into the habit of writing every day, but I also just want to freaking relax. R-E-L-A-X, yo. After completing my very first farming season, and after living with and working for a new love on his off-grid farm, and before getting thrown back in to the crazy 60+ hour per week schedule of working on yet another new farm and meeting yet another group of new people, this little rugged-ass biotch needs a rest.

I’ve undergone so much change in the past year, that I honestly just felt like I needed a break from it all. A little cave of solitude. A BAT CAVE!

Our ancestors believed that the mountains were gods, and when they needed some healing, insight or energy restoration, they fled to them like a baby to his momma. In that, way, I feel like what I’m doing right now is natural and maybe even.. right?

Today is the first day of March, meaning last month was February (seeeee, I haven’t completely lost touch!) The month of love. This past month, loving myself and re-discovering my inner voice has been a major theme. I started seeing an energy healer, who has helped me tremendously in my efforts to let go of old issues I was clinging to from as far back as my early childhood. I also started meditating again and even had a session with a “fierce cheerleader” who basically told me how awesome, courageous, smart and intuitive I am for 20 minutes.

1455175_10101702611774242_1887742625_n

LOVE! My other half and I at a bar in NYC. Picture taken by another little love who I left on the beast coast.

A few years ago, I would have considered it strange, ridiculously self-indulgent, and really unnecessary to do such things. I’d be all like “pfft, who the f#*k does that girl think she is. treating herself like a damn princess!” But why not? This is MY life. I’M the one in charge, here. If I say I deserve this kind of attention, then who are you to argue with me, dammitt? Eh? Ehhhhhh?

What I’m trying to say is, I’m happy because I make the time to be. You should, too. YOU SHOULD, TOO! I love you just as much as I love these garlic fries… and this gorgeous volcano I’ll probably end up climbing.. if I feel like it.

1958365_10100350705944519_248165690_n

This bartender has been more than patient with me, so I think it’s about time for me to publish and perish this place. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate this garlic breath, anyway.

too much horror business

This past weekend, I made my first trip back to Seattle since coming out to the farm. In addition to visiting a very good friend from Jerz, I was delighted to encounter some pretty horrid anxiety attacks there.

This was completely unexpected. I used to live in a city. My lifestyle is heavily based on interacting with friendly strangers and sometimes making stellar connections. What gives? I do not know for sure, but I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been living in the middle of nowhere for the past two months, with a small circle of less than a baker’z dozen people constituting my entire social life..

I also wasn’t used to the traffic. The congested roads which seemed to be swallowed up by all the buildings surrounding them. The pervasive gray dampness. And all_those_people. Sweet jebus.

My friend and I went to see Mirah perform at a Cathedral Saturday night. I was already really flustered and starving by the time we arrived. I made some major mistake at the parking garage, which prompted the lady working there to chase my car down and scream at me. I have been learning so much at the farm that information such as “how to use parking garage” just started slipping out my ears. I apologized profusely to the nice lady and explained to her that I don’t use parking garages very much anymore, but “I can milk goats, now.”

Aaaaaanyway,when my friend started walking slowly up the church aisle in search of a good seat, I straight up froze. I crouched and hastily crept up behind my friend like a fat kid trying to sneak into the kitchen, grabbed her shoulder, and begged her to sit in the back row with me. “I’m really sorry,” I said, “but I’m kind of freaking out here.”

Mirah’s angelic voice swirling around the cathedral definitely helped me calm down fast, as did the lollipop I had snuck in with me. Lollies help me focus and relax for some reason. It also felt wonderfully impish to suck on one in a church.

I carried my leatherman and a bandana in my pockets and noticed that the people around me smelled more like flowers than animal poop. I sat on the floor in a hotel room full of soft, cushy, CLEAN pieces of furniture. I worked mushrooms and/or goats into every conversation.

So, yeah, it was kind of weird, but overall a great trip to the city. I remember my first drive from Seattle to Royal City. As I passed through the mountains (btw- the drive East through the Cascades is way nicer than the drive West), into the vast emptiness on the other side, I thought to myself, “oh man, there is NOTHING out here!” This time, I saw the open space and felt it welcome me like a giant warm blanket fresh from the dryer. I let out a sigh of relief and felt happy to be in the place I’ve chosen to plant myself for the next 6 months. I don’t know if this weird spazzy behavior will continue for future trips into the city or not.

In other news, I’m eating so much freaking goat milk/cheese/ice cream/whey from Penny that I think she believes I’m her kid.

20130422_174313

 

oh, goats

I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel.

20130323_074500

Real free range chickens. You never know where one is going to pop up.

I have some terrible news. Four of the baby goats that I wrote about last week died. They all belonged to the same mother, and she’s very, very sad. The day after they were born was a cold and blustery one (we get 40 mph winds out here) and in addition to the four goat casualties, the entire asparagus field froze. Needless to say, morale was very low on the farm that day.

It was the first really awful day I’ve had out here, so I guess we were about due for a reminder of how hard life can be sometimes. I just wanted to curl up in a ball with my roommate’s dog and watch sci-fi movies all day, but calling out of work just isn’t an option here.

It was also (not surprisingly) the first day I felt really lonely. I’m out here all alone on a farm full of freaking couples. Ew. Blek. (jk). Not only am I without a close friend, but I’m also the only one who doesn’t have a close friend on the farm or in a town nearby.

Realizing this made me evaluate my situation more closely. Why I decided to come all the way out here, what I’m trying to accomplish, and how it compares to my previous experiences traveling alone in far-off places.

In 2010, I traveled around South America a bit by myself, hoping to do some major soul-searching, transformation and self-development. However, I was also kinda sorta trying to maintain a long-distance relationship which turned out to be emotionally and physically abusive. We were in contact every day. A friend I had met while volunteering in Perú even mentioned that she recalled my relationship “strongly affecting” me when I was there. I was only really on my own during a 4 week yoga detox in the Amazon, when I told my boyfriend I didn’t think we should be in contact. Looking back now, it seems like half of me was still living my old life in the US the entire time.

Whatever progress toward healing I had made in South America that year quickly dissipated upon returning to my home state. I tried to fall back into my old life, which felt even more uncomfortable than it had before I left. Tight. Restrictive. Itchy.

Whatever it was that led me to up and leave in the first place (maybe I’ll ponder that later) was unresolved. I didn’t really do it right the first time, but now I’m pretty sure I got me right where I want myself. Feels good. Yes, I am lonely sometimes, but I’m also very grateful to be single and free.

The first time I heard this song was on a 13 hour bus ride which marked the beginning of a journey that would change my life forever.

I’m right where I want to be, doing what I want to do, and it was all my idea. I remember a conversation with a co-worker at the camping store I used to work at back in NJ. It was sometime during the remarkably long and drawn out process of separating from my ex-boyfriend. He told me I “need a man.”

“I don’t need a man,” I corrected him, “I need a saxophone, a dog, and to move out of my parents’ house.” Those were my priorities. I wouldn’t even entertain the  possibility of another relationship until I had those things.

Welp, now I pretty much have everything I wanted, except the dog technically belongs to my roommate. I got it all. Everything I asked for. Thing is, I still don’t want a boyfriend. I couldn’t be happier with my life just the way it is right now. Why would I want to go and change it? Besides, Nikola Tesla died a virgin and there isn’t a single person reading this who doesn’t owe their happiness to him <3deadgaynerdcrush<3

It’s as if I’ve found some kind of peace and stillness that’s really comforting. However, with all that said, I can already feel the ground rumbling from far off in the distance.. Peace and stillness never last very long. Something major is going to happen to shake my life up, and it’s coming in the next few months, so I’m focusing hard on being present and APPRECIATING EVERY MOMENT RIGHT NOW WHILE I CAN.

The cheese stands alone.

I feel like I should close this one with a namaste or something.

namaste, yo.

sleep is overrated

So many fun things going on at the farm. I often think to myself, “I should go inside, get my phone, take pics and blog about this.” But instead, I stay outside and continue doing/observing it.

I’m really, really happy here. The kind of happy that is difficult to peel myself from and run to some kind of techno-device. And since things have picked up a lot around here, I’m pretty wiped out by the end of the day. But for some reason, I can not freaking fall asleep tonight. And so, my friends here is a quick update:

I live and work on a small organic farm called Cloudview, located in the middle of Washington state’s big-ag dominated desert. The closest town is about 45 minutes away, and they love cowboys

I often drive some number of hours to some town on the weekend to buy things we can’t grow and explain to people what the hell a girl from Jersey is doing all the way out here. It’s definitely the most sparsely populated area I’ve ever spent a substantial amount of time in. I really dig it.

I get awful cell reception, so carrying my phone on me is kinds of pointless. I temporarily canceled my netflix subscription until the new Arrested Development comes out, so I’m more inclined to spend my free time on more constructive cognitivities.

A run “around the block” is a nice, flat 5 mile loop, and I can see home the entire time. The sunsets are gorgeous and the stars are freaking brilliant. I’m told that the aurora borealis is visible at certain times, but I haven’t seen it yet.

I’m thousands of miles from anyone I’m close to and completely free from social and family obligations. You better believe I’m reveling in this rare opportunity to the max. Everyone who lives and works here is friendly and intriguing. Sometimes I really enjoy sitting around a campfire at night, drinking beers (or tea) and eating asparagus straight from the ground. But, if I need some *me* time, no one seems to mind if I pass on socializing to lock myself in my bedroom like a reclusive, eccentric artist for several hours.

I’m sharing a very comfortable living space with a wonderful guitar playin, mountain climbin, beer lovin, spicy food eatin carpenter who owns the dog of my dreams, sweet cast iron cookware and shelves of books I want to read. Can you imagine a more perfectly compatible roommate for me?

2013-03-06 17.37.15

Sometimes I grab this lady and run with her on irrigation roads through fields of clover. I could probably do it naked, too. Sometimes I can be found on the hilltop at the truck farm with my sax, blowin notes into the sunset.

2013-03-05 13.36.21

There are TONS of spiders here. One just dropped in front of my computer screen.

Lots of cats, too.

Photo on 3-23-13 at 7.59 AM

This is Frank. I accidentally stepped on him in front of a huge group of people who were touring the farm. Frank forgivz.

I’m getting ripped. Sometimes the first thing I do iwhen the sun comes up is hurl a 100lb bale of damp alfalfa into a wheelbarrow or wrestle a runaway goat back into its pen.

20130322_154545

Notice how Buckwheat is NOT inside the fence with the other goats? That’s because he’s a punk and tests the electric fence for weaknesses in order to lead a large-scale goat breakout. Madness. Jerk.

With the exception of tonight, I generally sleep soundly and am on a nice regular routine that my body has been missing. My diet is dang near 100% unprocessed, organic wholesomeness and I have all the fresh air and exercise I could shake a stick at. Well, I do have this gigantic container of animal cookies my parents sent me in the mail.

Speaking of mail, one of my favorite things to do is put together care packages for my friends and family all over the US, then wake up ballz early to drive 15 miles to Beverly, WA and visit mah grrrl Dolores at the post office before work. I drive fast on completely empty roads, through the cliffs of insanity and mountains in the background while bumping Crystal Method (rrrrrrrrreal effing loud) in my subaru. Trippaaayy.

2013-03-11 08.09.50

Keep it classy, Beverly!

Happy news, we just got some BABY GOATS!

20130410_174733

Seven, in fact.

20130409_181250 20130409_181317 20130410_172131

I can’t believe I cut off some of his nose. Cell phone camera fail.20130409_181320

BFFS

20130410_142133

Here is some bloody part of a goat baby coming out of Penny’s vagina. I decided not to post pics of the placenta trails, but I do have some if anyone is interested. Penny squeezed FOUR kids out today. Good job, Penny! Sadly, I wasn’t around to see any of them born because I was packing orders all day.

20130410_172124

Ya got sumthin on yr face, kid.20130410_172316

Okay, so here are some videos.

Kid pile!

oreo cookie b00mz

that’s all. I think I’ll nap for three hours before getting up do do it again tomorrow. Oh yeah, I’m going to see Sandor Katz (the fermentation dude) talk in Olympia. Yeahhhh.

what a bleating heart

One of the farm jobs I’m most excited about is caring for the goats.

2013-03-09 08.05.18

haha jk! I know (now) that those are sheep!

Here are some of the goats

2013-03-09 08.05.59

That little black dude up front is my special buddy. Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted a small black goat named Gregory. This was inspired by one of my favorite children’s books, “Gregory The Terrible Eater,” about a rebellious little goat who prefers salad to garbage.

When I was first introduced to the goats, I inquired about the little black one’s name. The farmer told me she couldn’t remember the names of the little ones because they were just going to end up in a burger and she was trying not to get attached.

Mixed emotions at that news, but joyous enthusiasm came out on top.

“Perfect! His name is Gregory. And he’s mine.”

Dreams really do come true.

Today, I had the pleasure of helping trim the goats’ overgrown hooves. The two females are very pregnant and therefore VERY fussy, so we decided to hold of on their mani/pedis until after they give birth. I am SO stoked for baby goats!

Aside from dog sitting/walking, I’ve never worked with animals before. Today I jumped right into it, gettin down and dirty with some GOAT WRASSLIN.

I learned that goats do not appreciate having someone else trim their nails the way that humans do. They kick and head butt and run. And they are FAST. Gregory was particularly difficult since he’s so young and not used to getting trimmed. He was the first goat I had to pin down to the ground while someone else trimmed the hooves.

Most of the other goats were happily distracted by a smorgasbord of grain to munch on during the process, but Greggie-poo was so anxious, he didn’t even look at the grain! He kept squirming and trying to head butt me with his tiny horn stumps.

“Maybe you should straddle him.”

Dear god.

“Okay.”

Gaby (one of the farmers) and I wrestled Gregory to the ground again and I sat on him like he was a tiny pony. Trying to keep him from spazzing out and head butting me, I struggled awkwardly to hold his head down without poking his eyes out or choking him. Every time his rumen gurgled beneath my arms, I feared he would blow chunks all over my face. And he SCREAMED!

“I’m sorry!” I would exclaim and pull back, only to have Gaby ensure me that he was totally fine.

Gregory just would not submit. He struggled against me the entire time, despite my attempts to coach him through some deep breathing techniques for relaxation.

The other little goat (brown dude next to Gregory in the picture) was a little bit easier.. kind of. This one was a runner. He bolted and made three of us chase him.

However, this time Gaby showed me a good method for “flipping a goat over” that made it a lot easier for me to get on top of it and pin it to the ground in a much more comfortable way. It was exactly the kind of thing I would have never been able to do if I hadn’t just taken a deep breath and gone for it without thinking. After flipping him down, I basically just layed across him for what seemed like forever. It was a nice shoulder workout.

Little brown dude still bleated a bunch, but he was chill enough to nibble on some grain while other people were trimming his hooves. He even rested his head on the ground and kinda tickled my side a few times.

I still like Gregory better because he’s black and his name is Gregory.

So, yeah. That’s my goat wrasslin story.