Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ok, Back!

All right internet. I think we should try again. I know I wasn't as attentive as I should have been. I could have written more and maybe I didn't always tell you everything. But I can change, baby, I can change!

Ok, in all seriousness, I have left out a few chapters that could have been nicely encapsulated in blog posts for a handful of strangers and myself to read. I left out my most recent job as a botany technician in the Missouri Ozarks. I can't recall if I filled in on the Christmas tree job, but I'm trying to block that out in real life anyway. Did I write about Earthship internship? Wow I suck! Ok, well working on it. Give me a second chance.

So from way back when - from new-path search back in the back-from-abroad-wrecked-knee-break-up period if the shiningly shitty Spring Semester of Junior year, I discovered that they actually pay people to get on fishing boats and check on what the boats are catching. About two and a half years later, and two official transcripts sent, I had an interview with Saltwater Inc., a marine observer consultant company. I was hiring in the very same phone conversation in July. I'm getting on a plane in two days for Anchorage. I'm anticipating the job to be a lot of rocking it in insane weather on a boat in the Bering Sea, collecting a ton of data, handling all kinds of odd creatures from the deep, and doing a ridiculous amount of paper work. I'm excited to be working closely with both the Department of Fish and Game, and fishermen simultaneously. The connections, conflicts, and actual execution of the regulated relationship of private enterprise and governmental conservation especially interest me. Is there tension? Resentment? Cooperation? I have been finding that many people that make a livelihood from natural resources grasp the purpose of conservation regulations, yet still feel the regulatory bodies overstep the boundaries of individual rights and over-manage to the point of wastefulness. At least that was a common story in Missouri this summer.

So I've packed my East coast return into a whirl-wind week, and once again the bag is packed. I'll try to keep a better record of my experiences here. This job could pan out perfectly for my lifestyle since it allows me to work seasonally - three month contracts at a time - and take time off to do all the other crazy stuff that is as important to me as biological work. Excited, anticipating, uncertain.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Quit Your Job

The greatest fallacy of our time is that we need the very objects of our destruction. We will starve without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. We will freeze without nuclear power, gasoline, and coal. We will be meaningless and penniless without the jobs that consume us. We are so baffled by the bulk and aimlessness of our masses that we cannot imagine a way to fit ourselves back into a circular system of nature. We have come to invalidate our very core of innovation. When young people, even intelligent young people, think an organic, diversified farm system couldn't possible be as productive as the 3,000 acre corn field that only knows human hands through the controls of a combine, then the strength of society is diminished and we embrace our own demise. When we can only see sustainability as a loss to the human experience instead of the pinnacle of it, we have lost ourselves and lost sight of humanity.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hey Zoe, what are you doing with your life, dumby?

Well! Glad you asked.
Now that I've just completed my hermitship in Vermont for a month and a half, recovering from my latest farm heartache and reminding myself why I like having a job and friends and a life, I've returned to civilization to, at long last, reach the ever approaching light at the end of my cold, dark, limited-internet tunnel. This light takes the form of my new Christmas tree job in New York City. I feel like I've explained this story way too many times, but here's one more go! I will live in a trailer in a lot/street corner/whereverthefuck in the city with a few other workers (mainly young vagrants who just graduated college and don't want to admit that they have no idea what their doing and aren't able to settle down yet into the futility of adulthood) in order to sling overpriced trees to holiday-abiding good 'ol Christian city folk.
I've been led to believe by my own imagination that an underground society forms among us tree sellers. We are a transient, shifting, and non-traditional culture, but a culture none the less! We drink whisky from a dented mental flask inscribed with someone else's grandmothers name because we can and it's cold but mostly because we can. We feel superior to our desk-job bound clientele, preferring our mimunalistic, semi-homeless lifestyle. We feel good about ourselves because we pretend that we enjoy and explore the city more that her very residents. We are also always either cold or wet or drunk or looking for free food or on our 12th hour of work or any combination of these things.
But this is just what I imagine. I start on Monday and I am beyond exhilarated. I'll let you, dear internet, know how it goes.

"But Zoe! That's only work until Christmas! What the heck are you doing after that you big silly grown-up!"
Ah, an apt assessment! Well, I've decided it might be time to put my education to work, a reconnect to the things I was doing in Australia and Alaska - getting back outdoors, doing some kind of data collection, being a part of an ecological project that I can get invested in. I can get excited and immersed in just about any ecological topic, and if I am exposed to an ecosystem that can revel something new or interesting or needs saving, I can get behind that. So I've been literally googling "ecological research jobs" like an idiot, and the pandering internet (love you!) has given me her gilded chambers of useful links. Actually, it led me to which has yielded some awesome results. I was at first surprised at how many research technician jobs and intern positions are available. I found jobs that I qualify for at several universities and many ecological research networks. I'm one of those people that will apply to six jobs each day for a few days, and then feel like I've done my duty to assimilate to adulthood. Now I'm anxiously awaiting my recommending professors to send their letters to the International Crane Foundation (especially excited about that pending application!) or to hear back from University of North Carolina, or U. of New Mexico, or U. of Minnesota. Or anyone. For anything. Please hire me. I'll carry all the equipment.
Basically, if I could recapture the pleasure and satisfaction of my job for Homer Soil and Water Conservation District in a more long-term job that maybe allowed me some more responsibilities and more depth in data analysis - pretty much dream come true. I just want a project to love. A project to camp out in the rain for days on end, to wake up way too early for, the get dirty and cranky and tired for, and to slave over Excel for hours and hours and hours. I want data and I want it now. Gimme. I double majored, reward me for investing in a liberal arts education. Please?

Berry Berry Important!

Diving back in to some Wendell Berry literature in preparation for the National Young Farmer's Conference in early December, where he will be the keynote speaker (!).

“…We will be wrong if we attempt to correct what we see as “environmental” problems without correcting the economic oversimplification that caused them… What has happened is that most people in our country, and apparently most people in the “developed” world, have given proxies to the corporations to produce and provide all of their food, clothing, and shelter. Moreover, they are rapidly giving proxies to corporations and governments to provide entertainment, education, childcare, care of the sick and the elderly, and many other kinds of “service” that once were carried out informally and inexpensively by individuals or households or communities. Our major economic practice, in short, is to delegate the practice to others.”

— Wendell Berry in the essay “The Idea of a Local Economy”in the collection The Art of the Commonplace.

I feel profoundly blocked in my own writing. I have churning with all these thoughts and ideas of how the world is, examples of us committing our worst crimes against ourselves, and yet I feel I have nothing original to create. Everything I might put it paper sounds like a sermon or whining. I know that a revolution is occurring and yet I have no idea how to put myself into it. How to give myself to it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


The world can spin again.
I just came across Popular Resistance. This article discusses one corporate approach to combating activism. I find this a little disturbing, but also simply surprising; I imagine corporations to be lumbering bumbling giants that don't even see the movements away from commodities and the throw-away culture as a real threat. Looks like they are preparing for battle though!d this a little disturbing, but also simply surprising; I imagine corporations to be lumbering bumbling giants that don't even see the movements away from commodities and the throw-away culture as a real threat. Looks like they are preparing for battle though!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yestermorrow Visit, And Exhausting Opportunities for Halloween Celebrations

Not being able to write, not feeling any kind of thought-to-words flow, it is frightening! Because I don't know why its happening or what I did to myself to jostle the wires. I've recently been struggling to get the ideas out of myself. Something is going on, I'm certainly almost bewilderingly lost in my thoughts lately, yet now that I have isolated myself, retreated to Vermont for this short interim, I am distracted by the silence. Thanks to one of my favorite people, I am coming back around to expression. It is becoming not quiet effortless again, but my voice, maybe, is healing.
There is so much changing right now. As I am aging, in this short period of time, so much has become illuminated recently. Never before has the way to live honestly and powerfully and freely been so clear. This should feel like a rebirth, a growth, and success. But instead, I am drained and doubled over - exhausted from the struggle with my chrysillis. The things that are now so certain in my mind have become my nature, they dissolved from words, becoming formless. This makes these thoughts so much harder to express.
Ok! Ok! To the point. All that is a long apology (mainly to myself because I am my most frequent reader) for having neglected putting words to pixels in too long. Such times of growth should be documented!  But it is often my most exciting and experiential times when I don't have the time or patience for journaling.
Yestermorrow! An incredible building design school in Waitsfield, VT. I had been hearing of Yestermorrow for several years now and always took a passing interest, but never acted on actually contacting them or taking one of their classes. The school provides short, weekend classes in a huge variety of topics (such as timber framing or making cement countertops), as well as week-long projects and semester-long programs. The feel of walking around the school - several mis-matched hand-made buildings peeking through the trees, visible from the main building, a sense of welcome along with an air of purpose and expertise - is simultaneously peaceful and energizing. I had expressed fears in my earlier post of inadequacy, inability to obtain the skills I will need in the life I am trying to construct. I still harbor doubts for myself to become a successful builder, and it is likely that when I go to build my own home, I will need a lot of help from people more talented than myself. This is inevitable, collaboration is always necessary. Even if a home can be built in isolation, it will be healthier built by lent hands. Oh my, where was I? Ah yes! Yestermorrow delivered new inspiration and confidence. They are an amazing resource, and a system I feel I can learn from effectively. And they allow a work-exchange!
Second order of buisness: Halloween. It has been Halloween for only an hour as I write this, and already I have celebrated this glorious holiday twice. Neither times did I have an excellent costume, but I've been on the road these days and I don't have all my things in one place to form a costume and blah blah blah I failed costume this year. I usually take this pretty seriously but I'll let it slide this one year.
Last Halloween a collected beautiful leaves around campus for the whole Fall, pressed them as I collected them, and then mod podged them (acryllic paste).I took all of these sealed leaves and glued them together into a dress with fabric beneath holding it all in one peice. I was Autumn! Actually I only ended up taking one or two pictures of the final product which I'm really kicking myself for now, because like the fleeting season it symbolizes, my leaf dress couldn't stand up to the Halloween festivities, so I left a trail of leaf-crumbs wherever I went, and eventually the dress became a grey winter tree.
Another bummer is that the only pictures I have of this project includes my friend Dan (not a zombie in real life) trying to eat my brain. I'm keeping my cool.