I got the call this morning around ten. Tom was very gracious - he said that the decision had been a hard one, but that another applicant had an edge in farming experience and they ended up going that way. I saw it coming - I had a feeling that my lack of concrete hands-in-the-soil farm work would count against me in a close race. I am still planning on volunteering at the farm this spring and summer (to rack up some of those dirt hours, for future employment ... but mostly because I love watching unsuspecting ten year olds bite into sorrel.)

This week has been so full of other unexpected things (most of them bad, none of them unmanageable) that this just runs with the swing of it, and I'm taking it in stride.

Looking at the bright side, I will be able to get through more of the masters program quickly and will also be relatively free this summer to enjoy all the crazy wilderness we moved up here for. Maybe now I can justify getting that Cape Horn. At least, that is what I am telling myself this afternoon. The reality is we're back to Plan B. Substitute teaching. Ick.



Last November, I put in an application at a place called Calypso Farm & Ecology Center. It is a little CSA farm outside of town, near the old goldrush-camp-turned-trendy-hamlet of Ester. I have avoided writing about this application, for fear of somehow jinxing the process. However, now that interviews are over and I have (purportedly) made peace with either decision on their part, I am breaking the silence.

When we first arrived, we spent quite a bit of time trying to get our bearings in this busted-up, beat-down city (University and Farmers Market, excepted.) The name Calypso kept popping up, and when we finally found free WiFi at the library, I looked it up. Turns out, they needed volunteers for their fall field trip program. I called, and was immediately conscripted to help kids make goat cheese and harvest chamomile. It was hard to contain my joy!

The current educational coordinator is leaving the farm, and when her position officially opened up, she encouraged me to apply. In light of my many misgivings about a possible role in the traditional education system (and by extension my current graduate pursuits) I thought this might make a pretty good match. Because of Fairbanks' brutal winters, the farm is shut down for two of Drexel's four quarters, leaving me open to take a heavier load of classes and complete my student teaching over the cold months. Also, we get lots of fresh, free produce all season. Also, there are goats. Need I say more?

Peter and I debated on what one wears to an interview at a CSA farm in the dead of winter. After some discussion, we landed on: Snowboots. Clean Jeans. A sort-of frayed red sweater. Also, I went to town and showered.

I arrived at the farm happy for the snowboot decision. The "office" is about a quarter mile uphill on a very snowy (not drivable) road, smack in the middle of the 20 acres of developed farmland. The office is in a yurt. Thankfully, a yurt with a rather large and well stoked wood stove. Inside, I met the farm co-owner Tom, who was wearing a pair of busted up work carharts and a Grateful Dead T-shirt over longjohns. All of my misgivings about the frayed sweater were immediately dismissed.

The interview went well (as well as a follow up phone-interview with another farm employee.) My favorite question - one I doubt comes up in most interviews - was "If you could be a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?" (Sorrel. Looks like plain old lettuce ... but bite into it and you get a lot more flavor than you bargained for!) The rest of the interview questions were predictable: What teaching experience do you have? What large-group-of-unruly-kid-herding experience do you have? What ages have you worked with?Organizational experience? Programs facilitated? Ad Nauseum. Regular interview stuff. But it was a very relaxed experience (lulled, no doubt, by the roaring wood stove.)

I know I made the first cut, but I haven't heard back about the final decision yet. I have my fingers crossed both ways. The job is pretty huge - they run a lot of field trips for a lot of kids throughout the farm season, and are expanding - which is (I hope) understandably overwhelming. Especially since I haven't had a 'real job' (does this even count as a real job?) in over a year. But it is also exactly what I am excited about; it is experiential, hands on learning that brings the community - kids and adults - into a closer relationship with the land they live on and the food that feeds them, ultimately with themselves.

More than anything, the process of thinking through and applying for this position has solidified the kind of education I want to be involved with in the future. I know that for all the slogging I am doing at the moment to get through the MS degree, this kind of thing is what I am doing it for. Focusing on this possibility (even if it doesn't turn out) has given me a lot more focus to keep slogging.

So I am waiting for that phone call.



Amba over at Ambivablog tagged me last week. Its my first tag as a Blogger, and I got that rush she wrote about, first felt playing tagging elementary school games. Since Solstice, we’ve been traveling and now, ramping up with a new semester’s course load, I’m starting to get back into the rhythm that allows time for at least sporadic blogging. This tag is a great one, though. I’m happy to (belatedly) throw in and pass it on.

1) Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving away copies.

The Sweet Everlasting by Judson Mitcham. I started this book one evening after supper and came to at four am, heart racing, reading and re-reading the last pages. I never did fall asleep. I gave the (borrowed) copy back and immediately ordered two for myself. I have managed to keep my hands on one. It is a beautifully woven story of growing up and being grown up in the old deep south, with all the scents and sounds and beauty of that landscape, and the brutality of it.

If they were easier to get hold of, I would give away copies of George MacDonald’s The Golden Key to everyone I spoke to. Unfortunately, the most accessible copies are abridged, and I have yet to find an in-print volume containing that single story. If you can get your hands on it, do. There is a link to the entire text on my sidebar, but I am loathe to recommend reading such a jewel on a glowing LCD. It needs a fireplace, hot chocolate, thick quilts. And most of all, it needs to be read aloud.

2) Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music.

My musical tastes aren’t very high-brow. In fact, I don’t really listen to all that much music. I never have. I was sheltered from everything except Beach Boys and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas growing up, and had very limiting obsession with CCM in early adolescence. My junior year, a friend lent me an Indigo Girls album. The Wood Song struck an angst ridden adolescent chord, and that lilting violin riff forever changed my understanding of what music was about, why people listen to it, make it, and how it can change them. It also gently nudged me into the understanding that secular music isn't actually evil.

3) Name a film you can watch again and again without fatigue.

I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories. Especially those of kids from the Western world learning about the rest of it far from their homeland. It doesn't take much to analyze that one. For a long time, “Empire of the Sun” was the only movie I would watch repeatedly. Since “Nowhere in Africa” came out in 2001, I have watched it at least six times.

4) Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief.

Daniel Day-Lewis. Christian Bale.

5) Name a work of art you’d like to live with.

There is a piece I saw in college, at the Art Institute of Chicago, that I wish I had now. It was an installation of waves, photographs of waves, all monotone with the ripples reflecting the faces of the viewers, almost moving in the glass. I miss the ocean.

6) Name a work of fiction which has penetrated your real life.

I read Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible while on an airplane flying out to work for six months with street children back home in Jakarta, occasionally (and horrifyingly) alongside missionaries nearly as insane and insidious as those in the book. It threw those I had to deal with in sharp relief, while giving me a story to work from in my own explorations of, and eventual dive into, the world the street kids inhabited. A world so physically close to yet so very far from my own TCK upbringing, I needed that nudge to get in with both feet.

7) Name a punchline that always makes you laugh.

“So you’re saying I’m fat?!?”

Well, it’s not exactly a punch line. But enough of a long-running college joke that we’re still using it, and laughing, years later.

I’m just going to tag the two regular readers I have, who I know have blogs themselves. Mama Hen over at At A Hen’s Pace, and Dan. Oh, Dan. I am so not saying you're fat!