Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hello Sweden!

After two days of traveling, a bus, a plane, a train, a ferry, and another train, I have made it to my family in Sweden.  Getting here was fairly easy, all things considered.  The airport in Dublin is worth visiting if you ever get the chance.  They had free samples of Bailey's Irish Cream and whiskey.  I liked Bailey's new hazlenut flavor.  When I landed at the airport in Copenhagen, the signs were in English as well as Danish.  Any time during my journey, especially after getting out of English-signed areas, I got well and truely confused or lost, I would stop someone and ask them for help.  All of the people I impinged upon were friendly and helpful, always pointing me in the right direction.  What surprised me the most was that everyone I stopped spoke English.  After a fair bit of bubling about, I did manage to make it to the rendezvoux with my cousin.

It is fabulous!  I'm getting to know the youngest generation and reacquainting myself with my cousin that I haven't seen for almost 10 years.  Later today, we are going to visit her parents and on Friday we will meet up with her sister and her family.  I am so glad I came and I am looking forward to catching up with the family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last Night in Ireland

My last night in Ireland.  My time here has been a bit of a roller coaster, ups and downs a-plenty.  In spite of the downs, I'm glad I came.  I have encountered people from all over the world on this little island: Holland, Sweden, America, England, Australia, New Zealand, Germany.  Sometimes, it seems I've interacted with more people visiting Ireland than with Irish themselves.  I have talked with people about horses, legal age of consumption, gardens, aliens, compost, spirituality, chickens, relationships, just about everything under the sun (or above it).  I've also enjoyed all sorts of different foods.  I'm looking forward to trying to make some of these dishes when I get back to the States.  I have greatly enjoyed my time here in Ireland.  Some of the people I have met since coming here have become very dear to me and I plan to remain in contact.  I am glad I came.

But there is still a week before I head back to the U.S.  Tomorrow, I fly to Copenhagen and take the train into Sweden to meet up with some of my extended family.  I'm a little nervous about going for two reasons.  First, I am having an extremely difficult time with Swedish.  It seems to have almost nothing in common with English or any other language I have much experience with.  My second concern is about the weather.  I'm not sure I fully grasped the fact that I would be going to one of the northern most countries in Europe just as winter is descending when I planned this trip.  We've had some thick frosts in the morning in southern Ireland. My guess is I didn't pack enough cold weather gear for this.  We shall see.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Still Here

No, I haven't dropped off this lovely little island.  I've just been very busy and mobile since my last post.  As you might have guessed, my former host and I have parted ways.  This event turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I remembered a classmate mentioning WWOOFing as part of his international experience.  He said he had enjoyed almost all of his hosts.  I looked up the WWOOF website and found the link to the Irish WWOOF site.  I paid my fee (€20) and got a year's access to the hosts' posts and the discussion boards.  While still trying to work out how the site worked I stumbled across a call for help from the woman who has become my new host.  A set of emails and a few quick phone calls found me with a new host and a spot reserved on the bus from Athlone to Cork.

I settled into the trailer my hostess, Pippa, has setup for WWOOFers, complete with a tidy little kitchen and a working shower!  I worked for my hostess for several days, settling the organic garden for the winter and helping rake up leaves.  After talking with my host, I followed her recommendation to use the time she was having a guest over to go see Dzogchen Beara.  I entered the volunteer program there for what was planned to be a few days and ended up staying a whole week!  I joined the morning meditations and spent the majority of my days working in the garden or talking with one of their part time gardeners about growing food in a sustainable, responsible manner.  I also helped out with the normal volunteer activities, mostly maintenance and house keeping to maintain the gorgeous site.  I loved my time there and though I was only there for a brief period of time, I am so glad I went.  I met fabulous people and learned so much.  There seemed to be an air about the place, it was just a comfortable place to be.  That may be the nature of the facility or just the wonderful people I met but it is definitely one of the unexpected joys of my trip.  (Seriously, who expects to come to Ireland and end up at a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center?)

One thing that my time at Dzogchen Beara emphasized is my regret for not bringing certain things with me.  Somethings I simply forgot, like my cowboy hat with a brim that would keep the rain from dripping into the back of my collar.  However one item I didn't seriously consider bringing, and probably would have worried about the entire time I was traveling, is a mandolin.  I am only learning how to play it (and it's my mother's so I would have had to borrow it) but there are lots of evenings I have free time to practice and at Dzogchen Beara we would occasionally pull out one of the ever present guitars and have a round of songs.  One night we even went to a music night at the pub and people brought what ever instrument they played: guitar, low whistle, harmonica, etc.  I loved it, but wished I could have contributed more.

I am now back with Pippa, doing more of the odd jobs that tend to get put off because there's always something more urgent and having wonderful, thought provoking conversations.  After all this time, I know why the place is so green, it's always raining!  If you run indoors anytime it rains here in Ireland, at least from my experience of this season, you would never get anything accomplished outdoors.  It doesn't necessarily rain hard, or very much, but most of my days, especially lately, there has been some form of rain at some point in the day.  After getting used to it, I find I enjoy working in a light rain.  It keeps you cool.  I also just love rain and a light rain doesn't drench you through to the skin.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Moving On

As a continuance of last night's retraction, I would like to state that I deeply regret any harm I have done to my hosts here.  I posted a story I had heard second or third hand that was untrue and posted numerous other misunderstandings.  As a result, I have been asked to leave.

One of the things I regret most is that, as my host stated, I didn't ask questions.  Not only did I not ask them of him, I stopped asking them in my head.  I became distracted by the little things and forgot why I decided to come here in the first place.  This place is unique.  In all of the places in all of the world, I chose to come here.  I wanted to learn about this place that is bringing a different style of horsemanship to Ireland.  I wanted to know why and how my host became involved in something so uncommon here.  I wanted to know what he was doing to further western horsemanship.  Instead I forgot why I came and wrote stupid things on the internet.  I hope that someday he may forgive me.

But I still learned.  I learned a lesson that I'm sure they teach every burgeoning journalist the first time they set pen to paper.  First, double check all facts.  Second, use only first person accounts.  I also learned something about different cultures.  I do not regret my time there.  I do not regret learning these lessons.  I deeply regret any harm that I may have unintentionally caused to the people who gave me the opportunity to come see this incredible country.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I would like to apologize to my readers and my host Cochise Stud for some of my recent posts.  They were unfair and reflected a limited understanding on my part.  I hope you will not hold this against me as we proceed on this journey of exploring new cultures and experiences.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Interesting Times

Yesterday, we had a bit of excitement.  Apparently one of the horses in the field, Buck, decided he liked the molassas mineral lick a bit too much.  Too much molassas has the unfotunate side effect of causing constipation.  In humans, this may not be a big deal, but in horses it can be life threatening.  As a result, we got to walk Buck around the arena for 2 hours while we waited for the liquid parafin to kick in.  Liquid parafin is used over here rather than caster oil for these types of problems.  We kept him walking to make sure he didn't roll and twist his gut, giving himself colic which can be fatal.

Turns out, my random herb knowledge may be useful after all.  We are out in the middle of no where.  It took us a few days to get someone into a town big enough to have a store with cough syrup for Jennifer.  She was having a hard time sleeping until I remembered that Elder Berries can be used as a cough suppressant.  It isn't as effective as cough syrup, but Jennifer ate a few handfuls of the berries before bed and was able to get a good night's sleep.  It makes me wish I had thought to bring along my herb books.  There are so many things that grow over here.  I know that some of them have medicinal properties, but I can't remember all of them.  I wish I could, especially since it seems I may be catching what ever she's got.`

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tough Days

The past few days have been really tough. Gia returned to Sweden on Tuesday, leaving just me and Jennifer. Then, Jennifer got sick. So, for the past couple of days I have been doing what is normally a two person full-time job (we haven't had time for riding since Gia left). In addition to the normal everyday things, we are getting ready for winter. Today, we pulled out blankets, dewormed a bunch of the horses. and moved rocks to add stability to the muddy areas. One of the horses, Santana, also decided to work on the wall dividing her stall from another of the horses, Bonita. Therefore, we got to patch and shore up the cement wall and find Santana another stall while we wait for the cement patch to harden.

All this work and no play may be making me a little grumpy. Between that and conflicting advice on what I'm doing wrong, I decided to try to figure out what I am good at. What is my unique contribution? I may not be as experienced with horses as everyone else around here, but I think I am the best at customer service. Not the easy little "please hold the line" phone call customer service, no I'm talking about "oops customers, gotta keep them happy while we figure out where the boss went". Gia was the old hand who knew how things worked here, Jennifer is the best with the stallions, and I can distract the people who pay for the whole thing. That may not sound like much, but sometimes, it's the little things that get you through the tough times.

It other news, I finally figured out how to get a temporary phone here in Ireland! Better late than never. Apparently you need to get a phone that you can put a chip into, a sim chip, and credits for the chip. In addition, because the system can't be that easy, out here in the country, each of these three things has to be purchased in different stores in different villages. So, yesterday felt like a really bad treasure hunt. But, I finally got it working and figured out how to make an international call to the States. Last night was the first night I got to talk to my mother since landing in Ireland. I also got to hear my nephew; the boy has lungs! It's all the little things.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Busy Weekend

Well, this was an exciting weekend.  First, there was a horse clinic that Derek and his younger son Andrew attended.  It was a clinic on Western Horsemanship given by Bob Mayhew.  They took Elka and both of the other interns wih them, leaving me manning the fort all by myself.  The first time I stayed alone at the barn, I thought it was a coincidence that Bozo, the half spaniel half border collie, stayed close to me all day.  He did it again on Saturday.  I think he knows what a klutz I am and he's waiting for his opportunity to pull off a Lassie-esque rescue.

Sunday, the three of us interns went to a horse fair in Banaher.  That was an experience.  It was the first horse fair I've ever been to.  It was really sad and occationally scary.  The town closed it's main street and filled it with horses people were trying to sell.  It was pandemonium waiting to happen.  There were some horses that hadn't been handled almost at all in the middle of a packed crowd of horses and people moving around.  They all looked more or less taken care of, no starving or half dead nags, but some of them could have used a proper grooming.  Many of the foals were wandering without halters.  Some of the stories people told about their horses made us laugh.  One thing I noticed, everyone carried sticks.  They looked like walking sticks for the most part, but many of them were too skinny to actually be used as walking sticks.  These appeared to have two purposes.  The first, and apparently primary intended, use was to help direct the horses.  This could be either using it as a guide or as a form of rather forceful motivation.  However, about halfway through our tour, we found out the second use for the sticks.

We managed to find ourselves in the middle of a street brawl.  We were right there, but I still couldn't tell you what started it.  Some guy started singing and that got a group of men really really mad.  There was lots of shouting and the Garda were unable to keep the two groups (singer guy had friends) apart.  The second use for the sticks was demonstrated when two of the guys got within swinging distance of each other and each started to beat at the other with these ~3ft wooden canes.  During the chaos that ensued, some horses broke loose.  I think that more than anything was what finally ended the fight.  We were caught in the middle of these two groups and sought refuge along the side of the road, right along the back ends of the horses who were tied shoulder to shoulder along that section of road.  I'm just very grateful that they were calm horses who didn't start to panic when the shouting and running started.  We finished touring the fair and came back to the barn in time to finish the evening chores.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Interns Cook

Yesterday, Jennifer, Gia, and I picked blackberries from the fence lines on our way to and from the mail drop box. Mail is apparently delivered to the box in the front gate but only picked up at the box on the main road, about a 10 minute walk away. I love the habit of the Irish to grow plants to reinforce their fences, especially plants with edible fruit. At this point, I recognize blackberries and elderberries. Stinging nettles are edible and frequently found along fences as well, but I hardly think that is intentional.

So this afternoon, just before lunch, Gia and Jennifer made about 20 blackberry muffins. Yes, they were fabulous. Since Gia is leaving soon, and Jennifer and I had both promised to teach her how to cook a dish we ate at home. Jennifer taught Gia how to cook a pork Indonesian dish a few nights ago. Tonight it was my turn. I taught Gia how to make meatloaf, the way my mother makes it, which is never the same twice. Gia taught me how to make mashed potatoes, without a potato masher since it turns out our host doesn't have one. Our assorted cooking attempts have thus far been mostly successful (a few burnt muffins and lumpy mashed potatoes).

A fair amount of this time in the kitchen has happened mostly because the past few days have been extremely wet. One of my favorite lines from the first season of Dr. Who calls England a 'damp little island'. I love the line, but whoever wrote it must never have visited Ireland. Even after more than a week of wind and sunshine, there were multiple wet and muddy spots around the farm. Now, with a few days of torrential downpours, we have had to move where some of the horses are kept until the water level drops and some of the paddocks are no longer hock deep in mud. Hopefully, next time I write we will have more sunshine.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Returning to Normal

The Game Fair concluded on Sunday, allowing life to go back to some semblence of normal.  The Fair was fun though.  It was a lot like the summer festivals I went to in North Dakota.  There were booths and games, our stable put on a demonstration of western horsemanship.  There was a group of historical re-enactors, Picts I think.  I wish I could have seen more, but one of the horses we brought needed constatn supervision once the crowds came through.

Other than that, things are pretty good.  We are settling back into what I consider to be the normal routine: feeding and mucking and riding.  We had the farrier come out to work on a few more horses.  We also had my first set of visitors for a trek.  I stayed and kept working on the stables as the two more experienced riders of the interns, Gia and Jennifer, took them out on a several hours long trail ride.

I have also adopted a pet project.  One of the horses, Mariposa, needs some serious hands on time.  She is a two year old palimino filly who currently objects to humans. She runs away from everyone.  The few times I have gotten close, she nearly panics when I reach out to touch her.  My project is to turn her into a model prospect for when she starts properly training.  That is my goal.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Busy Week

Well, this week kept us all hopping.  We added one more girl to our little trailer, Jennifer from Holland.  We also lost one, Skye went back to the States to start college on Monday.  We sent her off in proper Irish form, we hopped down to the local village for a pub crawl.  The village is about 10 minutes away and as far as I can tell, the only things there are a pair of pubs and a gas station.  I tried a Guinness on tap, not bad if you like beer, and the others each had cider, called hard cider in the States.  At the first pub, we just sat and had a quiet drink, it was mostly empty with a few of the locals hanging out.  The second pub was much more lively, complete with live music.  We were spotted as tourists right as we walked in.  After grabbing seats at the bar and placing our order, a man I think is the owner came over and asked if we sang.  We offered Skye up for some public humiliation and she took it all very well.  She was called up to the stage and sang and played a few songs before bowing out and rejoining us.  I think what happened after was more interesting, though she does have a nice voice.  A number of older ladies came over and told her how much they appreciated her performance, the bar tender brought her a Mini-Guinness, and a man on the far side of the bar bought a round of drinks for our group!  Talk about appreciation for an ad hoc performance!

What I would consider to be our normal daily schedule has been interrupted by more than just an adjustment of personnel, we also had to get ready for the show this weekend.  Currently, I am the only one on the farm.  Everyone else is at the show.  In preparation, we added daily grooming and training for the three potential competing horses, only two made the cut.  We also got a visit from the farrier.  He stopped by and worked on a set, four horses, giving them each a trim and a new set of shoes.  We also sat down and cleaned the tack the farm will have for sale at the show and the tack they will be using while they perform.  It is remarkable how quickly I managed to get through the normal daily work, even though I'm only one person, when I don't have to worry about all that other stuff.  Even though it means I will have to get up a fair bit earlier, I am really looking forward to attending the show tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So, still having problems getting photos to the blog, but I'm working on it.  Saturday we had a shopping day.  But first, we had some excitment on the farm.  After breakfast, we started playing ball with the dogs until we noticed that Mouse, the biggest one, was slightly distracted, buy the week old foal!  She had figured out how to sneak out of her mom's stall.  So, we all dropped what we were doing.  It took three of us to corral her back into the stall and figure out how to baby-proof it, and another two to keep the dogs from trying to 'help'.

Then, the three of us interning here and Elka, our host's girlfriend, drove the half hour it takes to get to the nearest town with a grocery store and stopped by a shopping center.  Losts of clothing stores, small phone, book or flower stores.  I have to admit, I didn't buy anything.  I'm still trying to figure out how much an Euro is worth.  After stopping by the shopping center, we went grocery shopping, returning to the farm in time for evening feeding and supper.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day in Ireland

Well, it obviously hasn't been a week. It seems I can have more frequent access than that. If this becomes a regular thing, I may even be prepared with pictures next time.

This is the end of my first full day in Ireland. Some things are constant. Horses are horses and there are lots of similarities between the way horses are cared for here and the way I cared for them in the States. They still need food and water and exercise. Their stalls still need to be mucked out (scooping out the wastes). There are still some horses who are left out in the field unless they are being used.

Some of the differences in care seem to stem from a lack of space rather than a cultural difference. For instance, since there is no room to turn all the horses out at once, the horses are turned out into the arena singly or in pairs while we muck out their stalls.

One startling difference between horse management here compared to what I've done before is that I've always known breeders to try to breed in such a way that the foal are born early in the year. Some breeders aim for January and February for older and therefore bigger yearlings, since all horses are considered a year old on their first January 1st. Other breeders aim for the spring when the weather is mild and the grass is growing to provide the dam (mother) with lots of nutrition. Neither of those things seem to be pressing issues here.

Here, there is a foal just one week old, still a little wobbly on her spindly little legs. They are also breeding a mare who is in her first heat (fertile period) since coming to the farm a few weeks ago. If she becomes pregnant, she will be expecting in late July. I can under that here, where rain and mild temperatures appear to be the norm, an owner may not be concerned about availability of high quality food for the dam. However, if they are planning on selling the foals, I would think it would still be important to make sure they were comparably sized to the rest of their age group.

Well, I think that's all for today, I'll post more next time I have a chance.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In the Air

Yesterday and today I spent flying, riding a bus, and riding in a car.  Starting at 6:40pm yesterday, I got on a plane and headed across the ocean.  Six hours and two hours of sleep later, I landed in London.  I don't know how many of you know this, but being lost is one of my skills.  So, it comes as no surprise that I immediately got lost in Heathrow.  I wound up going through interterminal security three times before I finally got to my gate in the back end of nowhere for my connection to Dublin.  I hopped the bus to Athlone.  Where I was picked up by the owner and my host for the durration of my stay.

I got to Cochise Stud and Saddlery this after noon in time to help with the evening chores.  Lots of stallions!  We also did a breeding in addition to the standard mucking and feeding routine.  I met the two other girls who will be sharing the little trailer/bunkhouse with me.  Well, it's time for supper.  I hope to get online again some time next week.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Night Before

So, it is the night before I leave for Ireland.  I have been spending the past few weeks trying to get ready for the trip and enjoy time with my family.  There are a few things I hadn't really thought about before dealing with the details of an international trip.  Everyone knows that you need a passport, which is a reasonably straight forward procedure.  Just make sure you get it well before your trip.  I didn't expect to have to find travel insurance.  Some no cost insurance is leaving a copy of my passport and cards with my parents incase I lose them.  I didn't expect to have to renew my driver's license because it would expire while I was gone (good thing I noticed).  I didn't expect to lose my camera.  I suppose there will be other things that come up that I am not expecting.  I hope those things are as easy to negotiate as the issues I've come across so far.

I did take the time to play tourist in D.C. on Sunday.  I visited some of my favorite places along the Capital Mall.  I visited the U.S. Botanic Gardens.  They are beautiful this time of year.  It had been so long since I had visited them while the outdoor gardens were in bloom.  Absolutely gorgeous!  I love the serenity found in gardens.  Surrounded by things to which time has precious little meaning.  Plants won't notice if you are an hour late.  The butterflies don't care if you stay all day reading and drinking tea or if you have to run after a few minutes.  It is so peaceful.  I always try to get a visit in while I'm in the area.  I also walked through the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  That's the one with the elephant in the entrance.  They have now completed the section about the oceans.  It is very impressive.  HUGE whale hovering over the whole thing.  It is a different style than the rest of the building, but very nice.  I also discovered a fabulous place to eat off the beaten tourist path.  The food court inside the Old Post Office, a block behind the Museum of Natural History, was delightfully uncongested.  I grabbed a gyro and found a table quickly and easily, with plenty of time to ride the metro back to my family for the afternoon.

The nerves are finally starting to hit me.  I am getting on an airplane for ten hours.  I am going to a foreign country.  I am going to have to learn a foreign currency.  I am going to have to navigate a country of which I only have vague cartographic knowledge.  To say that I am not facing tomorrow with a certain amount of trepidation.  But I am also looking forward to it.  I am enough of a homebody to want to stay in areas that I know, but there is definitely value in exploring other cultures.  I am especially interested in Ireland.  I've grown up learning snippets about the Irish who came to the United States.  Bits and pieces of their culture have become common here in the U.S. shamrocks and rainbows meaning good luck and of course, St. Patrick's Day, though I'm certain we have altered these things.  Suffice it to say I am facing tomorrow with mixed feelings.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 3

Hitting the road this morning, I found out that I had stopped less than a mile from Ohio.  I liked watching the wild flowers in the morning light as I drove by.  There were some that were a gorgeous light purple-blue.  As the day progressed, I noticed something disturbing.  There were dead trees, a lot of dead trees.  This trend actually continued through Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.  There would be large sections of the forested areas that were dead and dying.  They weren't all the same species of tree, or even all deciduous or evergreen.  Whatever is wrong with them attacks indiscriminately.  As I drove through the countryside, I came up with two theories.  The first theory was a drought.  However, the dead trees were not all in areas that would be first hit by low water tables.  Also, with a drought, some tree species would be more susceptible.  Then I remembered a story one of my professors told us a few years a go.  We used to use a lot of 'dirty' coal, coal with a high sulfur content.  When this coal is burned, it releases sulfides into the environment.  The sulfides combine with the water vapor in the clouds and create sulfuric acid.  This creates acid rain the comes down to the east of the power plants that burn dirty coal.  My professor told us that at one point it got so bad that the majority of the north eastern United States' forests were devastated.  I thought the story was from a long time ago.  I thought the damage would have been healed.  But here are trees that are obviously dying.  Could it be from left over acid water in the system?  Whatever is wrong, it is sad to drive through what would be a beautiful countryside only to have the rolling, green, tree-covered hills spotted with sections of brown.

I reached my parents' house just in time to sit down to supper with the family.  It was a full house tonight.  We were celebrating my sister delivering her first child.  We had a fair amount of both our immediate family and her husband's immediate family here.  We had a lovely summer-style meal with multiple kinds of salad and fruit.  Thus starts my time staying with my parents.  I'll be here a few weeks before I fly to Ireland to begin my internship.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 2

The end of a full day of driving finds me at an inn in Indiana.  I drove for roughly 11 hours and passed through 2.5 states.  As an agriculture person, I notice the land, plants and animals more than I do the architecture and the like.  Driving across so much land, you notice changes.

When I started driving through Missouri, it mostly resembled Oklahoma.  It seemed to have more variety of agriculture, fewer cattle and wheat, more fields with other crops or livestock.  The big change was the rocks in the landscape, poking out as if the land there were truly rock and the soil and vegetation were a dressing.  The first rocks I really noticed emerged from the side of a small hill.  They were huge, at least 4 feet tall, disappearing into the hill behind them.  they looked like they had been worn smooth by centuries, or millennia, of winds blowing across them, shaping the edges into a curving tiers rather than harsh edged layers, which is what I found as I continued east.  The land became more jagged, as if the exposed rock faces were more and more recent.

I crossed into Illinois through St. Louis.  I didn't see much of the city, but I loved what I did see.  Soaring church steeples, old steel bridges and renovated factories all vied for attention as I whipped through on the interstate, not to mention the Arch.  It would be nice to be able to go back and spend some more time exploring if the opportunity presents itself in the future.

Illinois has corn.  I drove through and was overwhelmed by the seemingly endless fields of corn and soy beans.  For those not familiar with the practice, soy beans are rotated with corn to help try to increase soil quality because corn is so demanding of soil nutrients.  The fields were not large as such things are measured, but every mostly flat piece of land was growing one or the other of those two crops.  There were very few trees or other plants growing, there were even some 'wild' corn plants growing in the median.

The change from Illinois to Indiana was subtle.  There was still lots of corn and soy beans growing, but there were other things too.  What I noticed most were the trees.  There were trees again, occasionally thick enough to hide the large fields behind them.  The number of fields being grown in Indiana seems to be fewer, but the scale seems larger.  The fields in Indiana are any where from 2 to 4 times bigger than what I saw in Illinois.  There are also more fields with signs indicating that they are testing new varieties of hybrids.  Indiana seems to have a more industrialized agriculture base than Illinois.

So, tonight finds me hanging my hat at an in somewhere in Indiana.  I hope to reach my parents' home in Virginia some time tomorrow.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 1

I'm off on an adventure!  Today, I left the comfort of friends and familiar places for new and wondrous sights.  My eventual destination is the famed Emerald Isle, known mostly for its potatoes and leprechauns. However, I am not heading there directly.  After all, isn't half the fun getting there?
My first day of traveling hasn't taken me very far.  I started the day on campus at Oklahoma State University.  I took care of final paper work that I needed to turn in before leaving campus, said good bye to friends and coworkers, and checked out of the dorm.  Tucking the last of my worldly possessions into my crammed little car, I hit the road in the late afternoon.  I drove almost 3 hours, through Tulsa construction, to reach my grandmother's house.  Tonight, with some calls to family members who are much smarter than me and to the service provider, I managed to get her internet working again.  Tomorrow morning I think I'm going to have to re-shuffle some things in my car, due to my grandmother adding a few items to my load and the fact that things kept falling on me on the drive over here.  Unfortunately, my allergies also decided to kick in today, so I will either have to keep blowing my nose at 70 MPH or find a store with allergy medicine in the morning as well.
I will worry about that in the morning.  Now, I am to bed.  I have another long day in front of me tomorrow.