Once I overcame the annoyance of constantly avoiding other bikers, the Tour de Farms was extremely enjoyable. Saturday morning I rode 25 miles with dozens of other Durango locals to tour small farms in the Animas Valley (David was going to join me but he decided to go get 6th place at the Silverton Alpine 50k instead, without training I should add). The annual event is hosted and coordinated by The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado and the Colorado State University Extension.
Category: Being 20-Something (Page 2 of 4)
The door closed behind my boyfriend. Then, suddenly, it was that moment. My stomach dropped into my shoes, my heart started racing, my head started spinning. I collapsed onto the couch and started sobbing uncontrollably. It was the moment I had been dreading, the moment when a single thought crossed my mind and sent me over the edge: What if we’ve made a terrible mistake?
I’m horrible with transitions, I always have been. The beginning of every semester of college was a nightmare for me. I don’t know why I thought moving across the country would be any easier. This moment was inevitable.
After college David and I lived in our little college town and worked jobs that were just okay in a place that was losing its glamour for us. We had really bad wanderlust. So we made a plan. In the spring we’d quit our jobs, get rid of all of our stuff, and drive west until we found a town we fell in love with. We did all of those things. After two and a half months on the road we found ourselves in a sublet in Durango, CO.
For the last month and a half I’ve had the privilege to work for the Animas River Wetlands – a certified wetlands project just outside central Durango. The project is converting old hay fields back to their previous wetland state, filtering water for the Animas River that runs through downtown Durango. The Animas is a hot spot for Durango tourism and is held dearly in the hearts of those who live here.
If you recognize the name of the river that’s probably because you heard it on last night’s news, or the night before that. A week ago today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accidentally released 3 million gallons of mine water from the old 1800s Gold King Mine upstream in Silverton, CO. Thursday night that water reached Durango, turning the town’s beloved river a brilliant gold color and causing chaos.
Biking always terrified me. The fear was born at the beginning – I didn’t learn how to bike until I was seven years old, which to me was always horrifically embarrassing. I got my first nice bike when I was around ten from LL Bean, I loved it (dude, it was pink) but I didn’t really have anywhere to ride it. I lived out in the country surrounded by a combination of dirt roads perfect for my brothers’ BMX bikes and paved roads full of crazy traffic that I wasn’t allowed on. So I rarely rode. I quickly grew out of that bike and I never got a new one.
My first week in college I realized that Dickinson had a bike rental program. Awesome! Especially since I didn’t have a car. My new roommate and I decided to take a ride to Walmart with a new friend to get some decorations for our room. I forgot that it had been nearly a decade since I’d pedaled anything. The second I swung on to the crappy rental I realized how awkward I felt. I completely wiped out on the way there. That’s probably on the list of my life’s most embarrassing moments.
Not all food is actually food. Most of the stuff we can buy in the grocery store is chemically designed, processed, and manufactured. In Defense of Food is Pollan’s argument against this type of consumption, describing the reasons why processed food should be avoided and laying guidelines for a healthier diet. The guidelines were the main reason I read the book – I wanted the facts behind what I already believed was a healthier way to eat. Pollan’s simple manifesto? – “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.”
You’re better off eating whole fresh foods rather than processed food products. That’s what I mean by the recommendation to ‘eat food,’ which is not quite as simple as it sounds. For while it used to be that food was all you could eat, today there are thousands of other edible food-like substances in the supermarket.
– Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food
But Pollan’s “diet” could not have been sustained a few decades ago. He admits that “There would have been no way to eat the way I propose without going back to the land and growing your own food. It would have been the manifesto of a crackpot.” But that’s beauty of living today. We have choices. Almost every town, or at least county, has a farmers market – and they’re growing in numbers every year. More small farms are in this country than there have been for decades. The “real food” is there. We have the option to eat it. And if you know anything about the benefits of this type of eating for your health and the environment then you would be crazy not to.
Except for money.
I’ve never paid a utilities bill. I’ve paid a lot of tuition, loan, and insurance bills – but never water, electric, gas, etc. Since I started living in apartments in college I’ve always lived where rent “includes utilities.” Sounds awesome, right? In college it makes a lot of sense, landlords want to avoid stupid college kids avoiding utility bills and causing them lots of problems, so they rack up the monthly rate and pay the utilities themselves. This is great… for the landlords.
Currently, David and I are subletting from a guy on vacation (unfortunately it’s more like house sitting but we actually have to pay… oh well). At the moment, we’re searching for a longer term apartment for August 1st. While looking around Durango for an apartment David and I find ourselves debating the “utilities problem” a lot. Rent that includes utilities can make an apartment look more pleasing, but in reality I don’t think it’s helpful.
It’s been an inexcusably long time since I last posted. I’ll blame most of it on the fact that south eastern Utah is essentially an internet void, but the rest is my own fault entirely. In my last post we were at Bryce Canyon. Following that stop we hit Capital Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Arches, Moab, Canyonlands, and the Needles District. Each of those adventures deserves a post of it’s own, I intend to do my best.
At Canyonlands David and I made the decision to head back to Durango. Our wanderlust was fading and the prospect of camping in still-snow-packed Rocky Mountains was less than enticing. So we decided to skip the Colorado leg of the trip.
Ask anyone who’s lived with me – I take really fast showers.
Back when I was a preteen my dad challenged me to take a four minute shower. Today that’s my norm. My showers are anywhere from three to six minutes. Depending, of course, on whether I’m late for something or it’s a winter night so cold that I require time to thaw.
I just don’t see any reason why a shower should take longer. Sure, it feels great… it feels great while I’m washing, but then it’s time to get out. I don’t believe in wasting water. Four minutes is all I need to shampoo, condition, and wash my entire body – including my ears and my feet (I shave outside the shower, it’s easier to anyways). I lived in a sustainability house in college that allowed an average of two minute showers a day. Now that is a struggle. So, I showered every other day because hey, long hair takes a little time.
I have a soft spot for endearing things. I’m not talking about kittens, daisies, and tiny shoes for infants (though I coo at those things too, don’t get me wrong). Rather, I’m referring to antiques and antique-like-things. It’s a trait I get from my mother. When I was a child my mother used to frequent yard sales and bring home endearing pieces of furniture and decorations. It drove my dad mad. But I get it. I also love creating an environment that’s charming and whimsical. If I can create it from used, cheap items – hey, all the better.
Especially when I think said items have the potential to be practical. I love keeping and acquiring items that may, eventually, have a purpose. Though, as I’ve previously stated, I’m working on this habit – trying to acquire only things that have actually demonstrated usefulness. Like antique sewing machines… and teardrop trailers…
But it’s hard.
“Do it now, while you still can.”
This spring everyone was astoundingly supportive when they learned of our coming road trip. Our nerves concerning finances, logistics, and the future were dulled by the constant waves of positive encouragement we received from family, friends, and coworkers who knew of our plans. Repeatedly people told us “Do it while you’re young” and “I wish I could go with you.” But most often we heard, “Do it before you have responsibilities – it gets harder to do that kind of thing when you get older.”