Just a few days ago I celebrated California’s and my one-year anniversary. On January 18th, 2011, I got on a train in Portland with my bike and a couple of big duffel bags, and on January 19th, I disembarked in the Bay Area. It was a heck of a year, with plenty of ups and downs and adventure (if not quite as much as 2010, when I rode my bike from Portland to Yorktown, Virginia! I’ll share some photos from that trip at some point). Back when it was still 2011, I started putting together this post of photos from my year, and I’ve finally finished it… a little late, perhaps, but 2011 will stick with me for awhile, I know. Here goes.
A. was in town for the holidays and we took a quick road trip to the Oregon coast with a few friends; I made this silly video about it. I said goodbye to Portland, my home of seven years, and moved to Berkeley, where magnolias bloom in January. A. met me at the train station. One week later I gave him a book I’d made for him; the last page said “will you marry me?”
Fruit trees blossomed. We explored the Bay.
On the first of the month I moved to the Regenerative Design Institute, outside of Bolinas, in Marin County. For the next six months I slept in my trusty little yellow tent and ate in a building made of straw and earth. I posted a bunch of photos from my time there here and here. I ate salads full of wild greens, made fresh goat’s milk cheese, and gathered eggs from beneath annoyed hens. A.’s mom came to visit.
I carried a just-born goat kid pressed against my chest across a field to the barn, and helped my fellow farmers and her worried mama feed her until she could nurse by herself. We harvested honey from hive boxes and caught a swarm that buzzed in a lemon tree in the orchard.
I visited my aunt’s golden land in Lake County, and wandered the hills with her dogs, my cousins, and an intrepid cat. A. and I drove up to Portland so he could join his friend Jordan for a bike tour down the coast. Right around the end of the month, I caught a craigslist ride up to Arcata and joined them for a week or so through Humboldt and Mendocino counties.
A. and Jordan arrived at the farm and hung out for a couple of days before heading on to points south. We explored the shore during a minus tide, and my mom came to visit. The farm hosted a two-week permaculture design course, and the atmosphere was bustling and social. We all celebrated the summer solstice with a ceremony led by a visiting permaculture instructor. Oh, and we made a lot of pizza in the cob oven. Yummmm.
A talent show and late-night campfire jam marked the end of the permaculture course. I spent the fourth of July cheering for my favorite little town at the Bolinas v. Stinson Beach tug-o-war and then watching the town parade. Celebrated my 26th birthday in Berkeley with drinks and homemade vegan chocolate cake courtesy of friends.
Did some processing of our abundant harvest, and prepared to leave the farm. We threw a big end-of-summer going-away party, and in short order I moved to Berkeley, photographed Ben & Elana’s beautiful wedding, and started a new job at an elementary school in Oakland.
A.’s folks came to visit, and we took a roadtrip to Monterey and Big Sur.
We went to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival and visited the farm. The Occupy movement started to make things pretty interesting around here.
A mass day of action in Oakland shut down the port. A. turned 26. I went to Portland to spend Thanksgiving with my family and see friends.
Oh, what a month! Sarah came to visit for a few days on her way to the midwest. When my winter break started, A. and I took off for sunny southern California. We met up with friends in LA and then spent a couple of days at Joshua Tree National Park (which is basically a stunningly beautiful playground for grown-ups). We stopped for a night in Santa Barbara with some of my family, and then drove all the way north to Portland for the holidays.