I’ve migrated to http://arcsecant.tumblr.com/. It was time, since I’m finding myself posting more media than text. You can find me there from now on.

“Secant” is a previous incarnation of Internet Me, but secant.tumblr.com is taken. Arc secant is the inverse of secant… it all seemed appropriate. And with the way the world is going, I don’t think I’ll have a paisley house any time in the next decade.

If math was never your bag, don’t worry about what secant or arc secant is. For simplicity, secant is the finder of roots. It always served me well.

Gang Starr is floating around in the background everywhere in my life this week. Radio, coming out of other cars, reposted in my twitter feed, in random dreams. Really odd…really rad? You know my steez.

The strangest thing about this farming season so far is that, being at PVF east rather than west, the farm is much closer in to the city, in the middle of the suburban swath between Tysons Corner and Reston/Sterling. Out at West, the farm is 60 acres, so you spend the entirety of your week sheltered from the world, mostly. You see the seven people you work with, you do your work, and that’s that. When a member of the general public accidentally drives into the farm looking for directions or to buy produce, it feels like an alien invasion.

But at East, as you can see in the picture above, there is literally a high-end subdivision of multi-million dollar homes right smack in the middle of the farm. To get to the largest of our fields, we have to whizz through the paved streets of the neighborhood on golf carts, dodging Fed Ex trucks and Lexus SUVs and housewives walking the dog. It never ceases to crack me up, since nine times out of ten, I’m covered in hay or mud or both, with two knives on my hip, jamming through in the golf cart with the roof sawed off, carrying 9 crates of spinach and three large hoes. It feels much more…exposed. But maybe that’s exactly what fancy-pants Tysons Corner dwellers need. “Welcome to your food chain, motherfuckers!”

Topless the golfcart in a rare moment of repose.

Oh holy jesus. Deep breaths. I…um… wow.

From the new shop’s newsletter that went out today (not written by me!) (*hyperventilates into a bag*):

“Not only knowledgeable about wine, Colleen is also recognized as an authority on beer. She has a wide understanding of all aspects of beer – from the brewing process, proper storage and serving, food pairings, and much more. You can find her in the shop on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Already, she has assembled a new collection of beers from the top local breweries that are popping up in the mid-Atlantic region.”

“Beer Tasting from 3:30 – 5:30. Colleen will pour 4 craft brews for your enjoyment. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy fine beer and Colleen’s expert commentary. She will explain the role that ingredients and brewing processes have in creating the many aromas and flavors in beer. (!!!!! -ed) Plus, she will answer any of your questions on how to match beer with food.”

Don’t worry. Only my commentary is expert. The rest of me will be all “O_O”
So, um…that’s how MY week went.
I am floored, flattered, terrified. I…omg.

My House of Cards survived the Week of Total Upheaval in strangely astonishing fashion. I can only liken it to someone shutting an attic window on me and then opening a fucking stargate to another realm of endless possibility. I still rub my eyes in disbelief at the gracious texts from the new shop owner, thanking me for my work and telling me to enjoy my evening.

This all turned out amazingly well, and the person who got me the new job deserves straight sainthood (thank you again), but uh…let’s not do that again any time soon. Now, a nap, and then, to figure out how to pay all this forward.

…they look at the stars and laugh.

I can’t hear this song, especially in a car at night, without thinking of October 1996. It’s 2 a.m., somewhere in nowhere Utah enroute to Idaho, and So-and-So, my boyfriend at the time, and I were exhausted and freezing, careening through the mountain darkness listening to this album. I spent a majority of its duration trying to simultaneously watch the road and look at the most amazing sky I’d ever seen. I don’t recommend the circumstances that brought us to that place at that time, but if you can re-create the situation in an easier way, do.

Continuing to pull myself to pieces reading MCA tributes.

After such a numb winter, this week….man. I’m not sure what to make of it.

(for those playing along at home with my 10k escapades..)

While tracking a PR 10k pace average this morning, a lightning storm I didn’t know was coming broke out and a sudden deluge of rain completely took out my iPod at 5k. I got stranded in front of a Hair Cuttery for a good 20 minutes just trying not to die. Did I mention I was also holding a key?

Ben Franklin called. He said “You gun DIE.”

Then I was late for work. Then MCA died. Then co-worker was out sick. Then then then then….

Motherfucking first world problems man. Today was the opposite of an Ice Cube track. Sometimes, you just have to put this stuff somewhere. Dear world, you win Friday, but this bottle of wine says I got next.

GRAAAAH OBSCURE NW PIEDMONT BARBERA WITH A NICE FRUIT-FORWARD ACIDITY AND DRY OLD WORLD-STYLE FINISH PERFECT WITH GRILLED VEGETABLES THAT I’M ONLY DRINKING BECAUSE THE ABC WAS ALREADY CLOSED WITH THE WHISKEY LOCKED INSIDE TAKE ME AWAY.

Veggies and dirt will heal my soul. Veggies and dirt will heal my soul. Veggies and dirt will heal my soul.

I have a hard time sitting through an entire Siouxsie album at this point, but would still like to enlist her as my crazy aunt-once-removed.

Now please.

I’m usually OK with, if not a fan, of well-done covers. But any cover of this just leaves me feeling ripped off.

…pretty much sums up my week so far.

I love this picture of her so much, I need to stash it somewhere more permanent.

The more time she spends with me, the more she becomes the hilarious introverted embodiment of my spirit. At night, she gets cranky and tired and naps facing the wall until everyone goes to bed. She’s taken lately to sitting in front of my bedroom door like a Chinese guardian lion until I fall asleep.

Actually she’s in the exact same place/position as in the picture at this very moment, fu cat-style.

Ah yes, the things I think about driving home in the dark.

So Adele is definitely beyond overplayed at the moment (which is sad/good for her?) but I am still digging this track:

…BUT…the math hurts my head.

She’s 23. Probably 19-21 when she wrote this song. Lyric: “She…is half your age.” Er… so either your ex is dating a, say, 15 year-old or younger, or, you, Adele, were dating a 40+ year old (if we’re going for legal adultness), which would also make you, ma’am, half his age.

Then again, I was never good at this whole artistic license/suspension of disbelief/old-ass sugar daddy thing. Rumor has it.

My ‘Friday’ night + copious red wine + warm, clear, windy weather + BRMC = trouble.

There’s a point, between the last quarter of the first cup of coffee and the first quarter of the second, where my system is flooded with inspiration, positive motivation, …some weird other-worldly light, for lack of a better description. It fades quickly, but man, if I could harness that even 10 hours out of every day, I wonder how my life would’ve turned out.

Or maybe that’s just why people get addicted to cocaine. Hmm.

…driving down Fountain Ave just after a fall sunset, windows down, headed east to The Echo or the Good Luck, smelling wildfire smog, lavender and sage, and skunk. (not that skunk. Real skunk. The animal. Hollywood is full of them.) Mental audio photograph.

It’s Placebo season

…more often than not.

I wrapped up a no sugar, no dairy, no alcohol, no grains, no bullshit “fast” yesterday, and am wading through the sugar/grain rampage hangover today (currently trying to soak up some of the poison with some freshly roasted sweet potatoes). While the indulgence last night was worth it and enjoyable, it didn’t taste nearly as good as I wanted it to. And I think that’s good.

Takeaways: The only stuff that tastes good anymore is the stuff that came out of the ground–not in a high and mighty self-righteous way…I’m pretty surprised at the change. When I did a similar month of this in 2009, but included fruit, it didn’t have quite the same effect on my taste buds. I’m happy to have wine and the occasional beer back in my life, but quality over quantity has definitely been underscored. I’m definitely preferring being fast and clear-of-head to convenience eating. I still would like a little heavy cream in my coffee here and there, and man, I am WAY excited for summer vegetable season.

If only Brian Warner had just stayed Brian Warner.

Stuck in my head lately.

I don’t post very often about running stuff/times because, much like the dream you had last night, no one really cares and it’s all relative. I don’t mean to be a jerk, but seeing some chick constantly post her slow-ass 10:45/mi nike+ run times to facebook all proud of herself is really obnoxious to me. So I’m very wary of posting about my own exploits even after 15 years of serious running because, well, someone’s always faster and working harder. I digress…

I’ve been chipping away at a specific time barrier for the 10k since something like 2009. Whenever I’ve gotten in a training groove and started getting close to breaking it, I’d switch jobs…or get injured…or work would get crazy…or I’d get insomnia. This time, I had been getting close in January, and I got the first cold I’ve had in 7 or 8 years and derailed once again.

For the past month, I’ve been on track, and while I’ve been setting PRs at least once every other week, creeping forward, it was always just 10 to 15 seconds faster…still a good 45 seconds to a minute off the goal. Do you know how IMPOSSIBLE it is to up your average pace for 6.2 miles to shave off that much time? Holy fuck. So, I’ve just been plodding forward, timing once a week and staying consistant. But on Friday, I KNEW I was close when I came up on the finish. Final results: 18 seconds off the goal. (AAAarrrgh)

Today was do or die. I don’t normally time runs this close together, but I had to try again. I knew I ran the first leg too fast and felt my pace drop hard in mile 5 and 6. I came into the last 100m outright gasping for air and almost flailing…crossed the finish…held my breath… …

SHATTERED. I beat the goal by a minute and 15 seconds. I may have also set a vertical leap record right there, jumping into the air and screaming “FUCK YES&%#@!” at the top of my lungs. I then airplaned down the path and back into my neighborhood.

I now feel like hell. But damn it was worth it.

So here we go. Year one almost over. 24 hours from now, 2/13/11, you met your end with no warning and that was it. Lights out, end of the road, gone from this earth. I’ll never hear your voice again.

I’m shaken by how much that still takes the wind out of me. How sometimes I still zone out while driving and miss my exit and have no idea how I got there. How there’s still a big, sucking hole in my chest. How I want to spend the next 24 hours in Memphis, laying on your grave black-out drunk and screaming.

I still don’t know where to put this information — it’s not like you want to tell people this shit. It feels like so much dramatic selfish bullshit. I want to celebrate your life and what you meant to me, but instead I just find myself mourning for the living.

Someday, I’ll be able to fill this date with something good. Love, warmth, trust, saftey? For now…adrift in a bottle of Velvet Devil.


I may be completely MIA from this blog at the moment, but I couldn’t let 2011: Year of WTF? go by without a wrap-up. How can I even begin to summarize the past 12 months? Last January, I knew my life would take drastic turns this year, but I never could’ve imagined. My apologies if this comes out kind of stream-of-consciousness style.

In February, I lost one of the loves of my life in a freak car accident, and felt emotionally set adrift for the majority of the year. In April, I left the corporate grind, completely and dramatically, and packed up the entirety of my life for the second time in 8 months to move an hour west to the middle of a field…and I worked. REALLY worked, for the first time in a long time. In July I then lost my grandmother–the grounding, sane foundation of the otherwise insane maternal side of my family. The world continued to send its reminder: nothing is promised but the fact that it all will end. Live now, not later.

I reconnected with running and finally figured out why workouts in the gym never felt like enough: it’s the outdoors, stupid. (I did not renew my gym membership.) I read the entire Harry Potter series, frantically planted kale on the back of a transplanter at 8:15 at night, tried $300 caviar, and deepened my love affair with the art of beer and cooking. I vowed, when the farming season was over, to not take a job that prevents being outside at least 4 days of the week. This has been possibly the most important improvement in my life so far.

I’ve learned an incredible amount about vegetables, physicality, wine, cheese, personal customer service and business structure from some incredibly unlikely places. I’ve been constantly reminded of the Apache Relay lyric, “Home is not places, it is love.” So here’s to 2012, making all this knowledge and change work together, and never forgetting to live. What. A Fucking. Year.

1. Firsts this Year:

  • There’s 800,000 of these, easily. Living in a house with snakes?
  • Driving multiple F-150s
  • Crashing a golf cart through a creek (repeatedly)
  • Harvesting garlic, turnips, kale, rhubarb, chard, lettuces, potatoes, beans, beets, everything
  • Finding a grasshopper, blister beetle, ticks, johnson grass, rocks, a small potato etc. in my pants
  • Launching watermelons off the back of a truck to watch them explode on the ground
  • Logging 10+ hour days of work without once seeing a computer screen
  • Being paid and consulted as a beverage expert

2. Song for 2011
I guess it’d have to be Apache Relay – Home is Not Places. But Eddie Vedder’s Hard Sun and Necro Facility’s Explode are close seconds.

3. Movie for 2011
Heh, the last Harry Potter, man!

4. Restaurant of the Year
Magnolias At the Mill kept me sane through one of the hottest Julys on record and provided hockey broadcasts when I was in need. Go see Morgan at the bar for some delicious brews.

5. Book of the Year
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (almost done with Book 3…must…finish….)

6. TV Show of the Year
Game of Thrones. Though Hell on Wheels is giving it a run for its money in the off-season.

7. Best Decision of the Year
Deciding to do whatever it takes financially to cut the corporate rope.

8. Bad Idea That Seemed Like A Good Idea At the Time
Many nights out at the Black Cat. Ugh.

9. Best Relationship of 2011

Carrie/Matty/Chris – my DC support crew trifecta, as was true for 2010. Though Ms. Mollie Z, my co-farmhand this summer, is a close contender to make it a er, quad-fecta?

10. Most Memorable β€œWTF?” Moment of 2011
Having my birthday vacation almost wiped out for the second year in a row by a hurricane. (We’re no longer going to the beach for my birthday.)

11. Newcomer of the Year Award
Mollie Z, Stacey & Casey and the rest of the farm crew. Much love.

12. Low Point of the Year
Late July was pretty ugly. Mid-February a close second.

13. Biggest Change of the Year

Uh….everything.

14. Plans/Goals for Next Year
Stability. Maine. More hiking. More $$ saving.

15. High Point of the Year
Hard to name just one. Many a Twin Peaks & cherry pie weekend, many a hockey & couch & beer night, many a farm happy hour / beer o’clock.

16. New Year’s Resolution(s)
No resolutions. Just forward motion.

I miss music. Good thing I have this new beer job to keep me company.

I will return! For now… 65 hour retail weeks. Ooof. (oh right, I need to update that Aboot page.)

In the meantime there’s new Skinny Puppy, new Florence + The Machine (holy crap If Only For a Night!), and poking around the new Ulver album/EP that came out in May that I somehow missed (and thus revisiting the weirdness of Blood Inside. 2005?! Seriously? Man…I am getting old fast. Somebody stop this crazy train.)

It’s also late fall/winter which means lots…and lots…of Bauhaus. She’s in Parties shuffled on in the car on the way home from work tonight and between the weekday night and the rain and the fall weather, I missed Dharma coffeehouse circa ’94 something FIERCE. Damn. Had a strong and sudden urge to drive to old town Fairfax and do 2 hours of Western Civ homework while smoking 555s. I miss you, Dharma.

Back again! Let’s get to it.

Boris – Just Abandoned Myself
This album is a good dose of everything + mid 90s punk circa ’05. Or something.

Amerie – 1 Thing
I warned you about the suddenly-having-access-to-everything-ever-bought-via-iTunes thing. (What happened to this chick?) (I forgot about the pantsless era of the 00s)

Warren G – Regulate
I seriously heard this on the radio last week. Just the first few notes makes me smirk.

Spank Rock – Rick Rubin
This album took me a while to warm up to but man I still love it.

Santi(o)gold – You’ll Find a Way (Switch & Sinden Remix)
Reminds me of Luisa and Laura screaming in the car in LA. Brings the LOLz.

Alias & Tarsier – Sleepy

Oh man! Blast from the past. This show was awesome.


As I wind down my first season as a farmhand, I find myself taking stock of what I’ve learned, how it’s changed me, and mostly, all of the pieces of my gear that have failed simultaneously as I near the six-month mark.

  • Waterproof pants (Sierra Designs): waistband cord exploded, zippers at ankles barely close, no longer waterproof at knees/thigh
  • Fleece jacket/liner (REI): Zipper pull disintegrated
  • Work boots (Ahnu): hole in left heel, but still remarkably viable
  • Waterproof/windproof shell (REI): No longer waterproof beyond a light shower
  • Knife (Kershaw): Lost when clip loosened and jettisoned knife off a moving golf cart (bought another).
  • Nitro work gloves (Atlas): Tomato stringing decimated dipped coating on one pair, sharp rock removed tip of two fingers on another. Good thing I have four pairs.
  • Work pants (Adventura): My favorite pants dammit! Mysterious rip in back of right thigh, huge gaping hole in left knee.
  • Sunglasses (Target): Now scratched enough to be unusable while driving due to, well, being unable to see.

Inexplicable top performers: Old navy cargo pants, my brother’s Iron Maiden 1988 tour shirt.

I still have four more days. I’m sure the clock is ticking on more…

“I live on the right side and sleep on the left, that’s why everything’s gotta be Love or Death.”

(driving wet, back country roads home with lightning and thunder in the distance, to this track = pretty fantastic)

(I do sleep on the left.)


Wyclef Jean – Gone ’til November
See you must understand, I can’t work a 9 to 5…so I’ll be gone…til November.

…which of course leads to…
Fugees – Ready or Not
There’s a great video for this but…uh…screw Vevo. Anywhere you go, my whole crew gonna know.

Pascow – Alles Muss Kaputt Sein
This is here purely to underscore why you shouldn’t iTunes while drunk. “What is…why do I own this?”

INXS – What You Need

Because I took three beers to the face rapidly after a long, long day of heavy manual labor and it’s moving me. Literally.

Big Country – Big Country

What plays in my head riding in the back of the F-150 lately while we drive out to the fields in the morning with all the leaves changing. (There’s a great video for this that was on MTV all the time, but I can’t find it. Boo.)

Project Pitchfork – Song of the Winds
I sometimes chant this under my breath when I’m tired of weeding and desperately want it to rain so I can go home. Truth.


The Cure – A Forest (Jumping Someone Else’s Train) (Plainsong) (The Walk)
I’ve been inexplicably spending time with Mixed Up…which led back to originals…which…etc

Wolves Like Us – Secret Handshake
This band is still everything right about 90s alternative. And Norway. And unfortunately not on youtube.

The National – Anyone’s Ghost
Yep.

Saul Williams – List of Demands
Can’t get away from Saul. If you ain’t dead then sing along.

Pearl Jam – State of Love and Trust
This is only on here because I saw some recent band was covering it and was all weirded out, “that song came out less than 10 years ago…jerkwads.” Oh…’92 you say? Oh. Yeah. Hmm. 20 years eh?

Which then lead to the movie Singles, which lead to..
Soundgarden – Face Pollution
There is nothing like plowing through traffic to this track.

I couldn’t let ALL of September go by without a Six. Whew!

White Lies

It’s officially Fall, which means if you don’t like heavy music, you may want to ignore my blog until May or June. Now, that we have that out of the way…

Wolves Like Us – Deathless
Something is….off about this album. Which, I’m sure, is why I like it. This is what you get when Norwegians who like The Afghan Whigs write metal…or something. The “Shiver in the Heat” track off this album has an almost-Pegboy feel. Crazy.

Florence & the Machine – Shake it Out
Blows Arcade Fire’s own sound out of their own water. Florence owns you.

White Lies – A Place to Hide

Also check out the KCRW in-studio of this… it still amazes me that he just…SOUNDS like that when he opens his mouth. They’re like…12. Ok, 19. Ok, 21.

Mastodon – The Ruiner
They’re not 12. And I’m sure a lot of longtime fans hate the new album. That’s unfortunate, and they should give me their tickets to the 11/27 show. Cheers! Alright!

Spank Rock – Energy
Spank Rock is totally ridiculous. But I hope the crazy train keeps going. Runner up: Nasty. You nasty.

The Head & The Heart – Down in the Valley
Just to keep you on your toes. This has been the farmstand soundtrack this week…I dig the time signature changes. (Hat tip: M. Watts. Have mercy on our rough and rowdy ways, indeed.)

Man. Serious work ish after normal work hours this week. But I will not be deterred. Forsooth! The Six was written by last Sunday! But alas, it’s been sitting handwritten on my table.

I admit that you certainly need to be in a mood for most of this week’s six. I’ve been in that mood it seems. We’re taking a hard left here.

Hey, That Guy's Not Chinese?
The Association – Along Comes Mary
I grew up listening to The Association in a passive way thanks to my father, but I had no idea how effing weird they were until I saw this “live” version of Along Comes Mary. The song is strangely syncopated and unique for the era. Groovy, man.

The Buckinghams – Kind of a Drag
One of those weird-ass multiple-hit producer wonders the 60s produced. They were asked to change their name to something “more British” due to Beatles Mania…hence, The Buckinghams. You know, a bunch of dudes from Chicago. Not awkward. This song is the strangest collision of 50s doo-wop and 60s mod/slang that it totally fascinates me for some reason.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Running Down a Dream

This has been popping up on the radio a lot when we’re tooling around in the trucks at work. Tom Petty has really grown on me in the last 10 years.

Simon & Garfunkel / The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter
I love this song. I may like the Bangles cover better. I think it’s my #1 karaoke choice. (whoa, that chick from The Lost Boys was in Less Than Zero? Huh.)

Snap – The Power (of Bhangra)
I went to look up this song for reasons that are surely strange (but I don’t remember at this point) and found a bhangra remix. Oh Snap, so ahead of your time. (Holy SHIT the flat top! Wow.)

Ella Fitzgerald – Summertime
I somehow went from my 60s wormhole to Porgy & Bess. I have no idea where that leap happened but…love this track. The progression of 30s weird-ass opera to jazz mainstay to Sublime bastardizing the melody/lyrics kind of boggles my mind.

Apologies for falling off the grid this past week. All of the Vienna farm has gone on vacation, which means we are basically on Harvest Frenzy mode 24-7. Good for paychecks, bad for…everything else. I picked multiple pecks of non-pickled peppers for 8 hours yesterday, for instance.

Next weekend I go on my first real vacation in a long while for my birthday, so don’t you worry, you’ll get way more of my ramble than you ever wanted. Wondering what to get me? Wonder no more! πŸ˜‰

“If 6 were 9, I’d lose my mind. Yeah I’d go crazy for ya all the time.” Oh, Chemlab. You DC kids, you. (Cheers to Jared, who’s looking a lot saner and healthier than many of his compatriots these days. Still batshit crazy though.)

I DIGRESS! Chemlab is not on the six!

Geoff Tate (Queensryche) – Chasing Blue Sky
Man, I’m confused. I have this song because it’s on a Geoff Tate solo album that I bought a few years ago in LA. Now the internet is trying to tell me it’s only on a Queensryche greatest hits album. …Internet cover-up conspiracy?! They’re playing the 930 tonight. Once again, I am missing it, as I have for 20 years. CURSES.

Placebo – Infra Red (Live from Nimes)
I really prefer this version. It sounds heavier and thicker than the album version.

NIN – Perfect Drug
I don’t remember particularly liking this when it came out, but it marks a particularly vivid part of my life, and has grown on me substantially in passing years. (Wow, this video is somehow very Harry Potter before there was Harry Potter. Huh, and I guess Trent finally got the asian girl he always wanted. Interesting.)

Killing Joke – European Super State
It just makes me laugh. Have a beer with me and The Outre Girl some night, and we’ll explain.

Wolfsheim – Kissing the Wall
This track makes me think of driving to Christmas dinner in the snow (?) and driving aimlessly around the VA Tech campus on winter nights looking for parking. Ha. OK I guess that doesn’t sound so great… but I it’s the “cold” memory associations that has me listening lately. Seeing these guys in the rain at night, standing on a hilltop in Germany…still one of my top 5 shows ever. I could listen to Peter Heppner sing the phonebook. I can’t describe it.

Peter sings me the phonebook. Part I.


The Folk Implosion – Natural One
I know nothing, zero about this band. I just like this track. Always have.


I hopped in one of the farm trucks the other day with a co-worker, and we took off for the far fields, bumping along the road by the compost and broken-down trucks while the beginning of Tool’s Schism played on the radio. After about 30 seconds of it, she grabbed for the dial saying, “well…that’s depressing.”

I mean, I get that. Sure, it sounds like dark, dirgey music. I can see how someone would prefer to always listen to upbeat, faster tempo music. It “sounds happier.” But I’ve never seen it that way.

As a kid learning piano, I was fascinated the first time I was introduced to a minuet in a minor key. To six year old me, yes–it sounded scary, but in this amazing, beautiful, powerful way. It wasn’t scary-movie music, it just sounded intense and real, instead of frivolous and springy. I’ve always felt that way. Heavy, booming basslines, minor keys, huge drums with tons of reverb…it doesn’t sound depressing, it sounds like energy. Like passion and drama and excitement. Sure, I love the Lightning Seeds – Pure, but Project Pitchfork – Conjure gives me goosebumps to this day.


Today my head subjected me to “Tarragon City” and “Dirty Beets”. I swear to god, I don’t think about these things…they just pop into my head. I’m as baffled as you.

“Take me down to the tarragon city
Where the herbs are fresh
And the leaves are pree-tay”

“Dirty Beets!
Don’t. come. cheap.
Dirty Beets.
Don’t. come. cheap.
Dirty Beets!
Don’t. come. cheap.
Dirty beets and they don’t come cheap.
Diiirrrtay beets and they don’t come cheap.”

Feel free to complete the rest of the lyrics. I didn’t get that far.

I have 3 weeks, 3 days until my annual epic summer birthday beach vacation in Avon, N.C.

Last year was evacuated and cut short due to Hurricane Earl. Happy 30th! Now go home.

Dear Universe, I am working hard. I am feeding the people. You owe me. I demand sub-90 temperatures immediately, and a tropical-system-free 31st birthday later. (I don’t ask much.)

I’ll figure all that bill shit out later. Let’s do this.

Man these take me forever. Need to get the Spotify crankin’.
As you may have read, I’ve been revisiting a lot of “comfortable” music for playlists for the farmstand. The whole task is kind of cracking me up.


Appleseed Cast – Ceremony
This band and This Will Destroy You meld together in my head into one big discography of epic awesomeness. I’m PISSED I’ve still never seen either live, despite both having played the El Rey while I lived walking distance from it. BAH!

Black Flag – TV Party

It still makes me laugh that there’s a video for this track. Officially approved by me as music to sell vegetables to. I may have also on occasion left the mix that this is on on at the end of my shift to “musicbomb” the next worker. I can neither confirm nor deny.

Oasis – Morning Glory

This track pops in my head often as I weed. I do not remember that being the video… weird. Maybe there were two versions? PS: Man I have a weird love/hate relationship with Oasis. Stupid top 40 radio.

Team Sleep – Blvd Nights

The first time I listened to this album in entirety, I was driving through Agoura Hills, CA at sunset on the way to a party. Seriously epic.

Portishead – Glory Box

“Dummy” has been on my ‘stand playlist. Kind of an interesting back drop. Weird fact: someone wrote me a long love letter once while listening to this album, quoting this track. Kind of strange to think about now. Back when men remembered how to use pens and stamps. πŸ˜‰

Adele – Best For Last
A recently heartbroken friend got me thinking about this track, and some seriously brutal nights it got me through. So good.

Er… yeah. I mean… I grew up here, and I’ve lived through some shit. And I’ve been to some corners of the earth. And I’ve driven through the Mojave Desert and Death Valley and Arizona in August (and vacationed in Las Vegas in August) but…

Dude…. it’s hot. Did I mention the farmhouse doesn’t have A/C? It’s hard to breathe. Send more popsicles.

Even the full-blast A/C at Magnolia’s didn’t feel colder than warm-room temperature. Oof.

(But yes, I’d still take it over LA’s June Gloom. Thanks for asking.)

Somewhat related to Farm Wisdom, there’s Field Songs.

Even though there’s usually 3-4 of us in a field doing whatever at any given moment, fields are large, after all, and there’s usually long stretches of silent solitude. I usually spend this time cursing whatever I’m harvesting, thinking about sleep and/or lemonade, or willing hellfire to rain from the skies and destroy all gnats, but when I’m not doing one of those three things, I’m replacing the lyrics to well-known songs in my head with more farm-centric lyrics.

Two recent favorites:
“SquashPants Buttrot”
Squash gets this thing we call butt rot–it’s when the end of the squash where the squash blossom was starts to prematurely rot and take out half the squash. Hence, butt rot. Also, when harvesting squash, the blossom end 85% of the time is somewhat gooey, requiring you to clean up the squash. Usually all you have to do this…is your pants. Hence, squash pants. Just add someone talking about SpongeBob earlier, and my head gives you: “Who lives in a bush that’s bigger than meeeeee SQUASHPANTS BUTTROT! Long and cylindrical, gooey is he SQUASHPANTS BUTTROT!” etc.

Bean Beetle Paradise
Green/string beans grow on small bushy plants that are LOVED by these electric yellow fuzzy bugs called Mexican Bean Beetles. As I was harvesting beans today, one of the plants was effing COVERED in them, which prompted without warning from my conscious mind: “been living most our lives livin’ in a bean beetle paradise. No beans for you next Fri, livin’ in a bean beeeee-tle paradise”

Also, somewhat related, it’s incredibly odd to be walking around the Purcellville Giant when the Ghostbusters theme comes on over the muzak system and literally no one reacts. Did someone accidentally dial in the Halloween station? So weird. “You’re shopping for beer eh? BUSTIN’ MAKES ME FEEL GOOOOOD!”

So weird.


Totally required reading for anyone that’s worked in an industry that actually “makes” stuff, under management that is obsessed with meetings. There should be an entire required college course on this for anyone getting a B.A. or B.S.
Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule

YES!

This Will Destroy You – Grandfather Clock

This is another track that I go through yearly cycles with. Reminds me of odd rainy days during LA winters.

Estelle – Magnificent
Love Estelle. This is a summer driving song.

Rocky Votolato – The Night’s Disguise
My eyes uncontrollably leak when he plays this, and Makers, live. And I am not that girl. Another driving-home-from-the-Troubadour-howling-at-the-top-of-my-lungs track.

Bad Brains – Hired Gun
A friend recently mentioned that i against i was his favorite album. I agree.

Apparat and Ellen Allien – Leave Me Alone
“Too many messages…. on my phone…. leave me alone.”

Death Cab for Cutie – Title and Registration
Well, I have a hard time listening to Rocky without thinking of this track/album.

Bonus: Necro Facility – Waiting For the Snow
Because I am. Oh… I am. This isn’t on youtube? This… baffles me.

Desperately missing my LA crews over the last few weeks. Where do these stupid waves of emotion come from? The grass-is-always-greener aspect to my life has always frustrated me. I just want all the love & awesome in one place. And to catch a show at Hotel Cafe after a wine tasting at SLW, then swing by Shane’s place on Yucca for some cheap beer while we berate each other over musical nonsense and figure out who will bring us thai food.

But I still wouldn’t drive to Long Beach. Shit is far.

So, the funny thing about farms, is that when you picture one, I’m sure you picture what I do: huge expanses of lush fields…. as far as the eye can see. You know…FLAT. Kansas.

Our farm is not flat. Basically, the shop area and barn sits in the middle, and it’s uphill out of the area, both ways. To the south, it’s over a bridge, around a corner and up a gentle slope through the deer fence to the compost fields and the BIG fields. To the north though, towards the greenhouse and farm stand, you go up one steep hill, down the other side, across a creek and then back up a seriously steep, graveled hill.

The gravel is just an illusion of traction.

When it’s bone dry, you still have to learn tactics about how to get the various F-150s the farm has up these hills. There’s speed strategy, and steering strategy, and acceleration timing. When it rains? You know, like today, this all goes to shit.

After climbing 3/4s of the north hill towards the greenhouse today I became irreparably stuck. I had already reversed almost all the way into the creek to try and get some traction on the gravel, to no avail. I had to be towed backwards by tractor, across the creek, back up the hill, back into the shop area. …I do not recommend this.

The lesson here kids, is this: When it’s raining? Take the damn golf cart.

I’ve been a little nostalgic lately. What of it?

Spahn Ranch – Locusts (THERE’S A VIDEO FOR LOCUSTS?! Er…. skip that. Yikes.) / Vortex (AGGGH PAPYRUS FONT!)
Nostalgia. Can we all go out to a club night soon please? *destroys a dark corner of the dance floor*

Black Angels – Black Grease
Love this track. Wish the band didn’t create such a hippie drum circle cluster-f live. Bleargh.

Skinny Puppy – Morter
(AGGGH MORE PAPYRUS FONT!)
The opening sample from this track popped into my head earlier this week. And obviously, the discussion of Necro Facility over the past month has caused a lot of Skinny Puppy/ OMGNOTSKINNYPUPPYDIEINAFIRE discussion to surface. *shrug* Good memories tied to this album.

Machines of Loving Grace – Golgotha Tenement Blues
DAMN, I miss Machines of Loving Grace. The internet did not get awesome enough fast enough to save them from oblivion. A sadder wikipedia has never been had. (ok not really) Arizona? Really?

Helmet – Milktoast

I may be listening to The Crow soundtrack. WHATOFIT. The release of The Crow colors my early adolescence (and the year I met many of you) heavily. This is where you are now either a) appalled at my youth b) appalled at my grotesque age. (Is no one else ever the same age as me?) PS: I miss Helmet.

Cee-Lo featuring Pharrell – The Art of Noise

If this doesn’t make you groove, something is wrong with you. Always makes me smile.

My grandmother is dying, very rapidly, and I’m guessing I’ll be heading to PA soon. It feels kind of like the world is coming apart at the seams and sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing out here. Love feels very far away lately and I wish I could just give everything to everyone.

I just want you all to be OK. We work SO hard to just be happy and safe… but they’re the hardest things in life to hold.

I’ve acquired some gems of wisdom on the farm that can be applied pretty broadly. I feel the need to save them somewhere, as well as share the wealth, but please note that these nuggets of wisdom will always be dropped with tongue firmly in cheek.

1) Hoe in the direction you want to go. Don’t push that dirt forward onto yourself.

2) You can handle infinitely more grossness while wearing gloves.

3) Hard labor is much easier with classic rock (during), and beer (after).

Basil Harvest

Michelle and Kate harvesting basil way too early in the morning, two Fridays ago.


I feel like we can already call this mid-summer with how hot it’s been. My apologies, the season is marching on and I have been remiss in my farm blogging duties.

We’re now into what I’d call the beginning of The Real Season. We’re beginning to take squash, peas, and the first of the tomatoes to market, and our trucks don’t just look like big packs of greens on wheels anymore, which is a nice change of pace. Our roadside stand opens full-time this Friday, and as its manager this year, well…shizz is about to get real for me I think. I have to say, I’m looking forward to the half-day shifts in the stand as a nice break for my bones and a way to enjoy the fruits/veggies of our labor while meeting some of our local customer base. It’s nice to remember why you’re doing this in the first place…feeding the people!

I’m starting to feel like I almost know what I’m doing most of the time. I can identify plants and tools, have an idea of seasons within the season and what grows when, how to identify pest damage, how long things should take to accomplish, etc. If I wanted to plant a garden in someone’s (small!) backyard, I feel like I now have the rudimentary knowledge to get it done. That’s pretty satisfying.

I took this full weekend off (my first in 6 weeks or so) to try and let my joints recover a bit and see my chiropractor. While I was ready for daily labor, there is definitely an aspect to this life that you can’t really wrap your head around until you’re living it. Anyone who’s trained hard in the gym for an event knows the feeling: hitting the “thickest” part of your training where you’re training 6 days a week for a brief spell, trying to capitalize on the peak of your fitness before easing up right before the event. This is what working the farm feels like almost all the time.

It’s odd, because I’m never actually sore, not the way I am after days of hard runs and weight training, but it’s more like my skeleton is sore. Like my resolve is weary and my endurance is bruised. It sneaks up on you, because you’re never moving fast on the farm…the ground is uneven, the loads are heavy, the air is thick…light and quick has no meaning there. It’s a different, more grinding tired all together. The main result? It has re-amped my love for running a hundred times over. To move, in light clothes, with no heavy gear, listening to loud music, fast and hard down a road uninterrupted for an hour is a total revelation.

That said, my kingdom for a professional massage. Reminder: my 31st birthday is August 29th. πŸ˜‰ Just sayin.

…then again, when does it not?

SWEEEEDES.
Depeche Mode – Precious
I played this song to death when it came out, probably because it sounds so good in headphones, but got sick of it for years. It suddenly popped into my head the other day in the field — brain has decided it is acceptable again?

Necro Facility – Fall Apart
Due to an unrelenting internet “omgwtfbbqsogood!” campaign of the old skool club kids-side of my acquaintances, I finally gave this album a listen. After hearing this track in my car, I understood. I hate my friends. Just…bear with it through the first verse. And listen in headphones. ***I WILL NOT DEFEND IT..IT’S GOOD AND YOU LIKE IT. SHUT UP. *dances in circles*

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song
I’m sure it started with the cover in the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trailer, but this has been back in my head. Especially while weeding/listening to Necro Facility / thinking about Swedes / Game of Thrones.

Genesis – Land of Confusion
This popped into my head out of nowhere recently. Damn it’s a good song. (You’ve all seen the video if you’re over 28 – Ronald Reagan mask? – Here’s the live version… it’s great!)

Steve Perry – Oh Sherry
I am the only person on this farm that would be sorting “O’Henry” variety sweet potato slips and get this stuck in my head. I may be a child of the 80s. Maybe. (holy video, batman)

Therapy? – Turn
GOD THIS ALBUM IS STILL SO GOOD. Rekkanize.