First impressions: a quick sketch of the pasture from the porch of the ranch house
The Ranch is located in the Roaring Fork Valley. I stay in a ranch house, next to a stream, with tall willow trees about, whose leaves are now yellow-orange. We are surrounded by pasture, which leads to forested mountains, then snow-capped peaks in the distance. Yesterday, I stood on the back porch and did some quick sketches of the landscape. It snowed this morning, and the snow turned to rain. The pigs deigned to avoid the icy drizzle, and stayed in their pen. The cows and burros seemed to mind less, and were still out grazing. A Canada goose stood atop one of the structures, face to the wind, experienced the elements. The goose stayed there for the duration, and walked back and forth. Whether the bird was out to enjoy the view of the valley, take a cold shower, or something else entirely I do not know.
The ranch is run by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. Being an Environmental Educator and Ranch Hand, I will guide youngsters on educational programs involving caring for the animals and learning about ecological agriculture, as well as exploring the wetlands, fields, and forests and learning of the ecosystem therein. I'll also do my bit to care for our local population of chickens, cows, pigs, burros, and garden vegetables.
I have high hopes for this endeavor. I feel that it is in the spirit of The Homestead. It is thanks to The Homestead that I have made pursuit of opportunities like this one; the community in Ohio is the intellectual and emotional impetus for my eco-agrarian ambitions.
It was a long road trip from Seattle to Portland (where I visited Nisus and Stumptown comics shows, and Wealth Underground Farm) and then across Oregon, Idaho, and Utah, to reach Basalt, Colorado. Aerosmith contends that while “On the Road Again,” “you can do what you want.”1 I, however, found that I couldn't do much other than drive for most of the days, so great was the distance. Huge continent we live on. Makes me not even want to think about the size of the Milky Way Galaxy, much less the universe.
Near the end of my journey, I managed to do a bit of tourist activity, at Dinosaur National Monument, mostly on the Utah side. The pastel red and yellow plateaus and desert quietude captured my attention. So did the bones of a giant sauropod, which I viewed on a guided tour.
I also took in the Desert Voices Nature Trail, which had a set of interpretive signs, which were considerably more impressive than what we typically see. They were rich in their level of philosophical depth, and their use of the wisdom and artistic visions of children.
1. Pandora's Box disc 1