Long Overdue “Ithaca is Gorges”

Well here I am, I can’t believe I have been up here for a week now! Where does the time go? I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences since I’ve been up here and I’m sure many more are to follow. It is so nice to get away and try something new. Now, for a long overdue post about my weekend.

There are few words to really describe how this weekend went, it was absolutely kickass. On Saturday I got up extremely early, think 6:30 a.m. early, and got ready for the day. Then I began planning out my trip to Ithaca, showered, gathered up my electronics, and out the door I went.

I first stopped at the base of the stairs, I could see the turkeys and the chickens hanging out in the garage. I began talking to them, and all of the chickens ran out to greet me, their soft coos were very warming. The turkeys also came to the front of the door and began making soft noises at me. It was unlike any other “good morning” I’ve ever gotten. I smiled and headed for the car.

The drive up to Ithaca was really great, it was only 45 minutes, 15 minutes of which is just getting from the farm to Watkins Glen. Ithaca itself is only 21 miles outside of Watkins, which is really awesome. The drive up was very scenic, but as soon as I rounded the corner into Ithaca, I knew I was going to be in a place i’d like. I was greeted by various displays of art on buildings and graffiti. There were also several different metal sculptures floating around. It striked me as a very artsy place. Coming into town, it reminded me of a much smaller “Pittsburgh” with a lot less traffic and much prettier scenery.

My first stop was off at the “Eastern Mountain Sports” store. I’ve been wanting to pick up some new kicks for awhile to wear while hiking, since the whole wet feet in winter thing wasn’t working out to well. There is also lots of mud up here at the farm, so I figured its about time for some boots. The store was pretty cool, lots of great outdoorsy type clothes, gadgets, and tools. For about the first time in my life I found a pair of shoes in less than five minutes, so I was very excited! Needless to say I’ve got a sweet new pair of winter boots.

After this, I had to go find the very-much talked about co-op, “GreenStar Natural Foods Market” to grab a bite to eat. I walked in and my mouth dropped a little, I’m sure I looked like an “out-of-towny”. This was by far thee coolest co-op I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of them! Not only did they have the standard health foods and organic selections, but they also had a very large bulk section, which can be a rarity in many places. Then to top it off, they had a wonderful little cafe with lots of veggie friendly items on the menu. Needless to say I splurged on a “Vegan Melt” with my favorite “G.T.’s” cranberry Kombucha. It took everything in me not to buy a “Cowgirl” cookie, its been so long since i’ve had one!

Next on my to-do list, I decided to head downtown to check out some shops. I found lots of really cool and interesting places to check out. The Commons was pretty badass. I went into many art shops, galleries, and crafty/jewelry places. One of my favorite places was “Autumn Leaves Used Books“, in there I found that had a basement full of records, 10,000 records! I was in my glory. It took everything in me to not walk out with any. This shop was also dog-friendly, something that isn’t heard of back home. I just smiled.

While I was downtown, I got to talk to many different shop workers. One in particular at “Ithaca’s Outdoor Store” chatted with me for a little while about the area, sights, and things to do. I was told that it was a very artsy, music-friendly place to be. He said that the only downsides were that it can be a little pricey (college town), and the people can be weird. I just laughed, the price would be the only thing to worry me, but certainly not the people, I’d fit right in i’m sure.

Some of the other cool shops I got to venture into were: “15 Steps” (An art/jewelry store), “American Crafts” (another art store), “Ithaca Hemp Company” (eco-friendly hemp products), “Loose Threads” (A thrifty clothing store), and “Comics for Collectors” (comic store). I saw so many neat things and all of the people I met were incredibly friendly and willing to chat with me about the area. I heard nothing but positive things about this wonderful place. I also really loved that around every corner, paint was slapped on a wall and metal work hung from shop corners.

At the comic shop worker’s suggestion, I decided to go up to Cornell next to have a look around at the architecture. It was only a short drive away from downtown, and wow were the buildings beautiful. I felt like I was in a scene from Harry Potter, they really were magnificent. I also stumbled upon the Gorge which was just amazing. It is definitely a must see, unfortunately they close the gorge trail off during this time of year, so I will certainly have to return in the spring to go check it out.

After my long day in Ithaca, it was time to head back to the farm. The next day I went over to the Watkins Glen State Park which is a whole other amazing adventure in itself, but I’ll save some of those wonderful stories for a later day, as to I’m sure I will be heading there more often.

As far as farm life goes, on Monday I finally finished packing the rest of the chocolate Valentine’s day orders, woohoo! Then today I got to go through tons of FS photos to find perfect ones to go up on the website. I definitely love going through other photographers work to see their style and creativity.

Later this week I will get to go out into the animal pens and photograph and film, which I am very excited about! Any who, it’s late, so off to bed for me, more stories to come later!

 

(Featured in the pictures: Wonderful food provided by Green Mountain Coffee, The Farm, and Kittahs!)

Just Passing By

Well I have had a busy weekend taking in the sights and exploring. I will keep this short, and add lots of pictures. I absolutely loved my trip to Ithaca! It is an absolute totally awesome place. It’s very artsy, musical, and weird people friendly! After my trip, I also checked out the base of the Gorge in Watkins Glen. But it was getting dark, so I had to head back to the farm.

As for today, I went outside and spoke to the chickens and turkeys and they gracefully came out to greet me. They are very sweet. The chickens coo so softly. Then I went exploring the Gorge in Watkins Glen. This was a great experience, totally unlike anything I’ve felt in a long long time! It was such an incredible experience.

Enjoy the photos!

 

Yesterday

Well yesterday was an interesting day. For the better part of the day during my internship, it was my job to help package and post Farm Sanctuary’s Valentine’s day chocolates out to the buyers. This was a very tedious task. After about six hours of taping boxes, stuffing them, then shipping them, I was ready to go out and have some fun! Even though it was a long one, and being around chocolate all day was torture, it was really good to see that so many people had purchased the chocolate because all of that money goes right back into the shelter. It was great to be able to see that FS has supporters from all over the country and some even over seas!

After work though, it was time to go out. There was a “Crow Awareness Night” in Montour Falls at the Harvest Cafe. This awareness night was set up to help teach the public about crows and their intelligence in light of the up and coming crow hunt in Auburn, NY. When I walked into the cafe, it was a wonderful sight. It had a real small town, cozy, coffeehouse feel to it. There was also plenty of great free food!

During the evening, they placed a documentary which appeared on PBS titled “A Murder of Crows”. It was about how intelligent crows are and how they use tools and can recognize faces for a very long time, as well as teach their young to recognize face. Although I had heard most of the information before, it was still a great documentary to watch. These creatures were described as “feathered apes” because of their high intelligence.

There’s even things crows have learned to do, such as make hooks, which according to the documentary, Chimps haven’t even done. The crows also have exhibited intelligence enough to take one tool and use it to get another tool in order to use that specific tool to get at food. Overall, it was a nice evening at the cafe, I find it however sad that many “hunters” are going to go out and kill hundreds of these intelligent creatures. It especially bothers me because this is considered a sport, and they aren’t even going to be eaten. Sometimes I just wonder about people.

As the crow night ended, my housemate and I decided to we wanted to go check out the “Rooster Fish”. On our way there, I caught something bright and brilliant out of the corner of my eye. As we passed a couple more trees, I pulled off to the side of the road, off in the distance was this magnificent waterfall! I stopped and put my four-ways on, then we went and walked over to take a better look. It was absolutely stunning. It was so beautiful in the night light, as the water misted up over the wall. The pictures do not do it justice! I can’t wait to go back during the day and photograph it. There are also apparently many other waterfalls in this part of the state that I can’t wait to go check out.

Once we hopped back in the car, we headed over to the Rooster Fish. I was surprised to see only about 10 people in the bar. There was also a live band playing which was pretty awesome. I had been to the Rooster Fish once before, but it was a couple of years ago. It has a very rustic, old feel to it. There is also a neat brewery in the back. I love the feel of it in there. By this time, I had already had one beer while I was at the Harvest Cafe, so I decided to just order a water, nothing too fancy. I enjoyed some good conversation with my housemate, then we headed back to the farm.

Overall it was a really good day, not only did I get to help ship out lots of chocolate to happy Farm Sanctuary supporters, but I also got to check out some new venues and enjoy good food, beer, and music. It was a good day.

First Day Experience

Today was a good day. After finishing up my Ezekiel cereal and getting out the door, I had a nice walk down to the building where I would be working. It was a little cool out, but nothing too bad. It takes about 10 minutes by foot to get to my job. I enjoyed the walk, there is a lot to look at. The morning was quiet, only a few geese could be heard frolicking around in the water. The muted colors of winter got lost in the snow that was falling softly.

My duties today were rather simple. I met some of the office workers and got to check out some official Farm Sanctuary film equipment, which got me excited. It seems as though I will be doing several different projects throughout my internship ranging from organizing media, to photographing, filming and anything else that needs done in between. I’m super excited to jump into some of these creative projects. I’m really craving this creative energy.

I spent the better part of the day watching all of Farm Sanctuary’s Youtube videos in which I got to organize them and go through all the footage that was available. This was a great opportunity for me to see what has already been done and how other people have taken many different approaches to filming the sanctuary’s day to day activities. I have also been kicking around some ideas of my own before I came to the farm. However, today I got to ask the questions that I’ve really been wanting to ask, which were in relation to how I could go about producing my own piece while I’m here. It turns out that approaching the idea was much easier than expected.

All in all, I have the opportunity to kick around some ideas and write up a treatment which may be approved. I am definitely going to put my best foot forward! The idea of making a documentary while I’m here is very exciting! I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to arise, and if I could produce something that many other people will see, then the knowledge of what Farm Sanctuary is about will reach a larger audience.

Tonight I have many thoughts and emotions going through my mind. For everyone wonderful video that I watched today of playing pigsyoung calves prancing around, and goats enjoying the farm, there was something equally difficult to watch on the other end of the spectrum. I watched things today that I haven’t watched in years, like cows being beaten who can’t even stand, pigs who are confined so tight that they can’t even move around while standing in their own waste, and chickens who never see the light of day. These are the videos that originally made me choose the lifestyle that I have chosen. It is however to easy to forget about the thousands of horrific things that go on every day in their lives.

However, these things that happen to these animals are not filmed in a way to show “the worst” of the situations. These are the situations. You can’t deny that factory farming is the main form of how all animal products are produced. If you’re buying it in a grocery store, there is no way that animal even had a chance of being happy. There is this sad misconception that dairy comes from happy cows that live out in pastures, that bacon comes from pigs who live out in fields, and eggs are just taken from chickens in large coops. These misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth though. It makes me sad to think about it. I’ve gotten every response possible from people about my lifestyle. I was once told by someone that “Ignorance is bliss”. This may be true, but I know that if I saw a dog confined in a space so tight that it couldn’t move around for months or years on end, that never saw the light of day, never felt the companionship of it’s own species, or shown a bit of love, I’d be right there trying to help it, not ignore it.

A Little Dabble

Here a few mobile photos I took today, I of course cannot wait to crack out my real camera! Today I got to visit all of the animals on the farm. First stop: the cows! Then it was off to the pigs, such gentle sweet creatures. The cat featured has become my new bed buddy, she is such a sweetheart (and adoptable!). Then ending with a beauitful sunset, it is absolutely gorgeous up here.