Sunday, May 27, 2007

Upon further reflection

It has been good to get away from San Francisco for a while. I need to be reminded how others live outside of California. To live in the South for three months has been really refreshing. It has broken through my stereotypes and misconceptions and the ignorance that I harbored about a part of our country that I considered "backwards." I came there with my provincial attitude that California is great, leading the nation in progressive thought and policies. We all recycle and eat organic! We are a Blue state. In my mind, North Carolina was conservative, redneck, segregated, haven for ignorant smokers, flag waving, and pro-military.

I feel like I've gone through a conversion of perspective. It's like traveling through a foreign country and getting to know the real people, not just what you see in movies or on television. I have found that I have more common ground with those around me than not. We're all upset that jobs are going overseas and people are fighting to protect their resources before they're developed and gone. Many of the folks around me do not have the best of educations, but they're wise and smart in ways that I'll never be. Bobby, Tommy and Sammy can all build, repair, and rig up anything you can think of. They're educated by their hard work. They've gained wisdom by building supportive families and communities. They're farmers, mechanics, and carpenters. Why would they want to ruin the land that provides food for their families and an income? Everyone around here knows how to garden, when to plant, when to hay, when to harvest, and how to store the abundance from the garden.

I'm saddened by the news that Klaussner Furniture in Asheboro was just purchased by the Chinese. The North Carolina furniture industry is becoming antiquated. Everything is now being made overseas. California isn't the only state feeling the effects of outsourced jobs. The unemployed mill worker has a lot in common with the unemployed tech industry accountant. Both are seeing their jobs move outside of the US where labor is cheap.

Happy calves like to suck on each other's ears after drinking whey. I have no idea why.

I am reminded of the phrase "Look for the good in others and they'll see the good in you." Southern hospitality is still vital and alive. Strangers make eye contact with you and smile. Most folks will take the time to talk to you if you give them the opportunity. Almost everyone I've met has been amazingly kind and giving. Even the clerk behind the counter at the drugstore is genuinely friendly. I feel that my life has been enriched by the time I've spent with the Steve, Lee, Ginnie, and Nathan Tate, Sammy, Carrie Carrie and her husband Bobby, Carrie's parents Tommy and Sue, Miriam, Jessie and Little Carrie. I will miss the open, honest community that I have discovered here in North Carolina. It has been a great awakening for me. I feel ready and more comfortable leaving San Francisco and building my own community in the countryside. I'm ready for a more rural existence in a place where folks wave at each other as they speed along country roads.

I have discovered that I CAN live without the constant drone of traffic, the struggle to find parking, sushi, Asian food, Mexican food, foreign films, major league baseball, cable television, and street lights. I find other things to occupy my time. I've been writing this blog, I've been taking lots of photographs. I've been simply watching the unfolding of the seasons. This experience has been not only about learning how to make cheese, but it has broken down barriers and resistance I didn’t even know I had. I feel much richer.

Alpine kid, two days old appeared on Friday.

Each subsequent internship has been more rewarding than the previous one. Cowgirl let me get my feet wet, but they only wanted me to work one day a week for three months. I traveled to England to learn about blue cheese and fine goat cheese making. Working closely with Robin, Nick and Ben for almost a month gave me a strong foundation to start making my big plans. Now that I've worked with Steve and Carrie at Goat Lady Dairy, I feel really confident about the future. I knew that working six days a week for three months would either break me or make me. I'm ready for more. I can't wait to find a place to call my own and start building. I want to make cheese! It is just that simple.

What do you think of the name Dipsea Dairy?

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