|Polyface Farm. Photo courtesy of my Aunt|
As planned, my Dad and I left for the airport at about 3 or 3:30 AM. It was dark and cold, and the snow was flying; adding to my nervousness. My stomach was churning at the thought of being on a plane, and I was badly wishing someone was coming with me. I almost wished that I could cancel everything and just stay home. I was being a chicken. But most humans seem to have a knack for pulling through daunting tasks and I neither fainted before boarding my first plane, nor did I get sick. ;) LOL. I pretty much played "monkey-see-monkey-do" at the airport. I did whatever the folks in front of me did. Waiting in line for my first plane bound for Atlanta GA. I found myself with a US Marine in front of me, and a dozen french teens behind me who had come all the way to Oregon for a fencing match (judging by their T-shirts, and their conversations). The word "tuna can" came to mind as I got on the plane. My goodness, I didn't realize they packed you in so tightly!! I was secretly hoping that I wouldn't have to sit next to the french folks, or a guy during the flight, and my wish was granted. I was seated next to a very sweet lady whom I chatted with, and next to her was a man who was a professional fiddler. I enjoyed talking about folk music with him too. :) Take-off was --- stressful. I found out that I have a fear of heights. It just seems wrong that something so huge as an airplane can stay in the air! Anyway, I don't want to think about that... I still have the flight home to endure. The sunrise was absolutely gorgeous though, and I have some pictures of that but I don't know how to get those on this particular computer so that will have to wait. The Colorado Rockies were stunning with their white peaks and valleys, and I loved seeing all the ag-land in the mid-west. I may not like airplanes, but it was neat seeing the lay of the country from that view.
All seemed to be going well during the flight, until I spied a monstrous pile of clouds as we flew through Missouri. I thought of Pixar's movie 'UP', where Russell the boy scout says, "See? Cumulus nimbus." As I realized I was looking at a brewing storm... The captain of the plane asked all passengers to buckle up tightly since there was no away to go around the fast approaching mass of gray clouds. We seemed to hit the storm suddenly, and the turbulence was something to be reckoned with. For a moment, I thought about shouting "YEEHAW!" But thought better of it... I peered out my window in fascination and saw the clouds churning angrily. I felt bad for the captain, having to steer this flying umbrella. Thirty minutes later, the storm grew worse and our plane was forced to a higher altitude. Ten thousand feet.... Fifteen thousand feet... Twenty thousand feet... Twenty five thousand feet.... At twenty eight thousand feet, and 600 mph, we were finally somewhat above the storm. There was still a lot of turbulence, but not as much. The bumpy ride lasted 2 1/2 hours before we FINALLY landed in Atlanta. I was never so overjoyed to see land!!
When I stepped into the Atlanta airport, I actually stopped in my tracks. I couldn't believe the size of that place and the amount of people! Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. I quickly asked an employee for directions and was told I needed to take the shuttle. Shuttle? I have to take a shuttle? I had never been on one of those before, but okay! After much walking, and encounters with escalators, said shuttle was found. Now, you have to remember that I had never been on one of those contraptions before, so I really didn't pay much attention to the recorded voice that says, "Please hold on, this shuttle is about to leave." I stood there, thinking "Ooookaaaay, the thing's about to move, so what?" Ahem, they are actually quite fast. Let's just say I thoroughly embarrased myself, and the securty guard helped me retrieve my strewn luggage. [blush, blush]. but once I learned that you have to hang on, the shuttle was actually rather enjoyable! ;) Oh I felt like such a country bumpkin though... Being amused by shuttles, and sporting my Carhartt. As I sat down to wait for my next flight to Charlottesville VA. I noticed a lanky, blonde lad sitting a few rows away from me. Now, normally I don't pay that much attention to other people (especially guys; they scare me in general) but this fella' stuck out since among all the other people wearing their tight, black clothes, chains and peircings, this guy looked normal. He wore faded work boots, and an equally faded brown Carhartt coat. Maybe that's what got me... Someone else was wearing a Carharrt! LOL. I wondered if by any strange chance he was headed to Polyface as well...
Thankfully the flight to VA was uneventful and relatively quick. I almost laughed though, when I saw who I would be sitting next to. It was a girl about my age, but that's all we had in common. She was dressed in very stylish clothes, her makeup was perfect, she was reading a 'New York Times' magazine, and her iPod was blaring, despite her headphones. I plunked down next to her, trying not to laugh at the ridiculous contrast. My Carhartt had little muddy hoof prints on it, from where Poppet had been jumping up, and there were still some rogue bits of hay here and there. My hair was a helter skelter ponytail, and I don't even know the faintest thing about applying makeup. I glanced at her choice of reading, and then mischievously pulled out my seed catalog. I really couldn't resist. ;)
I DID laugh out loud though, when we pulled into the Charlottesville airport. I had just left one of the biggest airports in the nation, and I was now landing at something that was smaller than my local grocery store. The runway was surrounded by cattle fields, and to exit the plane we had to scurry down a ladder, like what you see in the old movies. I gathered my luggage and walked inside, noticing the lanky blond ahead of me. As I entered the airport (if it's not too bold to call it that!) it hit me that I really had no clue as to who to look for. Would Joel pick me up? Sheri and Daniel? One of the employees? The clock read 4:30 p.m., and the Salatins knew I would arrive at that time. I saw no one that looked like they were waiting for someone, so I hesitantly sat down in the lobby. The lanky blond was sitting directly across from me, waiting for someone as well. I tried to work up the courage to ask him if he was going to Polyface too, but I couldn't do it. My nerve kept on failing me.
Ten minutes later, A young man strode into the airport. His aqua colored T-shirt was a dead giveaway, as I recognized it as one of Polyface's. I could only assume this was my ride home. He turned to the lanky blond, and asked if he was Jeremy, whom he was supposed to be picking up for Joel Salatin. The blond fella' nodded, and the Polyface guy said, "Great! I'll take you home in just a minute, but I'm also supposed to be picking up a girl, so I'll have to find her real quick. Her name was... It was... Oh man, what did Joel say her name was?!" He craned his neck to look into an adjoining room, looking for me. Trying not to laugh yet again, I stood up and said aloud, "Was her name by any chance, Caitlyn?" The Polyface guy whirled around and grinned. "Yeah! That was her name!" And that was really all the introduction the three of us needed. The lanky blond was now known to me as Jeremy from Texas, and the Polyface guy was Eric (click highlighted words to read Eric's Polyface story). We loaded up our gear and headed off to Polyface, which was one hour away. The drive to the farm flew by as we chatted about cattle, hogs, grass, and homeschooling. Turns out all three of us had been "home eddicated" [wink].
We pulled up to Polyface Farm, and my first look at the place was -- dark. Really dark. I couldn't see a thing. Eric informed me that I would be sleeping in Grandma Salatin's home, but tonight I would be eating dinner with Sheri and Daniel, so to Daniel and Sheri's we went! Daniel built his own home, with Joel's help, and they lived just a hop and a skip from the farmyard. When we entered the house (oh yeah, Jeremy had been dropped off at Theresa and Joel's to have dinner with them), Sheri greeted me warmly and invited me to sit at the table for dinner. Eric took his leave, and I found myself cozily installed with the Salatin's at last. :) Their house was an adorable log style, southern-themed home, that was warm and friendly. Sheri and Daniel's three kids were playing in a bedroom, and two other girls named Lydia and Liz were seated at the table. Like me, they were here for the 2-day farm checkout, and were hoping to get the internship position. A few minutes later, Daniel came clumping down the stairs and greeted me with a big smile. It was all downhill from there... I have never felt so welcome at someone else's home before. We all fellow-shipped and joked together around the table; enjoying Sheri's delicious homemade meatloaf (it was awesome).The time seemed to disintegrate, and before we knew it, it was 9 p.m. Daniel drove me and Lydia down to Grandma Salatins house, and told us that chores started at 7 the next morning, before driving back to his own home. Lydia and I looked at each other, and then went inside...
Grandma Salatin was a very sweet lady, and went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we were comfy and had everything we needed. Once in our pajamas, we both sat down in the living room; I on the floor and she on a squishy chair, and we visited with Grandma until 10:30. I loved that night.... Grandma was a good listener as well as a good story teller, and between the three of us, there was never a dull moment. I learned that Lydia was older than me by four years (although she looked like she was 16!), and she luckily lived only two hours from the Salatins. By 10:30 my eyes were drooping without my consent, so I politely excused myself and went to bed. Lydia followed suit.
I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, and that was the end of my first day....