‘Ol McDowell watched her farm’

It all happened in the blink of an eye.  I was sitting alone in my, let’s call it a living room, when I received a text from my friend and former boss.  She was inquiring about what my next move was; Was I planning to stay or go (from Tucson)?  I was as honest as I could be and simply stated that it was still very much in the air.  Moments later she called me and pitched me ‘the proposal.’  The next thing I knew, I found myself moving out of my apartment and moving in to her mom’s, whom would be staying in their family cabin in the northern woods of Wisconsin for the summer.  Essentially, she needed someone to watch her house and care for her animals.  Given my very recent hand surgery and knowing I would have to sit around for the summer attending rehab twice a week, I thought it was a dream scenario.  I could save rent, rehab and sit around a nice house with superior air conditioning while I focus on my hand recovery.  I ask, what more could a man want!?

Well, suffice to say, there are no free lunches in this world and I could’ve never foreseen the trouble three dogs, six goats and three tortoises could drum up.  Naive?  Perhaps.  I really didn’t think it would be as much of an ordeal as it turned out to be.  I’ve talked enough about it to friends and family to not want to go through it all here, but one thing I can say is that, despite the stress, of which there was plenty, I am both thankful and grateful for the experience.  I learned a helluva lot about animals, but even more so about myself.  And the best part of it all is that I added a great new friend to the mix.  I don’t imagine that you’ll read this, Ms. B., but thank you for your generosity, kindness and patience throughout!

*Well, it appears I’ve reached 100% of my storage for this site, so I’ll have to figure something out.

‘Summering in Salone: Part III’

And here we are, folks, the third and final chapter of my ‘Summering in Salone.’  A quarter of a year isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s enough to count.    There are plenty of things I’ll miss about this place, but, chief among them is the people I’ve met.

Admittedly, it was a bit intense at times, but that tends to make the observations/memories a little sharper.  That said, I’m excited to head back.  I can’t wait to catch up with my family and friends, but I’m also eager to try some new activities once I’m back in Tucson.  With a year of school remaining, I want to make the most of it.

I’ve been able to learn a few things about small-scale fish farming, which is great, but there is one huge take away from my time here that I hope to cling to and that is to slow down.  This country has one of the lowest life expectancies on the planet and spending some time here has been as good a reminder as any to appreciate all that I have and enjoy myself more.  Cliche?  Without question, but it’s true.  And with that, I would like to thank each and every one of you who’ve made this experience for me a special one!

Wishing you all as much good health and good fortune as you can handle.

Your pal,

‘The Joe’

‘Farmer John’

This is how I spent (most of) my last Saturday in Makeni.  I don’t know much about agriculture, but I certainly believe in my friend ‘Samura San’ and I have a strong suspicion he will only grow more and more successful as time goes on.  John, if you read this, thank you again for taking me out there!

Keep it up, partner and see you stateside. 😉



‘Bureh Remix’

Round two of Bureh.  This trip was very different than the last, but no less enjoyable.  The weather gods smiled upon our pale faces, as we didn’t get so much as a drop of rain during a three day stretch; very unusual for this time of year.  In fact, I got a pretty good burn on day one and had to exercise a little caution the rest of the way.

I wouldn’t mind swinging through Bureh one last time, but if that doesn’t happen, I’ll be content with how I went out.

*Here’s a another little video, featuring Scott ‘Oyster-Man’ Riley.