Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Living on Love and Llamas
About three years ago when our life seemed chaotic and my mind must have been muddled, Joey and I saw a special on CBS Sunday Morning about a couple who moved from the city to Colorado to start a farm and raise alpacas. They knew nothing about farming. Or alpacas. The alpaca ranch was a success and now they have a simple life - living on love and llamas.
I immediately told Joey 'this is it'. I want to move to Colorado in the middle of nowhere and raise alpacas. And wear a lot of Navajo prints and fringe. That's just where I was in life - ready to simplify. Don't we all have a moment where we want to move to Colorado and raise alpacas? Oh, is that just me?
Alas, Joey said no. No alpaca ranching for us. Thankfully my wise husband knows that in reality I couldn't be more than 25 minutes from a Target or HEB these days and that the smell of our dogs after they have stepped outside following a bath is about as much animal smell as I can take.
We just simplified our lives in other ways...like having a baby. Our rustic dreams of solitude are instead lived out vicariously through Alaskan reality TV. Isn't this what everyone does?
Oh, I see. You would rather watch Scandal, PLL (from what I can tell this is Pretty Little Liars) and Grey's Anatomy. I've not watched these with the exception of Grey's, which I watched religiously in college. An aside: How is this show still on? Is it about Meredith and McDreamy's children?? Or McSteamy? Or is there a new 'Mc'? I digress. Besides Alaska, I watch two other reality shows: Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance. Apparently I tend to gravitate toward watching shows whose subject consists of something I am incapable of doing, i.e. sewing, locking and popping, or subsistence farming the Alaskan wilderness.
Let me ask you this: what's not to love about moose hunting, bee farming, out house building or watching a family struggle for survival in the wilderness? It's the height of Alaskan reality TV. What's. Not. To. Love?
The situation that got us into watching this was not unlike when I binge watched a season of Deadliest Catch over a weekend while recovering from being sick. (Poor Joey. I incorporated crab fisherman lingo into my daily vocabulary the entire following week. I was a greenhorn. What can I say?)
Claire was only a few weeks old so we were burning the midnight oil and majorly sleep deprived. Joey and I had watched all of our DVR'd shows and our Apple TV was acting up. Enter Discovery's marathon of Alaska. Here were these people, hunting and farming against the elements to feed their family for the winter in the Alaskan wilderness. They're building their own houses out of the timber around them, developing pretty high ingenuity contraptions to solve problems that get in the way of providing for their families, catching salmon, bear hunting, building their own green houses and for heaven's sake - they've even got their own beekeeping suits. These people amaze me.
It was what we needed at the moment. If the Kilcher family could move their cattle to the head of the bay with a rising tide or Jane Kilcher could catch enough salmon to feed her family 30 dinners in the winter, well Joey and I could survive the first few months of sleepless nights, breastfeeding, bottle washing, crying and figuring out exactly what this little baby needed. While they figured out how to build a bridge over an icy river, we figured out how to swaddle a baby. When they found the bear that was ravaging the herd, we figured out that gripe water helped with the hiccups. You get the picture.
Now we are serious Kilcher fans. (Side note: this is the family of Jewel the singer.) Not only did the show encourage us as new parents, but now I also have a working knowledge of bear hunting, cattle driving and how to make your own meat smoker out of scrap metal. If we ever need to go off the grid, I'm ready.
It is also quite clear to me that I would not survive one day in this environment left to my own devices. Every time I see a Navajo print in Anthropologie or at Target (ok, mostly at Target), I'm still reminded of the little family alpaca farm that almost was.