Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Goodbye Fargo, Hello Chico

 I’m starting this post about changes with a final picture from my place in Fargo, North Dakota, which has been home for most of the past seven years. This is Maya, who I still call the puppy, though she turns three this summer. Time goes by a little faster every year. Maya’s chair was one of the last things we moved out of the apartment, and I think that’s when she sensed something funny was going on.

So what has been going on, and why did Maya lose her favorite nap spot? I have a new job, at Farm Sanctuary in California! This is something I’ve thought about for a long time, after interning at the California shelter two years ago, and visiting again for a couple weeks last spring. I was hired in March, but was grateful to have enough time to wrap things up in Fargo during April and spend time with family and friends before leaving in early May. I just finished my second week of work here - I’m a caregiver assistant - and I’m loving the job, which I expected.

I assume most of you are familiar with Farm Sanctuary, but if not check out their web site, which is linked here. The California shelter, with rolling hills and the Coast Range on the western horizon, is a beautiful place, and I feel pretty lucky every morning I go to work there.

Though it’s nice to be in northern California, leaving North Dakota was hard. Fargo is a wonderful place, and if you don’t believe me go visit sometime, though maybe not in January. The Fargo-Moorhead area has been showing up at or near the top of all kinds of livability and environmental reports in the past few years, and three major universities and significant communities of new Americans create a cultural atmosphere you might not associate with North Dakota. I don’t mean to go all Chamber of Commerce on you here, but I won’t leave Fargo without giving it a big hug. Fargo rocks.

Of course, I said my goodbyes to family and friends in person, so I won’t elaborate here. If you’re reading, thanks for everything, and I hope to see you out here sooner or later! I’m especially missing my 3-year old nephew Lucas, who has been my buddy in Fargo and an inspiration to all of his extended family. His attitude and energy light up wherever he is, and I hope to see him again soon.

I’m living in Chico, in an upstairs apartment in an older house. The neighborhood is full of huge shade trees, and I share a giant fenced backyard with my downstairs neighbors. There are dogs everywhere - woohoo! - so I couldn’t have hoped to find a better place for Otter and Maya.

From all indications so far, Chico rocks too. On Thursday nights throughout the summer there is a street fair/produce market downtown, that attracts big crowds of happy looking people. The fruits and veggies are abundant, varied, and cheap, so I’m already a big fan of the Thursday market after two visits.

If you’ve made it this far, I’ll remind you that this blog is usually only about food. So let’s get on with it. My cooking has been pretty basic so far, since I’m rebuilding my kitchen and pantry. In honor of simplicity and the Thursday market, here’s my Thursday Market Salad. Everything is fresh and local - avocadoes, phenomenal strawberries, walnuts, sweet peas, and spring greens including chard, spinach, and a few types of lettuce. The dressing is sherry vinegar, olive oil, black pepper, salt, and a little sugar.

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Here’s some nachos, with beans and guacamole. The chips are topped with Daiya cheese, which I’ll have more good things to say about in my next post.  Like I said, we're keeping it simple.

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 I can't break in the new west coast version of my site without a couple of pictures of Otter and Maya exploring their new environment.  I think they'll enjoy the break from winter, but it's a little harder to find open spaces nearby to run around off the leash.  I'm sure we'll figure that out soon enough.  Here's Otter looking for fish, or maybe at her reflection, in a Chico creek.

 One more of Otter and Maya for the road.  I think they like it here.

Thanks for making it to the end of a longer than usual post, but we had some catching up to do.  Speaking of, I'm looking forward to catching up with all of your amazing blogs that I've been following the last couple of years.  Until next time, goodbye from rainy NorCal!


Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Mike, you made me smile when I read about your big move and awesome new job. That is so cool. And I agree, the dogs look like they're doing great. I know they'll make new friends soon!

kmouse said...

Congrats! I always envy people who pick up and move to a place far from home. It must be a wonderful adventure! Looking forward to hearing more about your new life in Chico. BTW, the food looks amazing and your dogs are adorable!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Congratulations, what an awesome change! I'll bet Chico will agree with all of you, and I can't wait to see what you find for produce.

All the best, Mike! And thanks for catching us up.

Adrienne said...

From the Fargo Moorhead Chamber of Commerce, thanks for going all Chamber on your readers and sharing your enthusiasm for our great community! Best of luck in Cali!

miss v said...

so awesome!!!! congrats on the new job and new location - that thursday market sounds perfect. love the doggie pics!

i've missed your posts!

Anonymous said...

Congrats!!! Lucky to be working at the sanctuary! :0) I totally miss the farm... and in Chico I miss Chico Natural Foods.. did you ever swim in the river/pool at the big park (forgot what it's called?) That's on my to-do list next time I go up there! :0)


River - The Crafty Kook said...

Mike, that is beyond awesome!! I am so very happy for you! Wow, this is the best news ever, dude! I know how much you love the Farm Sanctuary (who doesn't?!) and I know you're going to have the time of your life there. I need to throw some confetti in the air or something!! Too bad I can't do cartwheels without breaking any bones... or lamps. Anyway, consider yourself confettied-up and pretend I'm doing some cartwheels for you, it's safer that way!

Chico sounds like such a fun place, for you AND the pups! Aww, both Maya and Otter look so happy exploring their new surroundings!

I can't wait to read more about your experiences at the Farm Sanctuary, and pictures of cute animals are always welcome! :D

Congratulations! You SO deserve this!

Gauri Radha गौरी राधा said...

Gorgeous dogs!!! And the vegan nachos look quite good too :-)