At the top of the food chain eating cookies...

Trip Start Aug 30, 2007
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5
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Trip End Sep 30, 2007


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Flag of Iceland  ,
Friday, September 7, 2007

END OF FIRST WEEK
 
The wind blew like hell all night...it's such a striking landscape...every time I  go outside out I'm struck by the vastness and starkness of it...a wide valley of volcanic rubble...lots of large rounded stones with braided streams...very foreign feeling to me...its nice to have two weeks immersed in it to even begin to really touch it with one's consciousness....I swear there is no food chain here....I keep expecting to see wolves or deer or something moving out there...but the only sign of wildlife I've seen has been a few flies buzzing around the cabin and one spider....I know there's fish out there in the rivers...or at least I think....but not a lot else,...I hear there are some arctic foxes...haven't seen them either....then there's us humans...but no wild dogs to tear at food left outside...no bears...I think that's testament to the starkness...and there's not a lot of photosynthesis going on either....very little sun and the mosses are working hard to grab all the energy they can but we're at a pretty low primary productivity....new biomass is hard to come by here...mostly rock and rock and moss covered rock...and speaking of rock....I think we spend most of our time at this work camp moving rocks...big ones, small ones, heavy ones, round ones, flat ones....all volcanic as far as I can tell....today we finished our steps on the trail though...came out quite nice I think...especially for not having done that before....now we're moving over towards the hot pot -in other words a hot tub or hot spring - to work on a trail up there... it's still raining and blowing...non-stop...can make it hard to crawl out of the sleeping bag for breakfast ... and then you walk outside and are taken by the vastness....

The people here, at this camp, are so delightful, each with their own unique quirky personalities... completely a joy....people trying to learn a little Japanese, French, Portuguese, English, Czech, Russian, Italian,  Greek, and Icelandic - although it's sooo hard....and card games from all the same places ....we spend a lot of time together and I've got to say, at this point it's nothing short of joyful... each person is filling up a soft spot in my heart...and I am certainly not a corny, love- the-group-at-all-costs, kind of person....but I find myself looking forward to each interaction, game, meal with them...wonder how long that'll last...well it's almost dinner time...
 
By the way, that weight loss plan is not working out...I thought food would be severely lacking way out here in this work camp in the Icelandic countryside...but I was totally wrong....Stina, with everybody in the group pitching in, makes great meals...there is plenty to eat - salads, soups, lamb, pork, fish....the food continues to flow....my belly is certainly full, maybe  overfull...but I'm always looking forward to the next meal....maybe it's all this working outside in the cold...but tonight is leg of lamb cooked on the grill....I saw them, they were huge and fresh and I can't wait to sit with all my new people and eat yet again....
 
We're taking turns with some international cooking...we thought you were supposed to bring something but what's typically American?  Most of our food originates in other countries so we brought lentils...ended up using those for the vegetarians in the group...so our American food will be chocolate chip cookies...for 40...without a recipe....with the assistance of Ayumi, the Japanese volunteer who's helping me.... in a crowded kitchen....with Italian, Greek and Japanese food being cooked at the same time....can't read the labels...which is the baking soda / baking powder?...people coming and going...can't find the vanilla...not enough choc chips....but the cookies come out quite tasty (most of them anyway), and in great abundance....some are actually incredible....and they easily get eaten....plenty left over for tomorrow...  3 hours in the kitchen....aching back, hot and sweaty...smell like cookies all over my skin....
 
By the way there are swans here and mice...add them to the food chain...the swans devour the farmers grasses...tear them out by the roots ...the sheep suffer....but they're (the swans) protected...still not a particularly intricate food web ...there's also some big brown bird that's a predator apparently....I think that's about it out here...and still there's the people...  
 
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Comments

conw
conw on

that big brown bird
Birder that I am, I did a little research - could it be the white-tailed eagle? 2-meter wingspan! See it -

http://www.iceland-nh.net/birds/data/Haliaeetus-albicilla/haliaeetus_albicilla.html

Thanks for blogging - it brings back happy memories of my travels. A little vicarious pleasure. . . Glad you're having such a blissful time despite the weather.

smirra
smirra on

with love from wghs
kotla! what a great story- you can certainly embellish that when you come back - your students will love it. i would work on my sprints if i were you - that terrain looks challenging. And the research question that your friend poses ab fear of a potential volcano...sounds sociological ! =)
so happy you met another greek........
maybe when things get dull he can teach you how to greek dance.
love sue

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