Observatory Farm

2008-01-07 21:42:25.000 – Lynn Metcalf,  Former Summit Lynntern

Ryan and Steve shoveling

The infamous duo who act under the moniker of “Twinterns” are back on the summit! For educational purposes I have included a helpful definition:
Twin-tern [n, twin-turn]1.One of a pair of interns (Lynntern or Cathy), who worked at theobs during the summer of 2007: I need a twintern to shovel snow.
[Origin: June 2007; from twin interns, referring to Lynn and Cathy’s identical outfits.]As I left my family farm, I was prepared to see my calloused hands soften and my muscles wither from lack of use. Fortunately for me (my father would heartily agree) this impending weakening brought about by a return to college has been temporarily staved off by my stay up here; where I have realized there are a few ways obs life parallels farm life.

On the ride up, Gus let me sit in the cab of the snowcat. During my stint as co-pilot, I discovered that the snowcat is steered just like a skid steer; however, eight years of skid steer experience will probably not be enough to convince Wayne to let me drive down (I suppose the road in winter is a bit more precarious than farm driveways). Upon arriving on the summit, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a shovel. I mean c’mon, snow doesn’t even smell! There are an endless number of chores to be done in both livelihoods, for which the days never seem long enough. At least one person is always starting the day’s work in the wee hours of the morning while the rest of the world sleeps soundly, and the work continues after the sun has dipped below the horizon. As in farming, here at the obs, everyone is expected to pull his/her own weight (and does). Each job is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; except that my dad doesn’t get every other week off. Both in my bed at home and my bunk here I can expect to be awoken before my alarm; the crucial difference being that here it means some weather phenomena, whereas at home it means an emergency. This summer when Brian woke me up at 4, I hopped right out of bed thinking the cows had gotten loose.

Most importantly, these two professions are more than mere jobs. They are ways of life, ones which few people get to experience. When you are considering the influences you would like to make this new year, perhaps you can consider supporting an organization that, in addition to providing important scientific and meteorological data, provides the chance to experience a truly unique way of life. If you would like to take advantage of such a rare opportunity, consider becoming a member, volunteering, or taking an Edutrip this year.

P.S. The Twinterns have severely missed Nin’s presence, but you can help us out by voting TODAY for the new obs cat! I suggested a summit pig or goat, but apparently the observers feel that goat milking isn’t an appealing intern duty.


Lynn Metcalf,  Former Summit Lynntern

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