Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sitting in cold storage, scheming and dreaming of the New Year

Enjoying the time for quiet contemplation in the cold North. We had a busy growing and harvest season; followed by the loss of another young man in our immediate family which shook everything up for a while.
We got to experience a Winter Solstice in the beautiful tropics of the Florida Keys, and now we're glad to be home, tentatively planning the start of a new growing season. We're looking at seed catalogs (farmer porn), last year's garden layout, all of our ambitious plans....steps we'll be taking to get onto our own little farmy bit of the American dream.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Oh the places you'll go!

Sometimes when we say things like, "I want to go where my skills are needed", we end up in unexpected places. So it is that we find ourselves in Michigan, doing lots of things we've always wanted to do.
Despite spending a portion of my childhood (and a year back in 2002, and the winter of 2009) here, I forgot how spectacular a Michigan summer can be. Perhaps because this is the first time we've been living the life we really want. A rural life of farming and gardening, and relaxing by the lake. We have the best family garden ever, with a diverse planting of veggies and flowers. Now in mid July, I've been already harvesting tomatoes, beans, peas, greens, broccoli, cauliflower, herbs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Growing in a new way

A new Year, a new life for us. We sure have had a wild journey since we left Seattle. We've traveled far and wide in North America, and once again we find ourselves back in Washington. Somehow, we always end up back here. But this time, it's different.
We've landed on the sunny side, the dry side, the quiet side, the wild side, the OTHER side. We're much closer to some of our favorite farms, but we're a world away from the progressive cultural norms we grew used to.
Each day can bring on bi-polar mood swings. For example, I go outside and feel so inspired and joyful walking around this tiny town, gazing at stark basalt canyon walls, smelling dry sagebrush. It's delightful that heavy traffic here means we've seen up to four cars on the road. Then I go into a nearby grocery store and want to cry. The local food movement hasn't hit here yet. Several times, store employees have approached me to see if I'm OK as I stand with my head in my hands trying to figure out what processed agri-crap might do the least harm to me and my family. When my son comes home from school and tells me how much candy he was given by teachers and administrators, I want to scream!
But this year, I'm gonna grow a lot of food. It's my goal to grow and preserve as much food as possible. Sun and heat means tomatoes, peppers, melons. I'm excited.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chasing the Dream

The dream to grow and share food. So simple. So many possibilities. Sometimes seems near the tip of our fingers.
Substantial year-round gardens, hoop house (Pregitzer farm has great ones), basic commercial kitchen, vibrant healthy community (like the awesome Ballard community who supported GreenGo) Short commute walkable or a safe bike ride.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My country 'tis of thee

Happy belated birthday, USA. All of this patriotism really gets one thinking about what's great and not so great about our nation.
Last fall we definitely gained a perspective shift on living in the USA. One of the happiest times of our epic adventure was crossing back into the homeland at Nogales, Arizona. After a long visit and search by border patrol, (They took our half-eaten avocado in the interests of Homeland Security. I guess because it had a stone which we could potentially throw like other people walled off by a border fence, or we might try to grow it.) we were so happy to be back on the wide smooth asphalt of the US freeway system! It was so easy to just talk to someone without having to think about Spanish translations of whatever we needed to communicate. We were filthy, stinking, flea-bitten, mosquito-devoured, dysentery-afflicted, broke, disillusioned American Refugees. We headed straight for the Catalina campground outside of Tucson, and it was the most delightful overnight stay since we last stayed in Arizona on the way to Mexico. Free drinking water from a faucet! Restroom and shower facilities much cleaner and nicer than anything we experienced in Mexico.
We loved our Mexican adventure and I believe it was just the first tryst of a budding affair with Latin America.
Back here in our (stolen) chunk of North America, it seems a land of mixed blessings and contradictions. Clearly the US is headed down a road of trouble. Her power as a leader of the world is fading. Every system is strained and breaking. The diseases of over-consumption take a heavy toll.
My most patriotic day ever was election night 2008. As the results became clear that America had voted for change and hope, I and many others believed we could be on the way to righting this floundering nation. It seemed like a new generation of voter had stood up to demand change. The excitement and spontaneous celebration was intoxicating.
Now it seems our jubilation was premature. Our tax dollars are still funneled into senseless wars. Politics, corporations, and corruption continue as usual. We still can not afford medical or dental care. Nothing has really improved. The only vague sparkle is the little plug Mrs. Obama gave to organic gardening with her White House Garden. Thanks Mrs. First Lady.
Thanks to this beautiful land for endless vistas of beauty, "purple mountain majesty, amber waves of grain, fruited plains," beautiful beaches, (those not covered by oil) .....I'm thankful to have been born here. This is a land of opportunity and I hope to find my opportunity to make positive change; to contribute to a just, balanced, peaceful society worthy of this great land.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Long Grey Light

Summer Solstice
This year so cool and grey

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fighting the MOOOORE Monster

When one lives a transient existence it's relatively easy to keep possessions few. If it won't fit in the van when we move on to the next farm or adventure, we don't keep it. But now, we find ourselves with a dwelling of our own again and the MOOOOOORE Monster is rearing it's ugly head. (You know that voice of American affluence which tells us we need to consume more stuff. Then we look around, we see fisheries and every other resource being rapidly depleted, and we must know that our greed and insatiable appetite for MOOOORE is to blame).
I really need to have food growing outside our apartment, so I want to go buy pots for a nice patio garden. Our dining room set consists of storage totes, pillows and blankets. I think things would be easier if we had a table to sit at. I would write more if I had a comfy desk or even a table to sit at. Dylan thinks we could organize things better if we had some shelves and wall hooks. We could go to Value Village or Goodwill and re-purpose items for these wants. But then that would be a couple hundred bucks less for our next adventure, and a hundred pounds more stuff to get rid of.
I'm reading a great book which I highly recommend. It's called "Simple Prosperity -Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle" by David Wann.
The past year of evaluating our goals and priorities and ultimately walking away from a conventional life has shown us the line between needs and wants.
So I'll take pride in my food packaging containers-turned -food- growing- containers. As I sit down on the floor (like millions of people around the world), I give thanks for the bountiful food and community and things that ultimately make life richer.