Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking Forward

The seasons have changed and with them I need to shift my "farming" focus from containers on my back porch to planning for next year.
I think we have decided (finally, officially) on plans for a chicken coop. Well, it's more like an A-frame ark that we can modify to be warmer in the winter fairly simply with a little ingenuity. Dad offered all the lumber in his backyard free of charge and I asked to borrow his tools and skills as a birthday gift. Hopefully we will tackle this sometime this winter.
Meanwhile, rain falls on the backyard- my future garden- and I have absolutely no idea where to begin to plan. This presents a problem.
Sure, it seems simple enough. Dig a hole. Put in seeds. Wait. Pick and Eat. Repeat. But- whoa, Nellie- first I guess we should decide WHERE it is going to be. Hmmm... no clue. And apparently I need to prep the ground for next spring, turn it over or something and let the winter work it's magic if we aren't going to go the no-till, lasagna gardening method (which is my preference- why move stuff twice, right?). One version I got of this step involves killing off the grass with Roundup. This is where I think I got hung up in the process because I really loathe Monsanto and am not too keen on purchasing their products if there is any kind of alternative that actually works. All I can find on Google by way of a natural alternative is white vinegar, so I think we will try that, as soon as the ground dries out again enough to try (and I can make sure Rich agrees on placement).
Since we are off and running doing new things around here, we are adding the new freelance gig to the mix. The link is here, and, although the site doesn't display the content yet, there is an article I wrote (really!) about local foods- so check it out...please. And tell your friends.
How's this read for a sleep deprived, kind of rushed update? It will get better- I promise....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Everything Must Have a Beginning I Guess

I just got "hired" as a freelance columnist for Examiner.com for the Akron market writing about green parenting. It is a paying gig, though not very much, as it pays on a per-hit basis (maybe a penny or something like that- didn't really pay attention to that part). Not something that makes a living, but it will give me some kind of publishing cred to put on my resume and include when I send queries out to magazines and such. An added plus is I retain all the rights and can "cross post" anything I want that I wrote.

Should be kind of interesting to try at least. I'll keep you posted as to when I am up and running.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why I am Shy

Check out this post: The Four Levels of Social Entrapment
This pretty much sums it up- Allie from Hyperbole and a Half had me rolling on the floor. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The street was paved with red bricks that were worn smooth with age. "Are you okay?" I asked.
Looking down at his feet, he silently shook his head and began to cry. "That was the hardest thing I have ever done," he replied.
Crisp leaves crunched under foot as we walked silently in the sun, the quiet only broken by the occasional acorn as it popped from its cap and plummeted to the ground. Leaving my aunts and uncles behind, we moved swiftly, as if we would simply walk forever. I had nothing to say but "I'm sorry." Somehow the words just wouldn't come.
I held his hand and just let him talk, recalling the days they all played in the creek near the railroad trestle at the end of his grandmother's street. His stories seemed to ease his pain and he shared more memories as we walked on between the gray and weathered stones. She was a remarkable woman, an inspiration, and his best friend.

Bricks gave way to blacktop. We reached the chapel and stopped, waiting for the rest of the family to join us as she drifted further away from us on the wind. "We will still have memories," I said, and we collected acorns and pods from the Catalpa trees to plant at home as a reminder of the day. "We'll have our trees," he said. "We'll just have to take good care of them."

Meanwhile, out across the rolling hills, the earth was preparing for its long rest, pulling on a colorful cloak of leaves and preparing to hold its children near as the days grew colder and shorter. I can do nothing more than keep holding his hand as long as I am given that gift.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Crooked Still is Coming!!

To the Cedar Valley Settlers Festival in North Olmstead this weekend. Thank the Cleveland Metroparks for the free show (and to Jenna from Cold Antler Farm for the recommendation)!

Check them out Sunday the 19th @ Frostville Museum in Rocky River Reservation.
YAY! Crooked Still!

Crooked Still - Half Of What We Know

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

25 things

25 things I want to do in my life:
  • gather eggs from my own chickens
  • plant my own garden
  • sit on an old quilt under my trees and read
  • hug my daughter
  • walk in the woods with my dog, going no where in particular
  • can vegetables
  • knit a whole sweater (adult sized)
  • spend a weekend alone in a cabin in the woods with my husband
  • build something with my dad
  • make a pieced quilt
  • make a friend that just stops by to visit unannounced, to sit and have tea
  • pick flowers and put them in a glass milk jar on my kitchen table
  • buy all my food locally for one week (at least)
  • go tent camping with my family in a park
  • visit Hale Farm again
  • write a novel (or several)
  • cuddle with my husband on the couch
  • go to garage sales with my mom
  • do yoga or hike every day for exercise
  • have another baby (?)
  • feed a jersey cow
  • gather stories from my family and write them down in a book
  • take my family out to cut down a tree one year for the holidays, then buy a live one and plant it another year
  • grow fruit trees
  • card and spin wool to make yarn

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just This

The next week and a half of my life are just packed with madness. There is so much on my schedule at work I have run out of room on the little squares of calendar. I am splitting my time between two stores now and feel like I am going to be lucky to show up at the right place on the right day. Oh- the insanity!!

No- really- I am trying not to think about it much because one of the things on my to-do list I simply loathe and am not at all looking forward to, and that is prepping for inventory. I hate all the sifting through dusty things and making sure everything is organized and labeled properly. It's drudgery. At least this year I will have some help in the form of the auditor, Christina. Company's good at any point in a job where you are mostly alone.

Trying to find my routine at the new store is daunting too. I am pretty shy, generally, so I am hiding in the office a lot, and it is very dull. I'm not really sure what to do with myself, so I find myself concocting these lists, with a million little tedious items on them, just to have something to do. It's like crossing something off this list, even it was my own invention, gives my day meaning or something sick like that. I am fully aware that I am the inventor of all my stress. Mostly I think I am just kind of lonely.

The oddest thing is that part of my motivation for going to the new store (aside from being closer to home) was to obtain a slower pace that would allow me to leave work at work and have more time for home, and for reconnecting with what is important to me: my family, my "future farm", cultivating a sense of community and practicing writing.

Sometimes what I do makes no damn sense, even to myself.

So I am focusing this week on what I can control. I am trying to remind myself often throughout the day that all that I need to focus on is my presence of mind. I need to remember that it is when I stop trying so hard that all the good things come to me of their own accord. (See? Even as I write, my head spins. Just the curse of creativity I guess.)

I need to be still and be me. Just now- just this.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Settling In

Getting used to changes all around lately- a new schools for Lexi means new friends, a new store to work at meets new co-workers for me, a new skill/career goal means more time spend honing my craft.
It may not always be good, but get set for more frequent posts.
Nothing beats practice (and persistence) when it comes to trying new things.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cider Weather

The last of my vacation time has been spent and the sky grows cloudy here. Even though the calendar would disagree, it's officially fall.
Every year about this time I get nostalgic for the things I remember we did when I grew up here: the apple harvest in Brunswick at Mapleside Farms, the fall foliage festival, hayrides and hot caramel cider. My roots are here- this is what I know.
Fall is my favorite season, but it's also a time for reflection. As my birthday approaches, I watch the world around me start to change, the earth pulsing with a last flash of color before the decay of winter sets in. It makes me think about aging, how fleeting and cyclical all of time is, how I should enjoy it daily since it doesn't last.
In a few weeks I am making a trip to PA with my dad so we can scatter my grandmother's ashes in her hometown. I've never been there before and am sad that we are going for this purpose, but at the same time, I am eager to see what it is like there and where she came from. It is really strange, but the more I do for myself, the more connected I feel to her. Each time I make bread by hand or cook from scratch, it feels like she is a little bit closer. It seems to work that way with my dad too. Every time I plant something, I know he approves and it gives us something in common. My in-laws were here this week and we connected too, over food.
Bless this little old lady that used to live here. I am indebted a bit to her for having her home to share with my family and draw me closer to where I come from. This house keeps pulling me closer to who I am, giving me a purpose, and making me stop and reflect on what I want to share with my family and the world. Right now, it's a warm wool sweater and some cider, but hopefully soon it will be my voice in my writing too.