Thursday, May 31, 2012


Yesterday morning, I tilled an area of land bigger (far bigger) than our last apartment.

Hells yeah
I had a beer with lunch. Tilling = blech. But I'm excited to plant tons o'pumpkins in that area. The front half is for popcorn.

Bill fired his oven on Sunday (more on that to come) and we ate really well on Monday as a result. He made pizza and bread with the "crappy" flour because he wasn't sure how it was going to all turn out and he didn't want to waste the good stuff on his first experiment. We ate French Toast for breakfast:

...and leftover pizza with an arugula salad and homebrew wheat beer for lunch. This meal was very, very exciting because we could see it all coming together. The pizza is all from scratch - bread, sauce and cheese made by Bill. Someday the sauce will be from homegrown tomatoes and we'll get some goats to milk for the cheese. Bill also talks about growing wheat, but I think that will be more of a fun experiment than a long term, sustained project.

The salad is arugula and radishes from our garden with a simple balsamic vinaigrette (I already lost the recipe. ooops!) homemade croutons (a great way to use up substandard bread) and a young Parmesan cheese. The cheese is not supposed to be done until November, but Bill couldn't wait. It tastes young, but is very good. Check it:

A very satisfying lunch!

For dessert we had some blackcaps.


In May (in 2009, we picked at the end of June). I'm sure we've eaten a quart already and they've only just begun. Some day I'll show you the madness that is our blackcaps. They are probably some sort of horrible invasive here in Indiana, but I don't care!!! We let them grow wherever they'd like and are happy to share them with the birds.

Speaking of sharing with wild animals...there is a family of three red squirrels living in our basement. We see them in our mulberry tree every morning and every evening. They don't even wait for the mulberries to get ripe before chowing down.

Here's one of the babies:

Too cute to be evicted, right?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What's this??

Four giant bowls full of dough?


Could someone be preparing to use a recently completed masonry oven for the very first time???

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our salad spinner is getting a workout

We have been enjoying lettuce from our garden this week (along with a few radishes). Last night we had lettuce wraps.

Bill made stir-fry from a couple of scrawny roosters and we wrapped it in lettuce fresh from the garden.


For dessert we had pumpkin whoopie pies - a recipe I found on Pinterest (follow me!).

And this...this is an incorrigible cat on our table.


Posted by Picasa

The choices of women

There is something about our society that makes it acceptable - even admirable - for people (men and women) to voice disapproval about the choices women make. We make a sport of it even - especially when it comes to how women look or their professions or how they raise - or don't - their families.

We seem to do it to women in a way we just don't with men. And this really bothers me. Perhaps I have greater empathy because I chose to leave the workforce and am now wholly dependent on my husband's income, a choice many women in my cohort are often skeptical of (don't fear...I understand one can make millions as a small farmer).

So, I gotta tell you - I just don't dig it. I don't understand why it's acceptable to judge the personal choices of women on a personal level or on a national scale. There is much chatter on the interwebs about Anderson Cooper kicking a woman off his show because he didn't like her choices. He called Sarah Burge (The Human Barbie...I guess she's had a lot of plastic surgery) "dreadful" and then asked her to leave. It was in regard to vouchers she gave her pre-teen daughter for plastic surgery when she turned 18.

The internet believes Cooper is a hero for this action. Here are some reactions:

Despicable plastic surge-oholic Sarah Burge, who infamously presented her seven-year-old daughter with a boob job voucher for her birthday and a liposuction voucher for Christmas, was a guest on Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show — until the silver fox had just about enough, and told the "Human Barbie" to leave. (Gawker)

For some reason, Anderson invited this creature on his show and became so disgusted with her answers that he announced he had nothing more to discuss, called her "dreadful" and politely urged her to leave the stage. (OK Magazine)

You gotta love Anderson Cooper for cutting his interview with the self-dubbed “human Barbie” short upon suspecting she was on the show purely for publicity. (Socialite Life)

Anderson Cooper has covered genocide, war, politics, Wall Street shenanigans and oil spills...and the person he calls "dreadful" and asks to leave his show is a woman whose choices he doesn't agree with. And society is totally ok with it.

That seems really messed up to me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Aren't you lonely?

When I talk with folks about becoming a full time farmer - alone - I am met with a lot of different reactions. My favorite was last weekend when we bought a third-hand chicken plucker (yay!!) from another small farmer who said "congratulations" like, eight times, and I think he meant it. But there were other reactions as well. Some professional women seemed skeptical. Folks who tend toward safe, well-proven and socially acceptable paths didn't seem to care for my weirdo choice. But most often I was asked if I was going to be lonely...if I would miss interacting with people all day.

I expect that this question was asked by extroverts - people who are energized by being around other people. If I were an extrovert, I could imagine that working alone for 9 hours a day would be daunting. Extroverts, I am told, do get bored when they are alone and it makes sense that their primary thought about my new job is that there aren't a lot of other people involved, therefore it must be lonely and boring.

Fortunately for me, I am in introvert! I am completely energized by sitting quietly in my field watching the chickens, plucking weeds and thinking about how blue the sky is (do you know how many shades there are of Indiana Sky Blue? Millions!). I really can do that for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week for many, many years not only without getting bored, but actually feeling really, really great about it.  It doesn't mean that I don't like being around people (I really do), it just means that I'm ok with (and need) the alone time too.

It is likely that many or even most of you don't really believe me or can't actually imagine this. That's ok. We live in an extroverted world. Atlantic Monthly published an article in 2003 to explain the quiet introverted space to extroverts. As an introvert, I recommend reading the whole article - it's not long and the author is delightfully cheeky. But if you are short of time because you're running out to a social gathering, here are my two favorite parts:

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating.

Introversion = totally normal thing. We don't need to be fixed.

Are introverts misunderstood? Wildly. That, it appears, is our lot in life. "It is very difficult for an extrovert to understand an introvert," write the education experts Jill D. Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig.  Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways. Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. As often as I have tried to explain the matter to extroverts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood. They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping.

I get it. I get why I was so often asked if I would be lonely. (I still prefer the heartfelt congratulatory reactions, but I don't begrudge the concern of extroverts).

I will admit here, though, that I went to Tractor Supply (in my standard transmission pick up truck, bitches) this week - less than a month into my isolation - and was startled when the cashier greeted me as I walked in the door. I jumped a little and was slightly confused at what I was supposed to do. So, the next time we see each other, please be patient if it seems as if it takes me a minute to recall how to talk.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"That's a heckava thing to have."

Our neighbor - the street gossip - stopped by last night because he was out charging the battery of one of his 8 cars and noticed we were working in the garden. He had a lot of questions about what's been going on here - what's that fence for? Is it electric? Is it on? What's it protecting? Is your garage door broke? What's that brick thing?

When Bill explained it, our neighbor commented that it was "a heckava thing to have" (like we found it in the basement, perhaps? Under a layer of dust and old National Geographic magazines?). And then he left.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Auto Photo!

Alert! Alert! There have been four posts in a row now with no pictures. This triggers an auto photo post. Please now to prepare for the photo bomb.

This is an adorable bulb garden Bill's mom sent us for Easter. Well, this is what it looked like two weeks ago. There were also crocuses and big red tulips. 

This is Sugar Pie. She always demands to be in on the photo bombs. 


Baby chickens, hatched this afternoon.  

Poofy and her two chicks: Poofy Jr. and Baby Barred Rock. They hatched about a month ago

An Araucana and Dorking pullet. They came in the mail in March. They were only just released to play outside earlier this month (they don't have a mom like Poofy to keep them warm and safe). At first, they didn't go far from their coop and they kept running away from us whenever we approached. But over the past few days they learned "human + pitcher of food = awesome." So now they follow us around a lot.

Finally - today's project: a porter in the making. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My marriage is not threatened by equality

Bill and I have been married for over 11 years and I am not exaggerating when I say our marriage has been the most important factor in creating the person I am today. I treasure our relationship - the support, the sacrifices, the growth in self-awareness, patience and communication - everything.

Sometimes, when I think back to when we got married, I get a bit spooked that anyone let us do it. We were so young and stupid and had no idea about anything. We're still pretty clueless about most things, but we've learned so much about making our relationship work and in return we've grown so much as individuals.

Setting long term goals and creating a plan to get there? Never did that before my marriage.
Listening openly when someone says "hey, I didn't like that thing you did,"? Nope. Didn't do that very well either.
Doing someone else's horrible chores, or sharing a piece of something wonderful (like pie), or giving up my time willingly for the benefit of someone else? No. No. No. (ask my sister)

Feeling supported and trusting in unconditional love is what made these things possible for me. 

Now, some of this growth may be the natural part of aging, but I know a lot of people much older than me who suck - really really suck - at many of these things. And in many cases it seems to me they don't have the sort of supportive relationship Bill and I (and many other lovely, committed people) do. 

All of these things have not only made me a better partner in a relationship, but they made me a better employee and a better community member. Patience doesn't only benefit my marriage, it benefits the people in line in front of me at the grocery store. Being able to accept constructive suggestions benefited my employers. Better communication skills help me be a better friend.

This is what my marriage is about. Constructing mutual, unwavering support to help each other grow as people.

It has nothing to do with children. It has nothing to do with gender. Our relationship is not threatened by marriage equality.

We were very pleased to hear President Obama support gay marriage. And I am glad to see so many other people speaking out in support of it too. I hope this is a turning point which makes the minority of holdouts realize that supporting marriage equality can only mean good things for individuals and communities.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nice day to be a farmer

It seems that not sitting at a computer at work all day has made me even less inclined to use it at all - hence the lack of activity around here.

Today's forecast is for 66 and sunny. When I worked in an office I would declare days like this to be "nice days to be a farmer" (or when I was in DC - nice days to be a bike messenger.) Today we'll find out!

We've had our peas planted for a few weeks, as well as some lettuce, radishes and potatoes. Today, I've got some asparagus roots to plant (we got them on sale at Tractor Supply...I don't have much hope for them, but we'll see. They are 2-years old, so in theory, I think that means they could make asparagus this year). We have some more potatoes too - leftovers from last year's harvest that we didn't get around to eating. And weeding...there is always weeding.

Tomorrow, I'll start planting everything else. The 90% chance of last frost around here is about May 15 and the low predicted for the week is tonight at 39. Our pasture always seems to get a little bit colder than predicted, so I'm going to wait one more day just to be safe.