Sunday, October 2, 2016

Time Slips Away

Five years since my last post. So much has happened, I feel like bullet points are the best way to catch up:

- Bill finished the Organic Farmer Training Program at Michigan State University;
- We gave our big, beautiful (expensive) house in the city back to the bank and  leased a house and land to farm on just outside of town;
- We started our business and have been able to keep a CSA going, go to a few farmer's markets and sell to one wholesale account;
- Our son died in 2014. I quit my job and stayed drunk and in bed for 8 months, then got a new job traveling and making more money than I ever have before;
- All the kids that once lived with us have moved on to bigger and better things;
- Bill & I bought a farm with an old farmhouse on it and we are doing the damn thing!

When I started this blog all those years ago, I didn't realize that my life was already in motion toward becoming something so different I hardly recognize it myself. If I'd known, would I have done anything different?

I don't know.

So, I'm going to try to write here again. So much of my mental energy and focus lately has been on the horribleness that seems to surround me. The farm, though we've only been here 5 months, is home. Every time I plant a tree, or just play in the dirt, I feel more and more connected to this land and the history on it. I want to remind myself of that connection more regularly.

Pictures coming soon!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The dangling asterisk of Netflix

A few posts back, I mentioned Netflix and I put an * by it because I intended to make further note about it. Well, I forgot. So here's more about Netflix:

Cable television was one of the first things to go when we scaled back. I lived most of my adult life without cable television and watched MAYBE a show per week on it when we had it, so no big deal to me. I wondered if the teens would revolt, though. We replaced it with Netflix for $8 a month and I have to say, I'm really digging Netflix. We have it streaming through the Wii so I can get to movies immediately and they start at precisely the moment I want them to start. And I can pause them, rewind them, watch them as many times as I want. Entire seasons of TV shows (Ally McBeal!) are there for my viewing pleasure. The value of Netflix FAR exceeds the value* of cable television in my book.

*Ahh, another asterisk. I have to admit that I do miss HGTV and The Food Network. But I'll live.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What I love about being married to a farmer

This is all the yummy stuff Bill brought home from the farm this week!
Nobody really wants to hear my grocery list! In fact, blogger stats tells me that the days I rant about my husband or moan about my period? THOSE are the days when more people read. In light of those statistics (and we know stats don't lie) I will continue to bitch and moan on a regular basis. I'll give you (as you wish) the "real deal" about sustainable living, being married to a farmer and committing to a simpler life. It ain't all rainbows and puppy dogs. Some days, it downright sucks.

There was a lot that was really good about this long weekend. It is Independence Day, after all. Who could complain about barbecue and fireworks? Willie and I got to spend 4 WHOLE DAYS together for the holiday, and much of it was sans teenagers. Not too shabby huh? We watched movies on Netflix*. We had some of that "special time". I cooked and sent him back to the farm tonight with good, nutritious food which always makes me feel good about my role as the "nutritional gatekeeper" in our family. He brought home lovely cut flowers from the farm...A few strawberries, raspberries and the first tomato of the season. And kale. Lots and lots of kale.

I have kale out the wazoo. And it's early in the season.

I have kale in my crisper, kale in bags, kale in a Tupperware "Thatsa" bowl and kale in canisters on my counters. I've got kale in the freezer. What the HELL do people do with all the freakin' kale?

What the hell do farmers do when you have a surplus of one particular crop and not much else? I mean, I can saute' kale in soy sauce and honey, work it in to enchiladas, make soup with it and dehydrate kale chips. But after 4 or 5 meals in a row that have a kale component, one does grow weary of kale. I'm banking on the fact that come winter, we will actually MISS the kale and pulling some out of the freezer will be a welcomed addition to dinner.

In the meantime, if you have any amazing kale recipes please send them my way.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grocery Challenge: Week 2

Bill was in on this trip, so much of what we bought was for him to take back. This is a 4 day week for him -- he'll be home mid-day on Friday. A is still down South.

Whole Foods

2 half-gallons of milk from Calder's Dairy -- 2.99 each plus 1.50 bottle deposit
2 boxes of Back to Nature crackers -- 2/5.00 plus a $1 off coupon
2 boxes of pretzel crisps -- 2/5.00
8 oz of cheddar cheese -- 5.99 with $1 off coupon
Mary Jane's Farm magazine 5.99

EBT Total: $19.36
Cash Total: $8.49


Jicama -- 2.35
4 cans of tuna -- 5.68
Greek Yogurt -- 1.63
2 avacados -- 3.58
Canola Oil -- 2.50
4 boxes of frozen pierogies 10.00
Pastry -- 3.89
2 cans of Sardines -- 1.78
2 16 oz sodas - 1.69 each

EBT Total: $34.79

Farm Food

Kale, kale and more kale (making chips with some, freezing some)

Pick apart:

- Other than the fact that I think we were charged 2.99 for one of the boxes of crackers, I have no complaints about the haul. This was a "supplemental" week -- meaning that essentially all the basics were covered at the house and we just needed to fill in here and there.

- I did ok with my $10 for Diet Cokes, but I haven't actually made the pinto beans for my daily bean burrito yet. And it ain't happening this week either (4 days in Detroit this week).

However, we ate out 3 times (I think...may have been 2) last week. Granted, it was a stressful week but what week isn't?

Not bad at all.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

I had fresh asparagus the first time a few years ago and it is now my all-time favorite vegetable. I could eat it every night and never complain. Yesterday, I saw asparagus as I had never seen it before. Like this:

We eat the early shoots, but that 5ft tall, bushy stuff is what asparagus looks like after the harvest season. After a few weeks of harvesting shoots, you let it "fern out" for the rest of the year.

Pretty cool, huh?
In the spirit of full disclosure, I really should post what I had for dinner on Tuesday & Wednesday night.

Tuesday: Strawberries, a chocolate bar and a bowl of cereal. Oh, and a glass of wine.

Wednesday: Pollo Adobe and a margarita from the Cancun Grill in East Lansing.

Neither of those were in the meal plan for this week, but so it goes. Lest anyone assume I've mastered this plan, I thought I should cop to the fact that when my stress goes up, my coping skills go out the window and food is usually the first thing that goes kerfluey.


Yesterday, I drove up to the farm to tell Bill about our cat's diagnosis of bone cancer. The drive was long and sad -- it rained most of the way. When I got to the farm, Bill and I walked down the dirt road toward the pig pen and I felt the stress of the last week leaving my body. The sun was shining and there was a breeze. The piglets thought my red toenail polish was something yummy to eat (mental note: keep farm shoes in the car). I got to cry and eat strawberries and unload. I remembered the point of all this.

Tonight's dinner? Pasta with roasted asparagus, mushrooms and some sort of creamy/cheesy sauce. And a glass of wine ;)