Author Archive: Gracie

Mostly tomatoes.

Okay, so I pretty much immediately fell off of the “I’ll post every day or two” wagon… but I suppose what really matters is that I get back up, dust off, and try again, yes? The last post was about 3 weeks ago, and since then our schedules have filled right the heck up- kids are in school and I’ve been volunteering there a day or two a week. Vera joined the local youth theater and will be in this fall’s production of Sherlock Holmes as a “Londoner”. All that, as well as normal farm stuff and the ramping up of food storage and miscellaneous fall farm work and I’m left with little free time. However, the weather changing is full of possibility for me. I have visions of cozy-making and creative projects, of slower days that stretch out before us and have us looking for projects to dive into.… Continue Reading...

“Do you want to kill my rooster?”

I woke up this morning at my friend’s new farm. She lives about an hour from me and so we made a sleepover out of our plans. Her place is different and has a more classic farmhouse feel. Old and full of history- the uneven floors and plastered walls, the acres of green highlighted by the bright white of the house and the red of the barns in the distance. The animals free range all over the place, and she’s got a turkey mama laying on a clutch of eggs in a grassy field. She’s got goats coming soon. It’s lovely, and has a different flavor than our slapped together wooded homestead near the city.

Last night on the way to a birthday party we stopped to pick up some ducks that she was being given by a woman who wanted to downsize her flock.… Continue Reading...

Sugar and Sunshine

I am going to try to do a small post every day or two to work out this sharing muscle again. I want to do it more, but it’s been difficult to tap back in, and I’m hopeful this will help. It may be as simple as a farmy photo-of-the-day, or a brief update on a project. You never know, I may get swept up in it all and write the long cathartic posts that I used to. Stranger things have happened.

The quick updates are:

Asa turned 8 at the end of July. Vera is 10 and a half. We have a lot of fun together. They are smart and interesting and I genuinely enjoy my little family. Both kids are tall and lanky and will almost certainly surpass me in height.… Continue Reading...

Game changer!

So y’all know how I moved out to this amazing slice of land with my loves and started raising all kinds of animals and got rid of the internet? (Of course the internet is always on our mobile devices… wah wah, but still) Well, it’s been wonderful in all kinds of ways, but it hasn’t been so great for my writing here. I suppose I could always have learned to write offline and then upload a post later, but that never seemed to happen with any regularity, and it always came with a slew of minor inconveniences (I couldn’t upload pictures easily, etc.). It just always became kind of an errand, since I’d have to eventually find a quiet internet-y place to write, patch together my thoughts after the moment had largely passed (and I was usually on some kind of a timeline, having to fit it in before rushing off to pick up kids).… Continue Reading...

To be altogether at home here

I am relatively new to homesteading, and I know that it will take years of feeling everything out before we can move in an instinctive way. I read books and consult forums and all of it, but it just doesn’t replace living it. I *have* been doing this long enough to know that much. Oftentimes, I’ll read or hear advice that I know is faulty or under-lived, or I’ll find out later that it wasn’t sound after implementing it. The internet/larger culture is just so full of folks who present expertise where it hasn’t been earned. 

A recent view of my very experimental homestead.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about the lost heritage of homesteading/homemaking. I frequently come into a situation and I will feel a tangible gap in knowledge, and I’ll just have to roll up my sleeves and remember that even my elder homesteaders had to just engage and figure it out.… Continue Reading...

April Update

This spring has found me in a new place- the changes I implemented last year are already showing their benefit in my life. I turned down various opportunities in favor of digging our family’s roots in deeper, and so far, I think I actually made the right choice! I’m not a person who is able to feel that stuff out so easily, so it feels like a big deal to me. I want to serve and live my life as generously and radically as I can, but I also think that needs to include care for myself, as well as a critical perspective about what some versions of “going all-out” actually yield- aka “I did it all, but was it good? Did I do any of it well?” etc.… Continue Reading...

Friday Farm Update- March 9th, 2018

At the end of the month we will have lived here 2 years. I’m calling it our “Housiversary”, and I’m going to plan something special. Not sure what yet, but it will likely include a fire, some food, and a brand new made-up ritual to signify my immense gratitude for all this. I still walk out of my bedroom door to look down over the main room and get teary sometimes. It was all such a miracle. Both Jeff and I still pause together on the regular to just kind of honor it. The initial shock has worn off, but the appreciation for it hasn’t. I hope it never does.

My view a few days ago.

2 years ago exactly.

I love how weird time is.… Continue Reading...

I’m a homesteader, not so much a farmer.

“I’m a homesteader, not so much a farmer.”

The aesthetic of this place keeps developing- feathers and farm art and herbs on the shelf.

It was late in the summer of 2013, right in the middle of that year of adventure we had. We were cohousing and our house was brimming with life. We shared a farm business with them, attended 3 markets a week, ran microgreen deliveries twice a week, had our first CSA, juggling day jobs and little kids and animals and housework all the while. I was also dealing with my post-concussive symptoms and struggling to keep my head above water. Anyway, right in the middle of that summer we had some new friends over for dinner, a couple we met at market.… Continue Reading...

Reward Pickles and the Structure of Truth.

One of my sisters tells me all the time that her deepest held value is the pursuit of truth. She told me a story recently of a relationship she was in a while back where one of the values this guy held was to “make people happy”. She recounted a scene where those two values came into direct conflict with one another, and it was the beginning of the end for them. In that particular case, I totally saw what she was saying. I could see the conflict clear as day… and knowing her as well as I do, I totally think she did the right thing breaking it off. That said, it got me thinking generally about those incompatibilities- the way we conceptualize and work with truth and honesty, and how we can create and maintain value and purpose in our life in relationship to it.… Continue Reading...

The solid earth, the actual world…

A few weeks back I was catching up on some work at a coffee shop and was approached by a man who identified himself as one of the earliest members of my “garden crew”, back in 2011 at the Farm (the organization that is now the host of the Cooperative). I recognized him then, and we chatted for a few minutes about what’s been going on, how the project has changed there and gotten better over the years. He told me about how that experience had affected him and how he brought it forward into his work afterwards- starting garden programs of his own.

This was incredibly gratifying for me, especially because the job at that stage of the game was full of trials and adjustments and was, in retrospect, some of the most important “social permaculture” work I’ve done- it challenged me to do a lot of the honest observation and the uncomfortable work of failure that is so integral in finding the form of a system that wants to grow and thrive.… Continue Reading...