Author Archive: Gracie

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...

Thoughts on local food, part 1.

I’ve thought so many times about writing some version of this post, but for whatever reason in the past it just never felt like quite the right time. I want to talk about food- specifically about the future of it, about our relationship with it, about who grows it and what they need to keep doing that. I also want to open up the conversation to brainstorm about how to keep this thing alive and well and in service to the community.

I think part of my aversion to speaking about this has been because I understand the delicate moral territory this represents. I didn’t want to make appeals for localism that appeared short-sighted or out of touch with folks’ need to just do what works to get food on the table.… Continue Reading...

Farm update, November 2017

To start, a story I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I shared this story at a recent educational event I put on at the Cooperative called “The Future of Food”. I thought it held some lessons in that context, but I also want to share it here.


Red Ranger broilers, May 2017

I was really proud of our homesteading efforts this year. We have gardened for several years, but this was the first year we raised some of our own meat. We raised about 30 chickens for meat this spring, butchered and processed them ourselves in early summer, and tucked them neatly in our chest freezer to use over the course of the year. We learned so much and felt so self-sufficient – so connected to the process.… Continue Reading...

No, no, there is no going back.

 

“To be set upon by longing”

This, being the true etymology of the word “belonging”… seemingly paradoxical, given the way we conceptualize “belonging” in our culture. It’s the natural consequence, I suppose, of a culture rooted in slavery and theft and worship of insatiable “progress”, that we would have to redefine a word such as this as “to be the property of”, etc. Our use of the word has a binding around it, an attempt at control and ownership. And yet, I don’t believe any of that control yields what we are looking for. I looked up the etymology of the word “longing” and I see “to yearn after, grieve for” and “to grow long, lengthen”. What if we were to navigate towards our belonging in these terms?… Continue Reading...