Archive for March 23rd, 2010

Independence Day Update: Drip. Drip. Drip.

Sharon March 23rd, 2010

The most important thing that has happened this week at our place is melting.  First we had record high temperatures, then we swung back to cooler weather, but with rain.  The four feet of snow that we started March with are now patchy bits, a lake in my backyard (happens every year during meltoff) and my creek rushing like a white water river. 

Otherwise, a combination of recovering from illness and exhaustion meant that mostly we kept things pretty quiet.  We’re doing spring cleaning to get ready for Passover and that’s taking up a good bit of time too.  Everyone came out and enjoyed the sunshine and the spring like weather.  Each day we walk to see if the peepers are peeping (not yet) and look at the daffodils and crocuses.  Not much is in bloom yet, but the pussy willows in the marsh are going, and that alone gives hope.  The redwings and spring birds are back, the wild ducks are in the marsh marigolds, and there’s hope.

You need hope, since the northeast has a season between winter and spring – mud.  For the better part of a month in March and early April, the world is grey and beige and wet and mucky.  Keeping floors clean is hopeless, at least if you’ve got kids and dogs.  Life is a swamp, and you just kind of go with it, knowing that in a few weeks, all will be green again.

We usually try and clean out the barn by mid-March, but things have been so wet that navigating into the garden is nigh-impossible, but the bunnies are clean at least.  The two does that were bred at the beginning of the month will kindle in a week or so, giving us our first litters of rabbits, if all goes well.

The plans for new raised beds and farmer’s markets are burgeoning, and the seed flats are filling up.  There’s excitement here every morning when we check to see what’s come up and what’s ready to transplant.

Ok, that’s probably about it.  On to the other stuff:

Planted: Tomatoes, ground cherries, catnip, pennyroyal, parsley, peppers, eggplant, snapdragons, broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard, bok choy, tree collards (from cuttings), Good King Henry, Malva, Verbena, Sweet Peas

Harvested: A few sorrel leaves, milk, eggs, prunings for the goats and rabbits

Preserved: Nothing

Waste Not: Usual composting, recycling, minimizing packaging, feeding things to other things.  Boxed up a lot of toddler things from Asher to go to various places for those in need.   

Want Not: Bought a couple of boxes of generic cheerios (my children’s crack-like addiction ;-) ).  Ordered more wheat and lentils.

Build Community Food Systems: Nothing, but planning something cool.

Eat the Food: Made baked stuffed potatoes with local mushrooms, my garlic and homemade goat cheese.  Really good. 

How about you?

Sharon

Back…Mostly

Sharon March 23rd, 2010

Hi Folks – It has been a week since I hit the wall and took off from the computer, and I’m back, at least sort of.  The combination of a lingering illness, exhaustion from trying to finish the book, stress from a book not doing what I wanted to and just way too much time in front of the computer hit me all at once, and I really needed to step away for a while.

My wonderful editor at New Society (and the kind marketing director who I also dumped my stress on) have been really nice about my melt-down, and we’re talking now about a new deadline and release date for the book.  I’m very grateful to them.  My best guess is that the book will be due next spring, and will be released in fall 2011.  Despite the fact that I’ve had a lot of trouble with it, this is a book I’m really excited about – figuring out how to adapt your life to new circumstances, with what you’ve got, with the actual people in your life is, I think, a worthwhile project.  It just hasn’t been gelling for me, but being away from it for only a week has already helped me look at it more clearly, and I think it will be a lot better now.

Part of the problem has been that I set too fast a pace for myself.  I got the contract to write _Depletion and Abundance_ in March of 2007, and because Aaron and I had already been working on _A Nation of Farmers_ contracted to write that one immediately afterwards.  Before either even came out, I proposed putting my food storage material together for _Independence Days_.  In a bit under two years I wrote three books, and had I made my deadline for _Making Home_, would have completed four in three years.  I’ve been writing, editing or promoting a book (often both at once) nonstop for three years, and while I’ve never minded the hard work, I’m tired.  Most of all, I think I’m tired of the computer, and longing to get back outside.

But of course, as someone pointed out to me, the person putting me on this schedule is well, me.  A friend of mine, also a writer observed that normally, writers spend a year or two writing their books, but “you’re just weird.”  I think I’ve been driven by a combination of how important I think getting the message out is, and my worry that Eric will be laid off (as a non-tenured faculty member at a New York State University) and my writing will have to support us.  But it has finally occurred to me that driving myself clinically insane is probably not the best way to handle my concerns about the future ;-)

The funny thing is that I’m not usually a total overachiever – I’m much more of a slacker, and I think after three years of insane overachieving, my inner slacker is back.  This is actually probably a good thing, if my goal is (and it is) doing good work but also having good life. 

All of which is just a really long way of saying I’m back – to an extent.  I’m still going to try and spend much less time at the computer.  Right now, I think the book will be best served by my stepping away from it and focusing on other projects.  A little distance is worth a lot.  I’ll be blogging, but not nearly as much – first of all, I’m extending my internet vacation into a few weeks of half-time, so will be posting only a couple of days a week until the second week of April.  With Passover, spring and school vacation coming up, I’m going to take my time, sleep in, play with the kids and play in the dirt.

Once I come back, I’m planning on posting only three days a week, and I’m really going to try and stick to that schedule, so I can concentrate on new farm projects and getting my life back together.  For at least spring and summer, that’s my goal – we’ll see how well I resist the siren song of the internet, but I’m trying.

The good news is that I’m already feeling really refreshed and excited about some new stuff.  I’ve got a new challenge coming that I think is both cool and very inspiring, and the Artist Currently Known as Crunchy Chicken and I have a secret plan to take over the world.  I’m turning ye olde blogge into a working farm blog, and I have some other ideas.  So there’s lots of good stuff coming as the season turns. 

Thanks to everyone for your support, kindness and patience.  The blog is officially reopened…mostly.  Now back to your regularly scheduled apocalypse ;-)

Sharon