Archive for July, 2012

Maternity Leave

Sharon July 20th, 2012

Hi Folks – The more I look at my life, the more I think I’m not doing things as well as I could be – too many balls in the air.  Many of the things I care about are paying a price.   The addition of the chronic sleep deprivation that goes with a new baby is pushing me to strip down my life to the bare minimum.

What’s frustrating me most is that writing and online work are taking up time I should be spending on sustainability measures – while I’m writing about the joys of pickling, I’m not actually making pickles with the kids.   For a long time this was manageable, but right now, with a two week old, it just isn’t.

There’s also the fact that I wasn’t a professional author when I had my first four boys – I was a farmer and a Mom who could pay attention to what was going on online or not, as needed.  I wrote because I needed an outlet, but I had the luxury of no one caring if I put anything up for weeks  or months.  Now I feel like the internet is always on, at least in the back of my head – and that this baby isn’t getting the kind of attention that my others did.  I want the luxury of just sitting there with a baby in my arms and not feeling guilty about it.

So I’m going to take six months maternity leave – I’ve always made the statement that the “you can have it all” idea was garbage – so why would I try and live it?   I will be updating this blog and www.sharonastyk.com once per week, on Thursdays. My goal is longer and more thoughtful posts, a la John Michael Greer, but if the sleep deprivation continues until morale improves, who knows, it might be all gibberish.  Note that on this blog, that would often mean me updating MORE OFTEN, so that’s good.

Something will go up once a week, but the rest of the time is for home and family until the baby sleeps, the harvest is in, the publicity push for _Making Home_ over, the new book written, and the baby goats grown to sale size.

I’ll still be around – I promised I’d run the food preservation class in August during the canning season, and so I will, and you can always email, but I’m going to slow the pace and concentrate on what’s important. I’ll be back to my more regular schedule Feb. 1 or sooner if the baby leaves ;-(.  Or if I go mad with stuff to write about.

What Can We Expect from Food Prices

Sharon July 19th, 2012

Depending on whose measure you are taking, somewhere between 55 and 62% of the US is in moderate-to-extreme drought.  The US corn crop is likely to be seriously affected as Stuart Staniford documents with his usual meticulousness. The big question – what does this mean for food prices and availability going into the coming year?  Spikes in corn prices are already occurring, with a range of likely impacts – some of which our obvious (more expensive Fritos and Beef) and some of which aren’t (more dairy farmers going out of business as feed prices exceed the price of milk).

The worst effects probably won’t be in the US – but will emerge as already high global food prices squeeze out the folks who most depend on grains – the ones too poor to burn them in their cars and eat them as meat, but who eat the grains to live.  Predicting the future is a delicate game, but we can expect to see the impact for some time to come, playing out as always in complex ways.

Higher food prices, along with continued economic instability in the US are likely to push a lot of us hard as well.  We, folks, are living in interesting times.

What does this look like from your view?

Sharon

Back… Finally

Sharon July 19th, 2012

Sorry for the acute neglect of this blog.  I’ve been a little overwhelmed the last couple of months – it seems that every single time I get my life back in order, new (often good) stuff sucks up my time, and my blogs suffer.  My apologies to you all – and thanks if there’s still anyone listening.  I do, in fact, plan to do the food preservation posts requested, and I have much more to write about.

In other news, K. and C. after a bit less than 3 months have left, which is hard but good too.  We have a 13-day-old newborn baby, Z. here as well – we brought him home from the hospital with 2 hours notice about 11 days ago, and no, we’re not getting much sleep, thanks.   Eli is still getting used to his new school (he moved from the elementary program for kids with autism he’s been in since Kindergarten to the program he will (hopefully) stay in until he ages out at 21).  _Making Home_ comes out in a couple of weeks, while I’m hard at work on my next book _Green Sex_ (due out next fall).  My boys are in camp or summer program, the garden is drought-stricken but still producing food, and I’m way behind on canning.

So how are you all?  I’ve missed this!

Sharon