Revisiting the Riot for Austerity

admin April 25th, 2011


Almost exactly four years ago, my friend Miranda Edel and I were discussing the recent IPCC report on Climate Change and George Monbiot’s book _Heat_ and the reactions that we got when we talked about about the sheer depth of the reductions in climate emissions that would be needed to stabilize the climate.  Whenever we began to discuss emissions reductions on the order of 80 or 90% (depending on your country of origin - for the US Monbiot’s estimate was 94%, although there are reasons to question that number now), the universal reaction we got was that it was impossible - impossible to imagine living in the developed world on so much less.  So impossible there was no point in even discussing or imagining it.
Miranda and I disagreed.  We felt that this critical inability to conceive of what was necessary was something that we had to - and have to - overcome.  Both of us were aware of material limits on a renewable energy build out, and the time frame for such a transition, and we knew that the evidence at the time increasingly suggested that we had to make our changes sooner than we could possibly imagine such an energy transition.  Moreover, both of us looked at this through the lens of energy and resource depletion as well as climate change, recognizing that there were forces driving us towards a life with less whether we like it or not.
Someone, we agreed, had to take the very first steps to conquering the underlying doubt that we can change.  Someone had to do the basic work of establishing a vision of a life in the Global North that doesn’t include conspicuous consumption of energy.  More importantly even, as long as we felt that our response to climate change and energy depletion had to wait on policy measures - to wait for the high speed rail lines and superinsulated new homes, to wait for carbon credits or whatever, we would not act.  We needed to find a way to show that you can act right now - and make not a little tiny difference by carrying your cloth bag, but a big and measurable one - a change that nobody else thought was possible. We stole from George Monbiot the wonderful line “Nobody ever rioted for austerity!”  He was right - no population in human history has marched and demonstrated to have less.  We figured we’d be the first.
Miranda and I set out to document our project and spend a year reducing our energy consumption by 90% over the average American’s. What we didn’t expect was that first dozens, then hundreds, and by the end, several thousand people joined us.  We had expected to struggle.  We hadn’t expected to find community, and most of all, to have fun.  Perhaps we should have, though - as historian Timothy Breen has shown, rituals of non-consumption replace rituals of consumption and are as satisfying to most people as the consumption.  That is, while during wartime, people might miss meat or sugar or drives in the country, that the communal exercise of substitution becomes a good in itself - so exchanging recipes for cakes that use less sugar and playing cards instead of taking drives becomes just as satisfying when you are acting together for a collective purpose.
We set out to cut our usage in 7 categories - Electricity, Heating and Cooking Energy, Gasoline/Transportation Energy, Garbage, Water Usage, Consumer Good Consumption and Food Energy Consumption (we were not, in fact, striving to reduce our food intake by 90% ;-) ).  We measured our baselines and ran the calculations.  A few months into the project, my wonderful friend Edson built a calculator for us, so that you could just plug in your elecric usage and know where you were.
People joined us from 15 countries - and did their own baselines and measurements.  We had people from cities and countrysides and suburbs, the elderly and families with multiple children, the healthy and the disabled, the rich and the poor.  We listened, shared strategies, argued about the best way to do things.  We tried things and failed.  We got frustrated when it seemed like it would never work.  We celebrated, as for example, when there was a Riot for Austerity wedding!
Some fundamental revelations emerged.  The first was that the first 50% reduction in energy usage isn’t that hard for most of us - that was heartening.  Most people could get big drops in energy usage by making changes that weren’t too difficult.  After that, of course, it got harder.  We also found that most of us had a Waterloo - a place where we found ourselves struggling.  Out here in the country it was transport energy.  In the cities, it might be food and consumer goods.  We shared our struggles, and thrilled when someone made it - our friends Larry and Gail dropped their electric usage to well below 90%.  Someone asked “do you even live in your house?”  Not only did they live there, they worked out of it too!
In June of 2008, my family had achieved 80% in all categories, at least at one point.  We had achieved our 90% goal with water usage, but slid back up again to about 60% down from the American average, as our climate became increasingly wet - our 60+ inches of rain annually simply meant we didn’t feel we had to reduce our water usage quite so much.  We were never able to consistently keep transportation energy down to 90% - my oldest, disable son’s busing and the distance from Eric’s job made that harder for us out here in a rural area.  We had to settle for using only 4/5ths of the energy used in most households.
We have kept our energy levels down at the 80% mark for the most part, except for water and a home renovation project that put us well over the consumer goods limit one year.  By the end of 2008, a great deal of more data about climate change had emerged, and between that and the lack of political action that followed President Obama’s election, it became clearer and clearer that world action on climate change either had not or would not come in time (depending on whether you think we’re already past critical tipping points, which may be the case.)  While we’d never expected to change the world wholly, even the most dedicated families, the ones who had been living the Riot most passionately began to ask the same questions - why should I do this if it isn’t going to make any difference?
Meanwhile, my appearance in the New York Times as an advocate of carbon restriction had been played to create a new pathology - the Riot for Austerity wasn’t even mentioned, and I was classed in a story with other environmental activists as a “Carbo-rexic” - someone who was pathologically afraid to use their fair share of carbon.  The story did its best to portray me as a bad mother - taking several remarks out of context and implying that my children were freezing to death in their home (actually, when the article was run, the photographer wanted to take pictures of them under their blankets, but they declined because it was 80 degrees ;-) ), saying they “huddled together for warmth” (again, it was 80 - no huddling!) and implying that we didn’t let our son play baseball, the great American pastime because Mom is an environmental meanie.  For a couple weeks after we were bombarded with threats to call CPS, and we were afraid we would be investigated. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth about exposing my family’s experience in too much detail.
The Riot, born of the attention to climate change that followed 2006-7 emerged from a hope that it was possible to create a grassroots, collective response to climate change that would accompany other responses.  As it became more obvious that 90% wasn’t enough, that 350, not 450 was the target  and that we weren’t going to do anything about climate change, I shifted my focus towards adapting to energy and economic issues.  While we still used comparatively ilttle energy, we focused more on “Adapting in Place” than on Rioting for Austerity.
I have wanted to revisit the Riot for Austerity for a long time, but have been hesitant to do so, to start again, because I was struggling with a good answer to the question “Why do it?”  It isn’t that I think it is any less critical to learn to live on much less than it was in 2007.  It isn’t that I think cutting carbon emissions matters less - there’s a big difference between 550ppm and 800ppm.  It isn’t that I don’t believe that one of the central projects of dealing with both climate change and peak energy is to create a new American Dream, a vision of a life that can actually go forward into the world we have - a dream that requires less money, less energy, and that replaces the consumption at its center with something better.  I believe in these things, but I also understand why people ask “Why do with so much less if it won’t stop climate change, won’t delay an energy peak? Why live now like I’m going to have to then?  Why do the hard thing, when there’s so much hard coming?”
I’ve come to believe there are three reasons.  The first, is that it isn’t that hard - and that getting the most out of little is an art form, a pleasure, a life worth having and enjoying.  The second is the reason articulated by my old friend and colleague Dmitry Orlov, where he observes that if you are facing a fall out of a window, you’d probably prefer to fall out a first story window, rather than a second story window - that is, everything you can do to get yourself closer to the place you are going anyway softens your fall.  The third is that it is simply right.  Our narrative in which we in the Global North use so much more than everyone else on the planet implies that no one else minds, that such inequities are fundamentally normal and acceptable.  But, of course, everyone else does mind.  Our actions make their world less habitable.  Our consumption leaves less for our posterity.  This is wrong - and it is based on a fundamental lie.  We must find a way to change our lives, not so much because it might save us from the worst consequences of our behavior - might spare us the floods, the heat waves, the hurricanes, the tropical diseases - that’s just getting out of the logical consequences.  Instead, we have to change our ways because they are wrong, and we should do right instead.
So starting on June first, I’m revisiting the Riot for Austerity - my family is going to try and get back down in some of the places we’ve crept up, and we invite the rest of you - those of you who did it before, those of you who never to join us.  I’ll make some changes here - we’ll probably make our group go on facebook instead of yahoogroups (not 2007 anymore ;-) ), and I need to run a new set of numbers, as the data for the American baseline has changed, but the basic project is the same.  So is the basic goal - as long as most of us in the North feel that there’s nothing we can do but cling with both hands to a way of life that is doomed, we will both suffer the consequences of our clinging and also doom others with us.  The moment we can find a way out, a new story to tell, a new way of life, and the power to act on our own, we begin again.
There’s more to come, as with all new beginnings!

Food Production, Food Preservation, Food Storage - A Three Legged Stool

admin April 25th, 2011

Periodically someone will come up to me and denigrate one of the three things discussed here, while praising the others.  For example, someone will tell me that food preservation is simply too much work, and not worth their time, but assure me they do have a garden and store food for a crisis.  Other times, someone will tell me they don’t bother to garden because “other people will just come and steal your garden” or “gardening doesn’t pay.”  Sometimes food storage is the target - after all, the commenters observe, eventually stored food runs out, right?

While I’m always grateful to see people picking up on one or two of these principles (after all, the average American practices none of them), I do find myself troubled by the idea that one can grasp the need for and merits of one, but not another.  To me, they look like a three legged stool, on which a very basic concept - food security - rest.  And like most three legged stools, you can’t sit on it with one of the legs missing.

If we are to make by necessity or desire, a shift to a lower input society, it is necessary to take the lessons learned in other lower-input societies and ask the question - what are the major food security issues likely to be?  We already see from the current recession that food issues are more acute than they were anticipated to be - the newest set of numbers is likely to show one in every seven Americans and one in every three children, for example, requiring food stamps.  Six million plus American households have no income at all except food stamps.  Food pantries and soup kitchens are dramatically overdrawn - and need cannot be measured by output, because demand so dramatically exceeds it.  And yet, just a few years ago at the beginning of the recession, we were told that food insecurity was unlikely to be a major issue in the US as it was in the Great Depression.  It turns out that in reality, food insecurity has risen much faster than expected, and the food crisis in the global south is playing out in parts of the developed world as well, and stands only to get worse.

It is simply clear that food is going to be a central site on which this crisis plays out - and because of this, it is necessary that we take lessons from our own history and from other societies that use less energy in their food system to begin to predict what will be needed.  What we know, doing so, is that we will not have a viable food future without all three legs of the stool standing solid.

Food production is probably the easiest sell - gardening is trendy, it is pleasurable, and we all know that food straight from the garden is both more delicious and more nutritious than broccoli from the grocery store that is five or six days old.  Heck, the salad you pick outside your door even has it over the good stuff from the farmer’s market.  Still, there are plenty of people who don’t grasp the importance of gardening, or who don’t think their gardens can make a difference in food security.

Let’s look at the evidence, however.  We know, for example, that in 1944, US Victory Gardens together produced as much produce as all the truck and produce farms in the entire US - fully half of the vegetables in the US came from victory gardens.  We know that urban gardening in cities in the Global South (and historically in the Global North during times of crisis including the Great Depression, Europe after WWII, Russia after the Soviet Collapse etc…) has helped make the difference between nutritional inadequacy and adequacy.  Consider, for example, in Tanzania, where involvement with urban food production means that poor children whose families garden and/or raise livestock have nutritional status equal to middle class children.

The historical evidence is very, very clear - in difficult times (which, realistically are likely forthcoming, and in many respects already here), gardening is a basic way that people who are struggling put food in the table.  To those who observe that urban and suburban gardeners can’t grow all their food - this is absolutely true.  What small gardens do is make the difference between an unremitting diet of staples and a nutritious, tasty diet.  They can grow chiles to spice their food, greens to keep their children from getting sick from nutritional deficits, fruits to add sweetness and flavor to bland diets.  Add small livestock living on garden wastes and human food wastes, and as long as you are able to buy a small amount of staple grains in a market, you can live.  All of us know that meat and veggies are expensive - for poor people, affording these things is a much bigger issue than getting ahold of some staple foods.

For larger households, gardens can provide staples as well - although we are accustomed to seeing grains as our primary staple, root crops have operated, particularly in cold climates, as staple foods - “vegetables” doesn’t mean “lettuce” - it  can also mean staple foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets and other filling root crops that supported the people of Northern Europe for decades.

At both the household level and the regional level, a sweeping view of gardening is best - in much of the global south gardens cover rooftops, balconies, marginal space along roads and railroad tracks, and it includes marginal weeds on which local livestock pasture, fallen tree branches that provide fire wood or brush for staking and building, and perennial crops that belong to the whole community - bamboos whose shoots are taken home from the park, fruiting street trees, and wild edibles.  Consider the difference that planting food-producing street trees alone could make.  Perennial edibles represent a kind of garden bank account on which the community can draw on for pleasure and upon need.

Ok, we’ve established the not-very-difficult case for why we need to garden.  Why is food preservation a fundamental pillar?  The reason is pretty simple - in just about every place on earth, there is a season in which not much grows that well. It could be the dry season, the hot season or the cold snowy one, but gardens slow down or stop, and not much fresh is coming out them.  Even in places where there is year round production, there are also bumper years and bad years - years in which everything does well, and years in which everything - or some important things do badly.  The ability to preserve what you grow for periods in which such things are not available is central to the project of food security - because most of us can count on some periods where we either will not be able to garden or where not much is available.

Moreover, one of the examples to look at is that of the global south, where food is wasted in more or less the same quantities as it is here.  The difference between the Global North and the Global South is pretty dramatic, however - overwhelmingly almost half the food produced in the Global South is lost because it cannot be preserved.  Lack of refrigeration or adequate storage, lack of techniques for food storage, problems with transportation.  In the Global North, more than half of all food wastage is lost after it is transported from the field, in stores and in our kitchens.  This gives us a sense of our future - we may find ourselves with a great deal of food loss due to problems of preservation, unless we can support and build the infrastructure for preserving food in a lower-energy input society.

That infrastructure doesn’t have to be industrial - it might be simple as large solar food dryers and better storage to keep grains away from rodents.  It would include networks for delivery and distribution by bicycle, water, rail or other ways, so that food doesn’t rot in the fields.  It might include strategies used in the pre-oil era, in which families took their “vacation” to help harvest and preserve crops like hops or fruit, acting as migrant laborers in exchange for fresh air, accomodations and good food.  It may also include something like the rural dachas of Russia, where urban dwellers grow their gardens and preserve homegrown and wild foods for the long winter to come.

I wrote _Independence Days_ in large part in response to a question a woman once asked me. I was speaking at a conference, and the woman, an urban dweller, asked me what she was supposed to eat once her 22 week CSA subscription ran out, and what people had eaten in the past.  I observed that they ate preserved and stored food and she asked me who did that - beyond Clarence Birdseye, the answer that was that there are some small producers out there that to produce high value (and usually high cost) preserved foods, but for the most part, this was a do-it-yourself job - the next logical step in eating out of your garden was to take what is abundant and make it last.

You can, of course, purchase preserved foods, and store them that way, but this is much more expensive proposition, and it isn’t a terrifically strenuous one.  Despite the rhetoric of standing over a hot canning kettle, the actual work load of slicing some fruit and sticking it in a solar dehydrator or an electric one, or canning up some chicken broth is not terrifically demanding.  Many people hear the word “food preservation” and think “canning” - but while canning is one strategy for preserving food, it isn’t the only or best one.  Indeed, if one couldn’t survive without canned food, the human race would not exist, since it was invented only in the 19th century. It is a lovely addition to people’s tool box, but root cellaring, in garden-storage in clamps and with mulches, dehydrating, lactofermentation, and the rest of the toolbox will get you everywhere you need to go if you prefer.

What about food storage?  What does that have to do with anything?  Most of us have fond memories of grandma and her homemade pickles or whatever else - we may think it is too hard or too much work, but we can see the point.  Food storage, however, having  pantry that can sustain an extended period without a trip to the store, well, that seems weird.  Our society does a great deal to make it seem weird, pushing us to view stored food as the territory of survivalists with bunkers and guns.

This is very strange, because of course, storing food is one of the most basic things humans do - first they preserve it, then they put it by for years of shortfall.  Consider the Biblical Story of Joseph, who tells Pharoah to put up food for the days when “there will be no food in all the land.”  It was considered a simply responsible and necessary thing to do - in fact, food preservation and the storage of food for the cold season is an older human activity even than agriculture - we have been reserving our bounty for times of hunger for as long as we have been human, or nearly.

Why might we need stored food?  It could be as basic as a period when we are ill or out of work, and unable to shop.  It could be a supply interruption or a natural or non-natural disaster (think Japan) that contaminates or prevents food from reaching us.  It could be a medical crisis that require isolation and reduced contact and makes shopping risky.  It could be a short term power outage or a several month supply interruption.  Indeed, most of us experience periods in our lives when stored food is or would be valuable.  This is so normal that the US government, the US and International Red Cross and most governments recommend that people store food.

It is something that must be done in anticipation of a crisis - in a crisis, storing up food when shortages are already present is viewed as hoarding and can be discouraged, penalized with social consequences, or outright illegal.   In order to ethically ensure a reliable food supply during a period of constraint, you need to have a reliable supply of food all the time.  Moreover, all the evidence suggests that we waste the least amount of stored food when we base our storage on what we eat already, and include it in our daily diets and rotations.

The line between preservation and storage is very fine - once you have done the work of preserving food, you need to know how to store it.  Some people’s food storage consists entirely of things they have grown themselves, other people rely heavily on food produced elsewhere.  Since most of us rely on dry staples, often these will be grains produced in other places, but this varies from situation to situation.

Preserving food is not like preserving works of art, or insects in amber - it doesn’t last forever.  So preserved food must be properly stored, in order to maximize both its lifespan and its nutritional value.  With grains, this may be a matter of putting them in air-tight containers in a place without wild temperature fluctuations or too much moisture for years.  For lactofermented food, it may be finding a cool basement spot or underground spot to allow it to last a few months.  Without the knowledge to both store food correctly and integrate in your diet, all your money or labor in preservation and purchase is wasted - instead of reducing waste by preserving a bountiful harvest, you are simply throwing money and food out the window.  And none of us can afford that.

Nor can any of us afford to believe that natural or human-caused disasters, economic crises and other hard realities will never affect us.  None of us can rely entirely on stores and good fortune in a world where climate-linked disasters are on the rise and where instability of all kinds is the normal.

Without all three legs of the stool, you place yourself, your family, your community at risk.  With all three legs integrated, we have the beginnings of a model of collective food security on which we can build.  If there is a leg that is weak, wobbly or absent on your stool, time to make it strong and build it up.


Thoughtful Chicken Raising

admin April 22nd, 2011

Poultry is the new black, right?  Well, maybe not, but when you think about greater self-sufficiency and backyard farming and such, the first thing a lot of people imagine is getting some chickens.

Now on one hand, I think that’s a good idea. There are many compelling reasons to keep chickens. First of all, industrial chicken and egg production is one of the filthiest, most inhumane, most grotesque industries of all time. You probably already know that the chickens are essentially tortured during their short lives, living in filth, crammed in tiny cages, etc… I won’t bother reiterating what we all already know, but if you buy eggs or chicken at the supermarket, you are, with your dollars, saying, “I’m ok with torturing animals and polluting the planet just so I can have meat and eggs.” Organics, industrial kosher and “free range” (which really doesn’t mean what you think it does) are marginally better, but much more like industrial production than not.

So what is a person who likes to eat eggs and the occasional bowl of chicken soup to do? If you raise four laying hens in your backyard, you will average 2 eggs per day - enough for a household of four to have an egg each every other day. 8 hens, which would fit comfortably in your average suburban backyard, will keep you in all the eggs you want much of the year. Eggs are a superb source of protein, and quite delicious. They enhance most baked goods.

In addition, you will get chicken manure (in industrial concentrated production, chicken manure is a problem - in your yard, it is a blessing on your garden), and when the hens get older, and stop laying so well, if you are brave about this sort of thing, you can make chicken and dumplings out of them. Or you can keep the hen as a pet. They are friendly things, make pleasant noises (you don’t need a rooster to get eggs, and in fact most people in close proximity to neighbors shouldn’t keep a rooster) , and good natured. Children can pet them, and there isn’t a child or adult in the world who doesn’t get excited when they find an egg. All my children have grown up with chickens, but the excitement has never waned.

Chickens will eat your food scraps, including meats and things you can’t put on the compost pile, and return you beautiful eggs. They will eat bugs, including japanese beetles, slugs and ticks that pester us. All they require is an area of grass to scratch on, the most basic housing (4 hens can live comfortably in a doghouse, but for gathering eggs and straw removal you might want something else).

Now some areas do not permit chickens, but surprisingly many do, and if they don’t, this is something to take up with your town board or whoever is in charge. Get your neighbors to help - promise them as many delicious, orange yolked, lovely eggs as they want if they will help you. Show them how cute the baby chicks are, and how sweet natured a Buff Orpington hen is when a five year old picks her up and carries her around. 6 hens make far less noise, mess and trouble than one Golden Retriever for neighbors, and are infinitely more useful.  Their manure is less dangerous than a dog’s poop, they carry fewer human-dangerous diseases.  Any society that permits household dogs can rationally accept household chickens, so do not let nonsense about salmonella and bird flu deter you or your city.  That does not mean it will always be easy, but it is well worth a try.

But - and I want everyone to pause at that but - it is worth thinking about how we’re going to feed these chickens. Because a lot of people get chickens and think their work on the path to sustainability is done. But if your chickens are eating a lot of grains, it would probably be more productive for you to simply eat the grains. And if those grains come from long distances, and are not organic, you’ve done something, but not enough. If you are feeding your chickens GM corn and Roundup-ready soybeans, then you will both get out of them what you put in, and are again, with your dollars, tacitly saying “these practices are ok.”

So how do we feed chickens so that they produce eggs and meat for us, but don’t require us to violate basic principles about raising things sustainably? Well, chickens are always going to need some grain, but they can get quite a lot of their food foraging in your yard for bugs, eating grass, and from your household scraps. Most American households could easily feed half a dozen chickens more than 80% of their diets from their own scraps, scraps obtained from their neighborhood (talk to neighbors, your local coffee shop, the market, etc…) lawn and bugs.

Lots of people raising poultry and feeding them mostly grains raises a major problem - among other difficulties, besides the fact that your eggs may or may not be any lower in environmental impact than the other eggs, when grain is fed to livestock in the industrial world, it raises grain prices in the Global south, where much of the grain is fed directly to humans.  Competitions between the livestock and pets of industrial people and the world’s poor are always a losing battle for the world’s poor - they can’t compete.  So finding ways to keep your chickens on homegrown feed or food scraps, as is done in much of the world, is essential.

Now back to the lawn.  Presumably, you didn’t want the bugs, mostly anyway. The lawn might bother you a bit - after all, if you live in a suburban neighborhood, you may have one of those lawns that looks like it was painted on, and the thought of chickens pooping on your lawn may be traumatic. But if you build a chicken tractor (that is, a small pen that can be moved easily), and put the chickens in a small spot on your lawn each day, you’ll fertilize that spot, won’t have excessive quantities of manure, and get your grass trimmed too. Or, you can build them a yard where they can poop their heart’s content, and you can bring them your weeds, lawn clippings, as well as the scraps from your garden, and keep them blissfully happy.  Generally speaking you’ll want breeds of hen that are good foragers - we’ve had great luck with Buff Orpingtons, Dark Cornish and Aracaunas.

For the other 20% of their diet you’ll need grains and a source of fairly intense protein, and maybe a source of calcium. If they have open ground, you won’t need to worry about grit too much.  Now we shouldn’t be trying to duplicate commercial diets - the idea is not to maximize meat or egg production, but to get the most out of the animals without either shortening their lives or making your own life stressful.

Locally produced staple grains can feed chickens - you can grow them in your garden if you have enough room. Dry corn, for example, is not hard to grow, and it wouldn’t take much space to grow a year’s supply for a small number of hens.  Wheat, oats or millet need not be threshed or anything. Just grow them (they grow like grass, because they are grasses), cut them down, and toss a bundle in with the hens now and then - the straw will make bedding for them and they’ll scratch out all the grain. Even potatoes can be used, and potatoes are the easiest staple starch to grow in cold, rocky areas like the Northeast. Potatoes must be cooked, but you could easily boil a big pot of potatoes every few days and toss the rest to them gradually. Or you can buy grains from a local small producer.

As for protein, if you have enough land, you could use extra milk from goats or cows (chickens will also happily drink milk you let sour in the fridge.) If you can find enough scraps to support them and the chickens, you could raise either earth or meal worms in your house, and use them as a supplementary source of protein. Or, of course, there’s soybeans, if you can buy them locally. Your own meat scraps will provide some. If you have spare eggs, you can even cook them and feed them back to the hens (you don’t want to teach them to eat raw eggs, trust me). In any case, any shells you don’t need should be cooked, crushed and fed back to the chickens for calcium supplementation. With that, you’ll need only a little oyster shell or other source of calcium.

At most, you should be bringing in a small percentage of the hens’ total diet, if you are working towards sustainability - because those sacks of feed will probably not be available forever.  Might as well make good eggs now!


Open Farm Day!

admin April 22nd, 2011

So have you always wanted to come and see the farm?  On Sunday, May 22 from 10-4pm we’ll be holding an open farm day.  We’ll have baby goats, baby rabbits, baby chicks and ducklings, goat milking and scything demonstrations, kid activities and lots of other fun stuff at our farm at 43 Crow Hill Road Delanson, NY 12053.  We’re about 40 minutes west of Albany or east of Oneonta, off of Rt. 88.

I’ll have books, herbs and herb products, heirloom vegetables, herb plants and flowers for sale, and possibly other stuff.  And time to hang out, chat and meet people.  I hope I’ll get to meet some of you!


On Entering the Foster Parent World

Sharon April 7th, 2011

The story of where we are and what we’re up to is all over on the other blog!

Also, if you are around the Capital Region and want to see what I’m up to, I’m going to be here on Saturday! Come and say hi!


« Newer Entries - Older Entries »