On blogging: I read somewhere that most people who start blogs stop writing in them after a few months. This has not happened to me so far: I started this blog in July of 2014 and there seems to be so much more to say!
But in many ways my blog is my online nature record, a place to save and date photos and note seasonal activities. It is not just a blog for the sake of having a blog, maybe that makes it easier. The internet may not read it a lot, but I can go back to see how fast a Monarch grew or when I first heard a bird call I misidentified in April.
Seasonally though, I am falling a bit behind. I have a lot of things to write about, but many of them have piled up since the early fall. I will be posting them anyway so, internet, I hope you can handle it. Even the above photo is a little behind. Now these greens are under white crop covers and the Basil is gone and the cover crop is higher.
Part of the reason I’ve been blogging less is because I was doing a lot of life priority adjustments. Long-term, big-time priorities… I didn’t mean to do it. It’s just like Green Day said, life grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go.
So thanks for the wild ride life, my wrist is sore though now so I want to sit down for a sec. What priorities emerged? Come on, this blog is not a place where I will divulge my deepest personal feelings to you! But one really did stick its foot in the door and barge in to demand my continuous attention… And that was organic farming. My friend The Farmer fulfilled a long-time dream and started her own farm two seasons ago, and in the very late spring or early summer of this year (who can remember?) I aggressively inserted myself into the process. It was lovely, giving The Farmer and I a lot of quality time for literal analysis of podcasts, food ethics, and caterpillar life cycles, among other things. Actually come to think of it The Farmer and I have a similar enough approach to the world (literally) that our conversations may also have resulted in fewer blog posts- I did a lot of my blogging out loud.
It was beyond wonderful to work outside again. When I worked the nightshift in an Oregon hospital and went full weeks without seeing the sun, I would sometimes sneak into the break “room” (closet) and clutch this mug that I liked. The mug contained something very special: stale 3AM coffee. It also said something very special, a quote from the Shakespeare play As You Like It:
My little heart would cry, let me work outside one day, again. And so while I worked on the farm I would listen to the birds and watch the butterflies and just look up at the sky and over at the trees and think of my mug and the strange life I used to lead and feel a lot of something very peaceful.
For this I am grateful. But also for months of eating such fresh life-filled food. For a fridge full of peppers and carrots and kale and a huge bag of sweet potatoes and although I am getting old and tired I know that eating this food every day for all this time has given me a vitality I never felt before.
I have learned a lot, that kind of learning that you absorb wordlessly (I believe to be fancy they call it Experiential Education…). About what is in season when, and how much easier it is to grow things organically than the downtrodden farmers I’ve known have claimed, and what the organic farming community is like in my homeland (it is nice! and busy.).
And I have known the soil and the plants, in a way that I didn’t when I was just watching. I see the trees and the worms and the voles now differently, because I stuck my hands in all that action. Right or wrong, I have even come to really dislike certain caterpillar species who specialize in certain plant species that I call food.
You can check out the amazing, local, lady-run, organic farm when the farmers markets in Catonsville and Druid Hill park start back up next year. There is a CSA available too, and a website. You can read more along these lines in the amazing book that The Farmer and The Farmer’s Wife recommended to me on a near daily basis until I bought and became obsessed with my own copy: The Dirty Life. It is about the first whole diet (get all your food for the whole year from one farm) CSA that started in the US over ten years ago, and it is also the story of a NYC writer falling for and herself becoming a farmer. And if you haven’t, Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (a little preachier but full of info and insight).