hands on

I’m trying, really trying, to not stop making things with yarn just because it’s growing season.  This is my late-March attempt.  Nothing too challenging.water bottle 2

Around here, we generally carry water around in glass jars.  Quart mason jars are plentiful in our lives and not as easy to drop behind a couch cushion as a pretty slim stainless water bottle.  Of course this also means we field jokes about moonshine when we carry our select water bottles into town, which is just fine.

Ever since we had an unfortunate, and expensive, episode with a broken quart mason jar on our way up the hill one afternoon (it involved the local emergency room and stitches, ’nuff said), I’ve been thinking of creative ways to carry glass jars.

This is my favorite idea so far.  The pattern is based on one found in the very fun book, Crochet One Skein Wonders by Judy Durant and Edie Eckman.  The yarn is from Hill and Hollow Farm, color Indigo Meets Goldenrod (just enough left over after making my wonderful hat) with a little cotton trim to cover where the green left off.water bottle 1

Drink water, breathe deep!



pitching in

since the moment i launched my own crowd funding campaign that fateful day in October last year, through each of the 31 long days of the campaign, i hoped and waited for the opportunity to somehow contribute to someone else’s fundraising effort. as i drank coffee long into those autumn nights and worked tirelessly mobilizing my community,  i thought how delightful it would be to pitch in for someone else.


at last i received the call to assist.  in the last couple of weeks i received not one, not two, but three announcements from dear farmer friends launching their unique crowd funding campaigns.

having just made my donations to each effort, i set down to write this post. the purpose here is two fold.  first, to ask you to check out each of these campaigns. i won’t write too much here, because i really want you to click on these links and read the tales of 3 amazing farm families. one young and getting started, one well seasoned , and one in such a moment of heart break, i can’t even think of it.


my second purpose is to ponder this recurring thought with you all. why does any hard working farmer need to spend 31 days on their computers and devices rounding up cash? surely, they are working hard enough day in day out to deserve the benefit of a reasonable amount of disposable income.

i see a problem in our food system that leaves small scale sustainable farmers in a constant state of financial insecurity. we are rich in so many ways, ways too numerous to name. often, sadly, we are lacking the funds for even the smallest infrastructure development. we are so shy on savings that when an emergency arises, whew, don’t ask. the financial reality of farmers today is often a bit discouraging.  i ask you now to check out these campaigns. make a donation today.  support them. i know from my own experience that even the smallest contribution will get these fine folks one step closer to goal. then,  i ask you to support your local farmers. spend your food dollars at the farmers market, join a CSA, purchase locally made and processed EVERYTHING! spring is here and seasonal markets are opening for the year. start the routine now. fresh greens will soon appear. make a commitment to changing your diet, your local food system and stabilizing your region’s farmers. the movement is growing. awareness is greater than ever, but still there are small farmers struggling to make ends meet.


its a spring thing

When we went to bed the sky was clear. The setting moon illuminated the night and the air was balmy. We woke with a start before dawn with a thunder clap resounding through the sky. It rained all day and the wind had an edge to it. Now, its clear again, but frosty.

Oh Spring. What a ride.spring green

There’s so much to do that can’t be done yet. It was still too wet down in this hollow even before the rain. But all the birds, bees, squirrels and even a few butterflies say its time – time to work hard with joy, build a nest, grow some food. Everything quickens and we’re drawn into the whirling tide.

The projects that had to wait through the late cold spell either float up high on the urgent side of the to-do list, or lose relevance and drop away. We’ll fish them out of the depths for re-examination once this spring fever subsides, maybe.

While setting out seeds in little square soil blocks, my Fellow Man and I work out the final details of this year’s garden plan. What to keep. What to discard. Less herbs, more grains. Mulch more, tractor less. Work smarter, not harder.

Our income stream is diversified. We’re still adjusting. We still want to feed more people than ourselves and our extended family, and we do. The group is small, but we really like serving them. We like the relationship, the mutual appreciation. It feels good to keep the economic sphere involved in our homesteading life somehow, even if it is only effective at offsetting the cost of maintaining the garden. That’s fine, in fact, its a privilege.

Adjustments mean questions, such as…. Do we really need to grow one hundred or more tomato plants? One hundred peppers is definitely too many now, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have too many tomatoes. Well, it can be stressful, but its a good kind of stress, mostly, and if its a rough year, than isn’t it better to have a few too many than too few?

Then there are the varieties we grow, to tease apart and consider. How to maintain seed quality – an appropriate sample size. How to space them so that they don’t cross. Keeping them away from the corn so the ear worms don’t feast on both species.

There’s so much we want to do. Social impulses tug. Now that the ice is gone, I want to see my friends and visit in the sweet sunshine. But there’s a greenhouse to tend, chicks to order, and goats to contemplate, which will surely want our company just as much. New opportunities to teach yoga are sprouting like daffodils, giving my heart a thrill. I love to share yoga, but I don’t relish the idea of being away from home any more than I already am. Family, meals, house and garden would really be enough to tend. Maybe more than enough, considering this rocky soil and the state of the laundry pile.spring flowers

I haul my jumbled, tumbling mind out to the garden while the sun shines. The surest way through the spring whirlwind lies with a body in motion. The rake clears the dead overgrowth from the garden and my mind settles and focuses on the work at hand. Piles of dead grass mound up along the edges. What a joy, to see what made it through the winter emerging from the ground. My body will be sore, and my mind restored.

It is just so beautiful, to be overwhelmed by Springtime. The ground, opening with the warmth, frosting over, time and again. Flowers will bloom and fade and feed the forest floor. Some of our questions won’t be answered until Fall, when we see where our pantry stands and what the next winter brings. And some might not be answered at all but simply chosen in the moment. What is necessary becomes clear – that we should do this work. Raise this garden, these children. Tend this house and land, or at least keep trying. Breathe and move and help others do the same.

What else is this life for?

Spring tells the time.  Time will tell the rest.spring hawk