Thursday, June 13, 2013

Come On Over

Farming seems to be taking up most of my time, so I would like to cordially invite you over to the farm page. There isn't much farmhousewifery or housekeeping going on, so come on in the gate - and get some dirt under your nails....

Monday, April 22, 2013

School Work

The next couple weeks are going to be hectic - starting two farmers' markets within one week of one another and final papers, quizzes, exams and presentations are coming due.

Here is the paper I just finished for my Social Problems class - enjoy!

Paper or Plastic: Our Disposable Society
            In the course of a week the kitchen garbage cans all over America fill up once, maybe twice, and get thrown out to “the trash,” wherever that is. The majority of individuals never handle the garbage much more than lugging the 13 gallon twist-tied bag from the kitchen to the curb at which point it gets hoisted by the arm of a garbage truck and dumped out into the compactor. In 2010 alone, after burning or recycling solid waste, America still had 136 million tons of garbage to contend with. It is important to discuss this because our resources are finite and at the current level of growth, our environment is suffering, and in turn, we are too.
            In one morning alone, the average consumer in the U.S. might take a tube of toothpaste out of its box, use one paper plate, a Styrofoam cup and lid, two paper napkins, one gum wrapper, two bottles of water and one plastic fork. Add to this list the remainder of the day’s garbage and multiply it by 315,718,000 – the approximate population in America as of 2012 – that’s a lot of solid waste to contend with. It is all going into the earth, into the air, and into the water – three essential things we need to survive.
            We can blame the pollution on capitalism, which “demands the pursuit of profit,” created primarily after the Industrial Revolution, which “changed everything by replacing muscle power with combustion engines that burn fossil fuels such as coal and oil.” (Macionis 424, 433) And we could certainly point fingers at the development of technology. What is most clearly to blame, though, is the attitude of consumerism within our society.
            It isn’t difficult to see that our world is changing fast, and not for the better. While one might believe that the technological advances of today’s society have made life better, it has also made the earth rebel. Global warming, acid rain, the vanishing rain forests, loss of biodiversity, water and air pollution are major problems. While Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth,” gave many a good political chuckle, it bears watching again. It is not someone else’s problem – it is ours together.
            The structural functional theory regarding environmental issues takes the perspective that the damage to our ecosystem is a symptom of society’s attitude toward the earth and resources. Our use of technology, our culture, and the thread of social patterns connect the function of society and the environmental problems that we have created.
Opposing this view is the social conflict analysis – they believe that the inequality in society is to blame for the damage in our environment. Their point is that a minimal number of individuals and groups have the power to fix the problems but instead the consequences are most felt by the poor.
            The rich are to blame, Macionis says, “It is the people in rich countries who consume most of Earth’s resources and who generate most air, water, and land pollution. In other words, not only do we maintain our affluent way of life by exploiting poor in low-income countries, but we poison the world’s air and water in the process.” (433)  The Marxist class-conflict theory states that what is needed is “a more equitable distribution of the world’s existing wealth among all its people, which would achieve greater social justice and better preserve the natural environment.”(433) Some say that the rich will have to do the most changing in regards to reducing waste, living more sustainably, and conserving.
            Whether rich or poor, there are many ways to become more sustainable. If we choose to make small changes, each one can add up to make a big difference. The reality is that our attitudes about the preservation of our environment has to become, as the text states, “ecocentric” as opposed to “egocentric.” Here are a few ideas:
  • ·         Recycle, repurpose, re-use
  • ·         Conserve; electricity, water, and other natural and technological resources
  • ·         Drive less (this is a multi-purpose step – saving tires, fuel, and reducing air pollution)
  • ·         Plan meals – eat at home, and use dishes instead of paper, plastic and Styrofoam products
  • ·         Consume less – do you really need that new iPhone cover? Or that pair of Nike shoes?

Although it seems like common sense to many, reducing, re-using, and recycling will not come naturally to some. Our culture has created an upcoming generation that has never used a telephone book, library system, public transportation, or payphone. It would be easy to say that equal distribution of wealth would solve many environmental challenges today, but realistically, it starts with one. Your home. My home. Your friends’ homes. Call it a pay-it-forward campaign for the earth.
      In light of Earth Day, this paper won’t be printed. It will be kept on a tiny flash drive, made of plastic, incidentally, and kept for years to come. Creating an “ecologically sustainable culture, a way of life that meets the needs of the present generation without threatening the environment for future generations,” will be the most important job I have as a mother, wife and steward of the earth. What happens in this home will affect future generations in a positive way. The ripple effect, although it may be slow and near-reaching, exists from this corner of the environment. Rich or poor, we will solve immediate environmental problems here, and learn from our mistakes. No more plastic utensils or Styrofoam cups. We’ll use our mason jars, milk our goat, and grow our gardens as big as we can. Preserving not only the earth, and our harvests, but a way of life, cultivating respect and a cleaner piece of land than when we found it.
      No, that won’t fix the air, the water, or the ever-increasing population issues but ignoring it on a societal level won’t either. It starts with ourselves, then as we learn and grow we get involved in policy-making, support conservation efforts, and eventually, our ripple reaches farther out. No immediate solution is plausible. But remember, the word impossible itself says, “I’m Possible,” and so is a sustainable lifestyle, even if begun in the smallest of ways.
      Keep going past the drive through, bring your own water in a BPA-free container, and pack a lunch – then pay-it-forward. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” Dr. Suess. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's quiet in here

And that is because, in true farmhousewife field-mouse fashion, I've been spending all of my time over at Hope Farms, the Farmers' Market (well, okay, not really on the site, but as the market manager I've been preparing for our opening day on April 18), and of course, I'm busy with school. This semester is full of General Biology 112, American Women's Studies, Sociology of the Family and of course, Social Problems.

It's all good. Eddie and the weeds are growing neck and neck and Ed has this place rivaling the Disneyland of Farmville.

We had fun on Easter Sunday - a relaxing (overcast, though) day - we colored eggs, I hid them and Eddie pretended to be surprised when he found them (all in a 40' radius).

The bunny is out with the chickens the goat is producing milk (yes, I said goat) and everyone on the farm is enjoying spring.

How's life in your neck of the woods?


p.s. come on over to the Farm Blog where I've been pontificating and philosophizing about life and farming and chasing dreams. It'll be fun they said. You'll love it they said. They weren't wearing flip flops in the cow pasture, were they?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


She's hairy, and dusty, and she sometimes walks so close to me I can't see her in my shadow. Once in a while, her stick-to-me glue gets on my nerves. But she's mine.

She came to me through Craigslist. We've been together since August of 2009. Once in a while I get wistful for a Corgi, or a Basset Hound, or a Shetland Sheep Dog, or a Labrador, or a Mini-Australian Shepherd, or a Blue Heeler/ACD, but I'm pretty happy with my Border Collie.

She thinks she is the boss, she tries to herd children, ducks, chickens, pigs, cows, and goats if you let her. Mostly she takes her "job" of protecting her territory very seriously.

She's quirky. She has one blue eye, and the other eye is 3/4 black and 1/4 blue, which makes her look cross-eyed sometimes. She hates baths and loves popcorn. She sleeps on my feet and is the first to greet me when I come home and open the gate.

Meet Sam.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Unwrapping the Gift of Today

After just one cup of coffee I’m dreaming of sneaking off to the greenhouse - instead of doing dishes and organizing the chaotic mess that is the pantry - where the early morning sun slants in through the glass and begins to warm the day. I can hear the birds singing outside, after a night of rain, they seem much more vibrant and active than usual. I suppose most things feel refreshed after a rain. The grass reaches up, the roots reach down, and all things are in order. 

"All is well," I often see – in notes from my sister, and my mom, and the random new friends I have met in this journey of late. It really is the time spent – the conversation, the eye contact, the shaking hands and saying, “I’m glad I had the chance to meet you,” - that is the most important. 

The take-away from these thoughts about doing what you want to do as opposed to doing what you should do is, "don't be afraid."

Time spent in the greenhouse, listening to the birds, relishing relationships and hearts – this is all what life’s biggest gift is to us. We choose to leave it wrapped or we unwrap it. Sometimes that last part gets messy, and we don’t always clean it up right away, but if we don’t unwrap our gift, how can we give the gift of our hearts to the next individual that needs it? 

Are you afraid to open your gifts?

My mom once shared a little story with me and I’ll paraphrase it to you: Once upon a time, God met me in heaven. As we stood in a hallway there were several doors. He asked me to open one of the doors closest to me. I did. From that room came the most brilliant, but serene, light I had ever seen. Every color imaginable enveloped packages, from tiny to enormous, with all kinds of transcendent coverings, with ribbons and adornments. They all looked so inviting! I turned to Him with a puzzled look in my eyes and he said, “My child, those are all of the gifts you were given, but did not open. They cannot be used to bless others now.”

So the moral of the story is: sneak off to the greenhouse, listen to the birds, soak up the sun, take all of the beauty in, spend that gift, so it can shine back out through you. All is truly well. Or, it can be. Rest in Him. Open your gifts. Pass it on. 

When you unwrap your gifts, you feel good, and when you feel good, you naturally bless others - it's nearly without notice - that's when you send the message to others, "all is well."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Busy Human Doing or Human Being...

Tick tock, tick tock - that's the sound of time, taunting and teasing in its ever-so-almost silent way.  Hours speed by, minutes lost on seconds and then, it it time to get up and do it all again.

This post is a glimpse into what I'm doing. Focusing on the long term of what I will be when I grow up.

This is my sixth semester of studies at the local community college and will graduate in May with an associates degree.  I'm pleased with the coursework I have done, and have the GPA to prove my diligence and great effort: 3.69.  I believe returning to school as a mature adult is an advantage - and when I first registered, my English Literature instructor told me as much.  Her classes were my favorite; the most difficult but the most rewarding.  In addition to English Literature, I took a "Writing at Work" class that gave me valuable experience in the do's and don'ts of professionalism. 60+ credits later, I now know what I do NOT want to do.

What will I do with an associate's degree? The plan is to continue my undergraduate studies and study psychology. In a wild epiphany - last November - I realized what it is I've always wanted to do, so I'm laying the foundation for actually doing it. I want to work with horses and humans - kids and adults alike.

Meanwhile, my service as an AmeriCorps VISTA continues - my work centers around an old farmhouse on just over seven acres that is owned by a town in the geographical center of the state of North Carolina and through two grants, it was rehabilitated and given a purpose to be a heritage center, teaching heritage crafts and skills of a bygone era.  Also, the house hosts an indoor marketplace with locally produced goods, art, pottery, sustainably raised farm meats and eggs.  While this project takes up most of my time, another puzzle of my work schedule fits with the County's exclusive "growers only" farmers' market, where I volunteer as market manager.

Home is as busy as work and school combined, the pigs, chickens, rabbit, guinea pig, ducks, cows, horses, dogs and cat all need attention, nutrition, water, shelter and their quality of life is important to us - so we work hard to maintain their respective living areas that give them a sense of safety, comfort and contentment. My husband keeps the lawn mowed, the waterers cleaned and filled, the manure picked up and composted, and fixes things almost constantly.

Laundry piles up (clean AND dirty), dishes await their washing, and supper always needs to be planned, made and leftovers put up.

We've made the decision to homeschool our seven-year old son, this year also, he is in the first grade. He reads like a third and fourth grader and completes his studies well. There are a great many advantages to homeschooling, and some not-so-great things.

Sigh.  It's just the beginning of another really busy season but mostly I'm grateful to be able to work and study, to live on a small-timey farm and to look back at how far we've come in the five years since we've moved here is awesome.  (have a gander at some posts from 2007, 2008 and 2009....)

I haven't time to post a picture, it's time to get the lad out of the tub and fold some laundry.  It's a good thing I'm a bit hard of hearing, or that tick tock might just worry me.  I can't hear it.  A rhythm all its own is influencing my movements - at a fast pace - but all worth it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

{this moment]

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by this blog and, ultimately, this blog.

What is this leisure time of which you speak?

my grateful button