Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Growing again

So, we got a van. A crappy one. For cheap. I think it leaks three different fluids, but it managed to get us across the country. And it still runs. While the gas mileage sucks compared to my dearly departed Kia--and it is much less reliable--the bright side is that it holds lots of stuff, or people, or maybe both. So far so good. But I'm trying to top off the transmission fluid, and it's proving to be a project. Even the simplest things... right?

Yep, the simplest things have been problematic lately. I won't bore you with the details. But simple is definitely not to be confused with living simply. The past few months have been anything but an act of simplicity for us. We've been living way beyond our means and desires lately, and it has taken its toll in many ways. At least for me. I think living in such a way makes all the simple things much more of a project than they need to be; or maybe it leaves me lacking the patience to deal with the simplest of things.

But whatever mumbojumbo I'm talking about in the previous paragraph can just float away and be gone as far as I'm concerned. We're settling in at the new place, already constructing a couple hoophouses and learning some new ways of growing (like bottom-watering your soil block seedlings started under cheap-ass fluorescent lights).

More details about new farm experiences and re-immersion to come. For the moment, we're working hard, getting situated in our small, primitive RV, and readjusting to the flatlands. The farm we're staying at is a narrow, 500 ft-wide strip of vegetable-growing diversity in the middle of king corn and it's scantily clad consort, queen soybean. Today, the land is wide open for miles, save the occasional farmhouse, the seemingly rarer tree, and millions of acres of corn and soybean stubble. Many of our neighbors under the considerable power of the AMDs and Monsantos of the world busily blast their near bare soil with tons of deeply extracted anhydrous ammonia. Soon, we'll be surrounded by vast forests of magically grown commodity crops. It'll certainly be a different sight.

In the meantime, we've got potatoes and spinach to plant.

(Internet access is rare, so updates may be spotty for awhile)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Back to the Midwest

So, we're going to be rambling our way back to good ol' Illinois (which is where we're originally from, for any new readers out there), where we'll be apprenticing for another season on a diversified small farm. We decided that family and long-time friends were important to have near us (relatively) as we anticipate finding some land to settle down on for the long term. It'll be hard to give up my dream of living in the beautiful mountains of the Southeast. I mean, I really felt at home there, but some things are more important than other things. And at least I got a chance to be there for a time.

But first, I've gotta find a new car. My long-lived and trusty '98 Sephia was destroyed in an accident. Got a couple weeks to find a replacement and then head halfway across the country and move in to a new living space (which is going to be: a motor home of some small size, on a farm about an hour south of Chicago). We'll see how the cats like their new digs. Or, how we will, for that matter.

We can't wait to get dirty again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

This and that

Oh blog, how I've neglected you. Readers, if any of you are left out there, let me tell you that I've been living in a place with a virus-ridden computer, and, besides, I haven't been inspired much to write. We've been trimmin and cuttin down trees up in CT. Well, to be honest, we do the ground work while an experienced treeman (wife's uncle by marriage) does the rope climbing. There's lots of downtime otherwise, and I've been trying hard to find a place to relocate to come spring.

Connecticut is a nice place to visit. And Chicagoland, where I'm typing from now, is kind of an interesting visit, but not really, if I'm being honest about it. The former is way too steeped in the culture of money, and the latter is a contender for ground zero of the imminent destruction of suburban sprawl, happy motoring, and faceless centralization. So, you know, for me, lately, inspiration is hard to come by.

Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed a good bit of my time in Connecticut. Hanging with family, learning to butcher a deer, tinkering with cars, meeting some great people, seeing the ins and outs of tree care: all things I'm grateful for. And the Chicago area has my core family and lots of cherished friends.

But I feel better when I'm living purposefully, working the land, watching the clouds, helping the neighbor bale hay, laying on the ground, fishing the stream, kicking back with some tunes or a movie and a beer after busting my ass all day long.

I see winter gripping almost the entire nation right now. Up in the north we'll get our obligatory January thaw before the wrath of another cold spell. Then it'll turn again, and we'll have to start thinking seriously about planting somewhere. Got prospects back down in WNC right now, but nothing concrete.

Looking forward to it though.