Friday, March 12, 2010

Possible New Direction for the Blog

It's been almost a month since my last blog post, and let me tell you, it's been a month filled with interesting happenings.

For example, I now have a goal for my adult life. I know! Who does crazy things like that, right? And it's not one I would have figured for myself, either, until my grown-up years.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Internets, I want to be a farmer.

Specifically, I want to live on a small, organic homestead of about 5 acres. I want bees, and chickens, and goats, and sheep, and miniature donkeys, and cows, and lots and lots of space for growing things. I want to grow and preserve my own fruits and vegetables. I want to raise and butcher my own meat. I want to milk my own dairy animals, and turn it into cheese and butter and awesome creamy soap. I want to suit up and steal from my own hives, honey and wax and pollen and royal jelly, and then figure out what to do with those last two.

Ideally, I'd even like to build my own house on those 5 acres, but since construction is not my strongest point I may pass on that one.

I'm not sure if these urges are a continuation of my love of spinning and knitting and making things in general, or if they all have some kind of ultimate root in wanting to live a simpler life, closer to nature, taking part in all the steps of production from start to finish, but I think it's all connected back to my early memories of my great-grandmother who lived up north.

I remember going up every winter to Granny's house in Indiana, and catching brief glimpses of The Basement, a magical place where little kids were not allowed to wander, a place full of shelves lined up like the stacks in the library where I work now, all of those shelves full to the brim with jars and jars of different things Granny had preserved. Apple butter, green beans, pickled cucumbers (the cucumbers were grown in an old claw-foot tub that lived in the back yard), and other things that I never found out what they were. I'd never had apple butter before, and no other recipe tastes as good to me as the one made by my Granny, and that I never thought to ask her for.

At Granny's house, I found crocheted turtles she'd made ages and ages ago, and tried to read the stitches and make her a new one (I couldn't figure out why mine turned out so much smaller - they had the same number of stitches!). At Granny's house, I had my first taste of horehound candy, which tasted sort of like cough syrup, but I loved it anyway. Granny's house was full of strangeness to me - homemade quilts; racks and racks of salt and pepper shakers that her daughter, my grandmother, had collected before she passed away; old-fashioned porcelain-faced dolls; strange almanacks and for some reason rooster-themed memorabilia all over the place - and I loved it. There was a park in easy walking distance from her house, with a lighthouse we used to sneak into, whose rickety stairs terrify me now that I'm older and wiser. There was a river with a bridge for the railroad tracks that my mom told me she and her brothers used to race across, while telling us in the next breath we were under no circumstances to ever do.

My Granny was born in 1902, and to the last she didn't take shit from anyone. When they made a law that you couldn't burn leaves and trash in your yard anymore, she still did it. When the cops came by to tell her it was illegal, she told them she was over 90 years old and had been doing it all her life - were they really going to take a lady her age to jail? She told me stories about growing up in that house, and while I could tell her memories were not all happy ones, I was glad to hear them anyway.

So when I think about farming, and having a home to call my own with its own shelves of apple butter and preserves, maybe its own claw-foot tub full of cucumbers if I can find one, it makes me feel happy inside. I've been making a lot of friends this past year, many of whom have chickens of their own (and let me tell you, trading leftovers for fresh eggs is a pretty sweet deal), and one in particular of whom has goats, sheep, and miniature donkeys. It's been making me realize that yes, this is really what I want to do, and I want to do it soon, and in this area.

To that end, I've decided to buy a goat. My friend (we'll call her Sunshine) has a bunch of pregnant mamas right now, and in the recent snowstorm three of them had their kids. Two of them froze to death in the night, but one of them made it, and I'm pretty sure I've fallen in love. Uno was intended to be a meat goat, but I think she's going to be the start of a milking herd for me.

She's even cute enough that I'm breaking one of the Cardinal Rules of the Blog, and posting my face for the first time. Enjoy it, folks. (p.s. the lady in the black shirt is not me, she's a friend who's crashing at my place until May, and wanted to come down and visit Uno. I'm the one in the glasses.)

Me and Uno

Uno the Goat

Uno checks out the camera

I think it's a pretty good start.


choperena said...

GOAT!!! She is so cute ^_^

It's great to discover things about yourself like that; to create new dreams! I dated a rabbit breeder for a couple of months, and boy was that work! Especially since we were trying to make sure they were all well accustomed to people. The next plan was to start a bee hive, but I don't know if it ever got inhabited.

As far as apple butter, just jump in and try to remember what it tasted like and play around in the kitchen! Or try asking around your Nana's neighbors and remaining relatives if she ever gave them the recipe, or if they have any good ones of their own. Good luck!

Maven said...

Good luck with that! :)

The Bon said...

That's totally the life my family lived until my parents divorced. It's a hard hard life--one where vacations and sick days are non-existent--but it can be rewarding. We had a herd of dairy goats, a few dairy cows, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, geese, ducks, a huge garden...