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The Deepest Roots

Feeding the Dragon

A writer's life.
January 2012

2012 is the year of the dragon, and an apt symbol for something I just experienced.

After a few days of holiday festivities, I turned back to “Notes from a Food Oasis.” When I opened the file, it hissed at me. I tried to read my work over the last two years, and it  Read More 
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The Gift

Neglected apple tree.
For the last several weeks, I have been thinking about systems. I realized that the stories I am trying to tell – of farmers, of the land, of what we need to survive and how we would go about securing it – do not fit into a tidy arc of story that will lie down nicely between the covers of a book.  Read More 
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Even Farmers Have Their Bards

Poet Paul Hunter
On November 20, Paul Hunter visited from Seattle to speak, sing and declaim at a dinner celebrating the fall harvest on Bainbridge Island.

Ostensibly a fundraiser for the Educulture program that brings school children to the farms and local farm produce into the schools, the dinner really celebrated local farming. Many of the people I  Read More 
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Corn Harvest

EduCulture Director Jon Garfunkel with fresh corn.
On September 26, children barked and dogs frolicked as we harvested 600 ears of corn that will be served in the Bainbridge School Lunch Program this week.

Farmer Karen Selvar and friends from a preschool in my neighborhood finished this off in less than an hour. Pull down and twist, and the ears come off with a satisfying snap. Read More 
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Clamming with Neil

All year, Neil had bragged about the special place where he found geoduck, someplace no one else dug. He made a mystery of it, but said he was willing to share it with me. Eventually, I took him up on the offer, and we picked a day. When I e-mailed the day before to see what time to meet, Neil seemed reluctant to go, although he had already instructed me to go to Walmart and get a shellfish license. Walmart is not that close, so I went online and, sure enough, was able to buy a license for shellfish and seaweed for $12, and print out a temporary license on the spot. It was good for ten days. There are all these rules around harvesting crabs and shellfish in Washington State, and a lot of disputes about who owns the rights to the tidelands and their product. I guessed that Neil’s secret geoduck stash was on public land if I needed a license. I was right, sort of. Read More 
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Laughing Crow Farm

Betsey Wittick met me at a purple, open-sided shed on the eastern edge of Laughing Crow Farm. Her four acres are part of the Day Road Farmland Trust, an area protected by the City of Bainbridge from urban development. While waiting for Betsey to come out of the main farmhouse, I walked around and noted the garlic and potato beds near the house, the chickens in their coop making those low, rusty gate sounds that people find so comforting.  Read More 
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The Perfect Carrot

The summer of 2009 I lived in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico where I rented a small condominium with a kitchen. The furnishings were basic, and I ate simply when at home, mostly breakfasts and salads.

The stores are clustered by type along the narrow, cobble-stone streets of San Miguel – pharmacies on Insurgentes, clothing stores on El Reloj, and produce stores on Mesones. One day, I bought some carrots. I didn’t eat them for a couple of days. Then I washed and peeled them, although at home I probably would have left the peels on. Hungry, I cut one into rough junks and took a bite.
This was my Proustian moment, the madeleine of my vegetable experience.  Read More 
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Town & Country 2

The Town & Country Signboard
Town & Country Market 2
A few days later, I met Vern and Rick Nakata in a small, upstairs board room across the parking lot from Town & Country, near the Bainbridge Post Office. Glen was late. All three cousins are in their mid to late 50s, and all wore some piece of clothing with the Town &  Read More 
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Broccoli Reset

Last week, something ate most of my broccoli sprouts. This was followed by 1 1/2 inches of rain in one day, washing away anything left. So I visited Bay Hay & Feed to purchase more substantial broccoli starts. I also added marigolds, remembering that I used to mix them with my vegetables to ward off bugs. I  Read More 
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First Light

Tiny sprouts, just above center.
... for my broccoli sprouts! This year, the neighbors loaned me a planting bed, so I will attempt to grow a few vegetables. About two weeks ago, I planted broccoli and carrots. There are a couple of specks on the carrot rows, but I expect them to be more pronounced next week.
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