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The Deepest Roots

There Is No Free Meatball

Meatballs and furniture? What were you thinking? It’s true, there is no evidence that horsemeat got into the meatballs in the United States, but only because there is a system in place. Queasy factor aside, horses are given high amounts of drugs that are not good for people. Most cattle are, too, unless  Read More 
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Hearing Moles

Building mighty mountains
As you can see in the photo, there are three mole hills along the edge of our driveway, and a small one closer to the mailbox. There is a matching set on the other side of the driveway: front doors, back doors. I suppose the little one by the mailbox is a skylight. 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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Abundantly Green

I continued my questions by driving out to see my friends Marilyn Holt and Cliff Wind, who inherited a farm from Marilyn’s father. About four years ago Holt Ranch became a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture farm, which means that individual families pay at the beginning of each season to receive a share  Read More 
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Sweet Life

Sweet Life
Bainbridge Island curls like a fist of rock around Eagle Harbor on the western edge of Puget Sound, thirty-five minutes from downtown Seattle by ferry. Over half the working population commutes to Seattle every day on a Jumbo Mark II, either the Tacoma or the Wenatchee. The ferries resemble floating airports, they are so large and stable, each capable of carrying 2,500 passengers and 200 vehicles at a time.
I have joked that, if we were completely cut off from the mainland, Bainbridge Island, with its population of about 25,000, could live off of locally made white wine and goat cheese for quite awhile. Every April the farmer’s market reopens, and we have our choice of – goat cheese, honey, and a few vegetables. The truth is, our growing season is short, and there are just some things that won’t grow here in quantity. The soil is bad, and the local gardening guru, Ann Lovejoy, recommends buying good soil and dumping it directly on top, rather than attempting to work it into the rocky hardpan that dominates the terrain.
As a result, most of our produce is still purchased through the locally owned Town & Country Market, and a Safeway store. Once, Bainbridge was famous for its strawberries, but a blight, along with the forced internment of Japanese American farmers during World War II, ended their production. By the fall, a greater variety is available, but as Americans, we are used to having seasonal products year-round: lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, avocadoes, citrus fruits, things that grow in limited quantities or not at all in our cool, wet climate. “There are no seasons in the American supermarket,” according to the movie, Food, Inc. (2008).  Read More 
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The Clueless Eater

In the spring of 2010, I began a series of essays based on the question, “Why did you become farmers?” asked of two couples I had known from their previous, book-related lives. The answers were both interesting and surprising to me.

Along with biographical questions, I found myself asking somewhat apocalyptic questions such as “If there were a food shortage, is there some way I could earn food from you?” and “Can this island support its own population?”  Read More 
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