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The Deepest Roots

Trash Talking Crows

Trash talking crows
The crows in my neighborhood have been talking a lot lately. Flying back and forth from tree to tree, sharing their thoughts with each other and anyone who cares to listen. They like to stay up high, where they can look down on us and criticize our clothing and our hair. They are gossips.

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Who Are My Heroes?

Joel Salatin on Bainbridge Island
A chilly June day brought us an unexpected visit from farming guru Joel Salatin. Marilyn, co-owner of the CSA Abundantly Green, sent me an invitation to hear Salatin at the Day Road Farm on Bainbridge Island, just up the road from my house. It seemed to be only for farmers, but I signed up anyway. Maybe I know the secret handshake by now.  Read More 
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On Mirrors

A reflection on my one encounter with Carlos Fuentes

This is a small story, but I wanted to get it right.

In 1997, shortly after the publication of my first novel, Spirits of the Ordinary, I was invited to read at Bumbershoot, an arts festival in Seattle that used to include literary events.

Carlos Fuentes,  Read More 
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March

A greenhouse at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island.
As the winter season wanes, we miss the foods that are in such abundance in the late summer. We ate the last of our frozen green beans, but still have a few potatoes from Abundantly Green, and our homemade saur kraut. I made hamentashen dough with duck eggs for Purim. Pinto beans are boiling  Read More 
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Mid-Winter Food

Garnet yams from Abundantly Green
On January 1, we visited friends who live west of the Hood Canal Bridge. In their sunny bowl of a valley, vegetables were still growing under cold frames, and they sent us home with two week’s worth of salads and greens.

Three weeks later, several inches of snow covered western Washington, stranding us all  Read More 
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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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