Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thirteen Years

I convinced Nicolas to go into a photo booth with me last night at our local movie theater. He probably thought I had something really fun in mind. No, I just wanted shots of us on our thirteenth anniversary. That's crazy, out of the norm behavior enough for me!

We're looking ok for having just ingested bar food, coca-cola, popcorn, snowcaps and gummie bears (it was our anniversary - we went all out. Ohdear, my naturopath MIL is reading this...) Plus, we had just seen yet another very stressful thriller about the CIA and the war - "Body of Lies", which had me squinting so hard in distress that I am surprised I could then stretch my face back out into a smile so quickly.

It's been fifteen years since we met, waiting tables at a vegetarian restaurant in Little Five Points in Atlanta. I was directing at my brother's theater and Nicolas was just starting his farm. I was planning a move to Seattle, to go to grad. school for theater and hopefully reunite with my ex-boyfriend.

Thankfully, fate intervened. He brought me on my first camping trip, ever! His mother healed my chronic fatigue. He was the most authentic, down to earth guy I'd ever met (I'd only ever dated actors or musicians). He said "funerable" rather than "vulnerable" - this really got me. He spoke French. He had lost most of his hair when he was eighteen. He has beautiful blue eyes and the best smile, ever.

I remember the moment when I made the decision to think about us as more than just friends who go out for a beer after every Wed. night shift. It was a Thursday. Nicolas was working. I was not. I lived in Little 5 Points and was on my way to get myself dinner. I stood at a cross-roads. If I walked to the right, I would be going to the health food store, Sevenanda, to get myself a hummus sandwich. If I walked straight forward, I would be going to Eat Your Vegetables, our restaurant, to order an EYV salad and then hang around with the serious European waiter while it was being put together. I knew that he would know that I had chosen to go there to see him. This was a big move. It was easily made.

The profoundness of my having shown up may have been - ok, was absolutely - lost on Nicolas, the Belgian. He is straightforward and, after all, he is male. But that was the moment I think about every year at this time and I feel so grateful that I chose the salad.

Look Who Came to Visit!

Kelli and her girls:And look at the look on Kyra's discerning face. ; )
Kyra left with an injury again. : ( This time, she twisted her ankle while running in our bumpy back yard in the dark with Jesse. But other than that, it was a great day. Next visit, I'm wrapping her with bubble wrap before she enters our danger zone home.

Out of Limbo

I hinted at a possible move that we were considering, a month ago. Here is the scoop - 32 acres on a lake with an almost finished house and a helicopter hanger that could have been a barn. The best part was that it was being financed by a very wealthy man who believes in Nicolas and was willing to let us pay him back. It was his idea.

Gillen was ecstatic about the possibilities. He was ready to design all of the landscaping, to farm much more, to build a raft and to hunt and ride an atv (eventually) right outside the back door. Jesse hated the house, with a passion, from the beginning. I had thought that he was afraid of change but he convinced me that it really was about that house.

We finally stopped deliberating yesterday and got to put this decision to rest. Due to the cost, we are not moving. Now, I can enthusiastically make our old house even more of a home and feel more secure, knowing that we are still going to have a low overhead. There will still be lots of travel in our future.

We have also crossed that important crossroad of hearing a baby's heartbeat for the first time.

Did I scare you?! No, it didn't belong to my fetus. It belonged to the baby of my sister! I can finally publicly rejoice about my little sister's first pregnancy! She is due in April and we are so happy for her.

There have been so many sleepless nights this past month. I don't do limbo very well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Some Really Good Things

-It rained last week, all day and night. It gave me that first-snow-of the-season-in-the north-when-you-don't-own-a-car-or-a-driveway feeling. I was so happy. It had been a really long time.-I went to Goodwill today to get some clothes for our trip next week to Europe and I scored! There were a few mothers there who were lacking in good will towards their children (not abusive, but disrespectful) and that was not a good thing at all. But that's for a different post and mood.

-Pulling myself away from laundering and admiring my new shirts and sweaters to scrounge up some dinner for my family, I entered the kitchen to this sight :Nicolas and Gillen decided to make some pesto with the last of Gillen's backyard farm basil. I was told to go walk Tuki. They had dinner all taken care of. Pretty good, huh?

- After restarting fifteen times (I'm not exaggerating) I taught myself to knit socks this week (well, with the help of three library books, a library dvd and an online tutorial). So far, I have knitted the ten inches that go on the leg, and haven't yet conquered the heel or toe, but I am so proud of myself. I'm talking several needles pointing in many directions. I didn't grow up with this stuff.-I seem to be able to eat wheat again, for the first time in eight years. I tested it out with a hamburger bun last week and when I didn't get a rash, I made chocolate chip cookies, with white flour and ate lots of the dough and cookies. This means I can eat pasta at the Slow Food Convivium in Italy. That is an unbelievably good thing.

I hope there is much good in your life.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Farm Photos

I'm feeling especially grateful for the farm right now. Plus, the autumn light, not to mention the autumn vegetables, demanded more than one post this week.

Red Meat Radishes:Biking farmer, with a carrot:
Acorn Squash:
Mexican Sage:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Farm Photos

I no longer get to savor the deep reds of a New England fall, but I do love the colors of our farm's fall lettuces:
I have no idea what that odd, non-lettuce plant is. Probably a weed, yes, but I just wasn't sure enough to pull it. I see everything through a fairy tale lens and so that plant is a possible ugly duckling. Sad, I know. ; )

Over the past week, Gillen collected lots of Sawtooth Oak nuts from the school yard down the street. He also brought a few visiting unschooled city friends to the school to skateboard over the weekend:I had Alice Cooper and other old rockers' tunes about school going through my head as I watched them skateboarding on school property:But back to planting trees for the future...
Today he collected lots of pots in which to plant those Oak nuts. His long term plan is to transplant them into the back fields to attract more deer. He tells me that they won't be attracting deer for 5-7 more years. I am impressed by his patience.

I wish he only wanted to attract the deer so that I could name them and take pictures of them, but he is growing up in a rural southern town and has different influences than I did in Boston, and his own dreams. I'm keeping my mouth shut, and putting away my ignorant city girl ideas about hunting.
While he waits to be old enough to get his hunting certificate and big enough to ride the huge ATV that he wants to buy, I appreciate this moment - nurturing these seeds that will one day be Oaks.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Despite having discovered the really cool graphics and challenges of on-line gaming (in Runescape and World Of Warcraft) the guys surprised me by taking out several board games this week and Jesse created a new WOW-inspired outdoors game.

We played Imaginiff with Logan. In this game you imagine how the people playing, as well as people whom you all know, would answer several questions. I love that they included "Daddy" for Logan's father and "Papa" for Nicolas.

We have three Monopoly games - the original one, which we turned into a bird/dinosaur monopoly game years ago, the Here and Now American version and the Here and Now Australian version. The other day, Gillen's friend Aaron skipped school in honor of his birthday and we played the Australian version with him for hours.We also played it with other friends another day this week:

Jesse usually goes alone to "training" for his imaginary WOW raids, when Logan is not around. But this time, I followed. Tuki always tags along. See her? The small red, ecstatic motion in the middle of the field?

And I've been getting in shape dancing with Jesse in the wii dance dance revolution game and reliving songs that I danced to in the eighties. Scary.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Slow Food" Pig Competition

On Monday night, Nicolas and I got to go to a Slow Food event at 5 Seasons Brewery, a restaurant that strongly supports local sustainable food and that brews up some great beer. Below are Dave, the owner, Nicolas, and Judith, a friend of ours who is the co-leader of our state chapter of Slow Food. This event revolved around pigs.
Five well treated, grass-fed, rare breed pigs were given to five of Atlanta's best chefs. They cooked them however they wished and then we (the lucky participants) ate, and ate, and ate some more, and drank, and then shuffled our happy, bloated way over to a table where we voted for our favorites. There was a guy there, Allan Benton, who is famous for his delicious cured pork, and his proscuitto and bacon were amazing. I also ate belly fat for the first time and now can't stop thinking about how much I have to have more of it. But the winner of the best overall pig preparation, who used a Berkshire pig from our favorite meat-producing farmers, was Kevin Rathbun, of Rathbun's Restaurant. Apparently he wins lots of trophies on The Iron Chef as well. He vowed to attach this trophy to the hood of his car. The proceeds from this and several other Slow Food events are going towards paying for the airfare of those GA delegates who are going to the bi-annual international Slow Food Event in Turin, Italy, (Terra Madre)at the end of this month. Nicolas is a delegate this year. Unbelievably, I am one as well! So I will be coming home impassioned to share lots of information here about the politics and the soul of that which challenges, or supports a slow food culture.
Leaving you with some science, according to Charlotte (the stein-carrying farmer above who is responsible for raising all of the meat that we eat from her family's Riverview Farms), these two glasses, when full, contain the same amount of liquid in them. Before becoming organic farmers, she and her husband used to be chemists, so I (skeptically) believe her.