Fresh Eats

Farmgirls–I have a new favorite food. And–lucky you! I am going to let you in on this rare discovery.  I haven’t found a new go-to food for quite a while, so it has been fun to add something new into our rotating food repertoire.

No, it isn't cotton candy. We went to the Winter Show Rodeo in North Dakota, though!

No, it isn’t cotton candy. We went to the Winter Show Rodeo in North Dakota, though!

It has only taken me several decades to discover just how delicious this mouth watering creation can be. It is a juicy, savory, and unpretentious all-in-one meal. They can be creative, complex or simple; and–perhaps most notable of all–they are quintessentially American.

Are you teetering on the edge of your seat? What could this amazing food possibly be?

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Who are you?

‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

~Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

I am writing this under the light of the Super Snow Moon–the biggest full moon of 2019.  It is much like the sun this time of year–able to illuminate that which isn’t often seen or hasn’t been noticed in a long time (hello window sills! You need to be dusted).  It also has a slightly stronger effect on things like the tide.  If any of you have seeds sown for transplants (or maybe crops already in the ground if you are in the south or southern hemisphere), you may see a little bump in foliage growth during the few days before the full moon and root growth afterward.  I’m going to keep a jar of water on one of those dusty window sills tonight to get charged by the moon!  Not sure what I’ll do with it…most likely uses: I will drink it, Opal will drink it and then spill it, Fern will spill it, I will water houseplants with it.  All worthy causes.

Often, quotes from other people or places get the gist of a feeling just right.  This is from a fence at a playground on Kauai

Often, quotes from other people or places get the gist of a feeling just right. This is from a fence at a playground on Kauai

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Rocks and Pine Cones

Happy New Year Farmgirl sisters!

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying these days of growing sunshine.  I just read Dori and Nicole’s posts from the last two weeks and they are so inspiring.  Their outlooks, commitment and encouragement are infectious.

I might not be quite as inspiring, but I feel like my story might help those of you who maybe haven’t acted on your inspirations and motivations.  I stand here in solidarity with you.  Plans are easy, execution of plans is hard. We are not in this alone, sisters!

Sisters! Sun! Snow!

Sisters! Sun! Snow!

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Earthquick

Hey Farmg—wait, did you feel that?!

No?  It was an aftershock.

An aftershock to a pretty big earthquake we had in Alaska a few weeks ago.  You might have heard about it on the news? 7.0 with the epicenter about forty miles from here

To put it mildly: it was terrifying and awful and discombobulating.  After lots of reading and discussing and studying, I can imagine being in a bigger one and I hope it is something you or I or anyone never has to experience. We are finally feeling pretty recovered after a few days of adrenaline hangovers, a week of high stress and another week of trying to return to normalcy.  I questioned a few times if the lingering anxiety would ever fade, but with time and less frequent aftershocks it has subsided.

A birthday walk in the snowy woods to find our tree took a lot of the edge off of the 'quake anxiety.

A birthday walk in the snowy woods to find our tree took a lot of the edge off of the ‘quake anxiety.

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Thankful for Sisterhood

There’s something special about the bond between sisters…

I wouldn’t really know because I grew up with all brothers, but I’ve heard and observed that biological sisters can have profound connections.  While I don’t have a sister sister, I do consider myself lucky to have a sizable group of friends that I love just as I love my siblings. These friends are men and women–although mostly women–and are parts of separate and overlapping groups. Some are local and some live great distances away.  Some are parents, some are not. The one thing they all have in common is that they are totally awesome!

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Yes, the rare man can be a part of a sisterhood!

A few weeks ago I went on a truly amazing vacation down to San Diego, California. It was so far from my current reality that it took several days to get back to reality upon my return. I went down for six (SIX!) days–solo!–to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with five of my close friends. Four of them are friends from college and one joined from Alaska.  We stayed in a mid-century mod home up on a hill with a private pool in the backyard and a very glamorous, Mad Men kind of vibe.

The Backyard

The Backyard

The most amazing part about this vacation? It was largely organized by Evan!! I think it’s fairly new phenomenon, but some women have started getting gifts from their significant others for having babies.  They are (kind of disturbingly…) called “push presents.”  The gifts are often pieces of jewelry–usually fancy and expensive.  I am not one to wear much fancy or expensive jewelry as they don’t play well with my lifestyle.  So, in an effort to show his gratitude for all that I do–physically, emotionally and otherwise, Evan got me this trip!  It was practically all planned by the time I found out about it a couple months before we left.  While I really enjoy planning and organizing vacations, I have to admit it was great to have the big parts already nailed down. Furthermore, it’s heartache-ingly beautiful to dwell upon how much Evan loves me and cares for my sanity :).

Rock climbing outside for the first time in a few years.

Rock climbing outside for the first time in a few years.

How do people live where it is always perfect?

How do people live where it is always perfect?

The vacation was relaxing, fun and rejuvenating.  The activities we did were great–rock climbing, went to a funk concert, farmers market (so many beautiful items!), zip lining, wine tasting at a vineyard, yoga and of course hanging at the beach and eating yummy yummy tacos. One of the things I keep reflecting on was how nice it was to be able to just walk outside…any time of the day or night.  It was always a perfect temperature outside and there weren’t any mosquitoes.  I had to pump while I was there because Fernie is still so little, and I could take my little portable pump out to the pool at 6:30 a.m. and pump OUTSIDE! We drank mimosas in the pool and had a bonfire on the beach while still wearing swimsuits.  These are all pretty huge things for me coming from places with pretty extreme weather and tons of mosquitoes.

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Coffee and lazy breakfast outside every day.

Coffee and lazy breakfast outside every day.

The best thing about this trip was reconnecting with friends.  It’s kind of a cliche, but it is really easy to lose yourself when you become a parent.  While “mother” is now a part of my identity, there is a purer me that exists somewhere under the labels.  She can be kind of hard to find sometimes.  I also LOVE talking about my kids, as most parents do, but it was a treat to hang out with people and barely talk about my kids!  We spoke a lot about our psyches, our evolving personalities and beliefs, our failures and our goals, our love lives, our side projects and new hobbies.  We hollered our deepest desires at the roaring ocean and we read each others’ fortunes.  I was going to title this post, “Sisterhood of the Rose” as it was a card that was often drawn during our card reading sessions.  Rose was a theme of the trip–I brought rosewater to share, another friend brought rose incense, rose quartz made a few appearances, roses were in bloom and there was a rose balloon marking the spot where our yoga class was.  I did some research into the Sisterhood of the Rose and it’s pretty interesting stuff–with roots in Atlantis and ancient Egypt, but I don’t think I could have done it justice in this post!

Rocks and oracles and spiritual things, oh my!

Rocks and oracles and spiritual things, oh my!

Watching the sunset from a vineyard in the country.  That is Rosemary creeping over that ridge.  The herbs grow into monsters in San Diego!  It is incredible.

Watching the sunset from a vineyard in the country. That is Rosemary creeping over that ridge. Herbs grow into monsters in San Diego! Huge lavender plants, sprawling rosemary and luscious sage as landscaping!

We drank champagne on the beach and lost our cork to this gull.

We drank champagne on the beach and lost our cork to this gull.

Oh, and we laughed so hard! So, so hard!  One of my friends claimed that she almost vomited from laughing so hard.  I noted at one point that these were my healer friends–a medical doctor, a women’s reproductive health rights activist, a public health worker, a therapist and an ayurveda and yoga practitioner.  I have to say that I did leave this trip feeling healed–from what I’m not sure, but I’ve felt pretty grounded and centered since coming home to reality!

Good bye, Mission Beach!

Good bye, Mission Beach!

It was so good.  All of it.  It was equally as sweet to return home to my lovely little family and my sweet baby whose weight I missed in my arms so badly! What a great trip. I’m a fortunate woman and oh so grateful.

I hope this finds your Thanksgiving preparations going well.  I’m thankful for all of you!

Sending peace and love from Alaska,

Until next time,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

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Sprouts on Sprouts on Sprouts (Brussels, that is)

Hello Farmgirl Friends!

‘Tis post harvest season up here in Alaska, although we have yet to experience any real damaging overnight frosts.  It’s been an incredibly warm and balmy fall for this neck of the woods.  While Mother Nature is allowing for a longer than anticipated season, we just really didn’t have anything left to harvest.

Warm Blissful days on the farm!

Warm Blissful days on the farm!

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Farming with Kids

I am guilty of having been the best parent before having children of my own.  My kids were going to be the hippest kids around.  They would become the most environmentally-conscious-vegetable-eating-adventurous little bodhisattvas around, for sure.  I definitely knew how to curate kids to embody these traits!

I mean...this could be an album cover!

I mean…this could be an album cover!

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Come Again Another Day

“I’d much rather work outside in the rain than inside during nice weather!”

I found myself exclaiming/reminding myself of this several times over the past couple of weeks.  It has been downright SOGGY up here in the northlands.  One of my friends recorded more than six inches of rain on her small farm between Sunday and Wednesday of last week, and we had plenty of rain on both sides of that window, as well.

Opal finds great joy in taking sips of water from the large brassica leaves.

Opal finds great joy in slurping water from the large brassica leaves.

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The Case of the Missing Calf

Hey Farmgirl Friends!

It’s been a busy and eventful month up here in Alaska.  The farming season is in full swing.  It’s the time of year when pretty much everything that can happen on the farm is happening (or at least supposed to be…).  We are transplanting seedlings, seeding greens and roots, harvesting, sowing a few more trays of starts, pulling spent crops, amending new rows, irrigating, putting up and taking down row cover, pruning, suckering, weeding (Oh, the weeds…), fearing the ever growing slug population, moving chickens around in their tractors, opening and closing all of the structures, going to market, running the farm stand and divvying out CSA shares. Phew!

You look radishing!

You look radishing!

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Stationary Sun

In prepping for this post, I looked up the etymology of the word “Solstice.”  It breaks down to two Latin root words–sol: “sun” and “stice” or –stit: stationary, stopped.  This is an apt description of solstice, especially in Alaska. The sun is stuck in the sky!

Rising high under the midnight sun (well...8:30 p.m. sun!)

Soaring high under the midnight sun (well…8:30 p.m. sun!)

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