After several profound disappointments, I've been throwing myself into the Small Things: painting with Oliver, noticing the tiniest parts of nature, plating my food attractively. (Thanks in part to a book I read a long time ago, French Women Don't Get Fat, which taught me that since I can't help being American slob, I should at least approach meals like sacred moments rather than the slop trough.) These and more nuggets of wisdom in today's post!Read More
If you're not sure whether you suffer from control delusions, start a garden. Farm animals? They're right out. Attempting to get involved with the life cycle whether plant or animal will quickly teach you a key truth: you are virtually powerless. Your hand in the process is merely tinkering at best, or interference at worst.
But thanks to my garden and my animals, I've learned how to live with failure—even the life-and-death kind.
The past couple weeks have felt overwhelming. I'm changing my perspective by changing the questions I'm asking.
At the end of last week, we discovered our rabbits Chestnut and Walnut had become parents. We were out doing some farm management (aka mowing and edging the grass) when Bonnie the dog started acting weird(er than normal). Noah went to see what she was bouncing around about and found a tiny baby rabbit in the grass.
Guys, the whole family went bananas with glee.Read More
Often, a way to get past fear and biases is to find a common interest. At Etheridge Farms, that common interest is the compost heap.
Somewhere deep in the annals of my education, all the way back in the Fourth Grade file cabinet, is a folder labelled C-O-N-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-O-N.
Anyway, my inner conservationist cringes at faucets left running during tooth-brushing and throwing away perfectly good recyclables. So when I became an adult with my own home, I couldn't look down at a pile of rinds and weird bruised bits of fruits and vegetables and just throw them out in good conscience. Way to go, L.A. County Schools!Read More
Being sneaky about growing food in a traditional neighborhood setting
People exist who tear out their entire lawns and start growing food in it. Some to great effect, like the folks over at Tenth Acre Farm. Or any of the hippies who live in midcentury neighborhoods where they call the houses "bungalows." (I ain't hatin. I love me some bungalows.)Read More
(Because it's about time they started pulling their weight, amiright? I know this will be controversial, but at Etheridge Farms we do not consider starring in YouTube videos and wearing funny seasonal bandannas acceptable animal contributions. Our animals have to help out before they get screen time.)Read More
As you can see, we have a bigger backyard than maybe is average. But we certainly don't have what most people would consider farming conditions.
But that's the beauty of Fun-Size Farming: it's any size you have or want. It's about getting in touch with the seasons, your region, and the plants and animals and insects that interest you. So stay tuned for the next Fun-Size Farming post to see how you can pursue your dream of getting back to the land—even if you have no land!Read More
If you garden even a little bit, you'll soon have to face the annoying fact that Nature will do as she pleases, even in the approximate 48 hours you have every spring to get the vegetables and fruits up and running.Read More
Long ago, when I was a little girl in Los Angeles, I loved an ancient magnolia in the front yard, a tall red hibiscus in the back, and the scattered palm trees in our concrete jungle. These glimpses of green led me to imagine wide open spaces and write stories about pioneer families who built sprawling farmhouses on the prairie and never died of dysentery.
How to achieve your ludicrous dream of getting back to the land, even if you have no land
So fifteenish years later, when Noah and I signed the papers on our small house in the rolling foothills of North Carolina, that spark reignited. I planted a garden. We built terraced garden beds by stacking landscape timbers on the sunniest hillside and back-filling the clay soil with hauled-in compost.
It was a gateway garden.Read More
We bought our first home eight years ago. Our starter home. It was about 1,200 square feet—three bedrooms, two bathrooms. A palace compared to our previous two apartments. Buying that house was the next point on our classic American upward trajectory, from dorm room, to one-bedroom apartment, two-bedroom apartment, and then small house.
Our plan was to bring our new baby home to our adorably humble house, then outgrow the place and move on in three or four years. It would be our family’s greenhouse, nurturing us until we were ready to be planted somewhere grander.
We’re still here.Read More