ROUGH DRAFT T.V.

A few years back, we were contacted by a handful of television producers, each pitching a sort of “Off-Grid in Kentucky” reality show. At the time, Hannah was newly pregnant with Further and we vacillated between feeling like it could be fun, and feeling horrified at the thought of silly plot lines invented by producers eager to make our quaint off-grid life into must-see T.V.. Not that chasing the pigs through the woods at nine months pregnant wouldn’t make for good television (LINK), but we are no Alaskan Bush People.

I don’t know that we ever talked about it here, and it feels a little embarrassing to even write it, but we definitely entertained the idea of this reality show, even going as far as to Skype with one producer and exchange emails with a couple others. The point of this blog has always been to share our lives—the good, the bad, and the ugly—in hopes of inspiring others to go farming or live simply. In some ways we could see a television show as an amplification of that goal and we liked that. But we also were definitely afraid of the drama-filled narratives that studio executives might spin our lives into, so when nothing ever came of it, we didn’t exactly complain.

Lately, however, we’ve been enjoying making YouTube videos for our CSA shareholders as a way to bring the farm to them, and show them how to store, prep, and cook the vegetables we give them. And we thought, “Heck, this is fun—let’s just use this to make the show we wanted to make!”

So I suppose without further ado, that’s exactly what we’re doing. We wanted to formally introduce you to our YouTube Channel! We hope you will subscribe and watch, but just so you know what you’re getting yourselves into, here are the first “shows” we’re doing, each with its own regular episodes:

Cabin Fever
As Hannah recently shared on the blog, we miss our cabin. Bad. But we thought instead of pining for the old days, we’d start working towards a new one—a new self-sufficient cabin for the new farm. In this series we will take you through the designing and, God willing, construction of a new off-grid cabin. Having lived in one such cabin for four years, we kinda know what we do and do not want, but there are a plethora of new and great ideas out there in terms of self-sufficient design to explore, so that’s what we’re going to do. The goal with this will be to take our time designing everything we want from passive solar to geothermal cooling and beyond. Taking our time with the design is something that our budget and living situation didn’t allow for when building the last cabin . This time, however, with a safe place to live and a productive farm to support us we can do it right. With this show we can take you through the whole process all the way from designing and blueprinting (is that a word?) to moving in. Note that we encourage viewers to chime in and give us their ideas. Please feel free to point us in the direction of any natural building or off-grid concepts of which we may not be aware. If you’re looking to one day build your own, this might just be your show. The first episode will be up soon!

How to Cook Your CSA
What the heck is kohlrabi? How do you store Swiss chard? What can you do with acorn squash? Do tomatoes go in the fridge? These are the kinds of questions we often receive from our CSA customers and these are the very questions we will be fielding in this series. Every week we will be giving advice on how to store, prep, and cook the things that come with your CSA, whether you’re a member of ours or someone else’s. Think of this as a FREE farm-to-table cooking class! With recipes, tips, tricks, and storage advice we hope to provide the viewer with everything he or she needs to conquer a CSA with ease (and with surprisingly little forethought). Jesse has cooked professionally on and off for over 15 years, and he is happy to cover any cooking topic you’d like. He may also provide some wine buying tips and some mead brewing. He will also probably make very stupid jokes. The goal, however, is to offer a guide to cooking through a CSA share that takes what can be an intimidating endeavor—new and different veggies every week—and reimagines it into something that will fit right into anyone’s lifestyle. There are a few videos up already—feel free to check those out and let us know what you think!

Rough Draft Farm Shed
When I started out farming, even after years of cooking and wine-ing, I really didn’t know anything about where food came from, what a tomato plant looked like, that beets grew on the surface of the soil and not underground like potatoes. So in the spirit of that, we will soon be starting an occasional series about where food comes from for people, not unlike myself, who care but might not know where their food comes from and what it takes to produce it. We plan to take you through the entire process of veggie farming—from seeding to harvest—and introduce foodies to the complete and utter magic that is growing food in hopes of giving you more insight into where small scale agriculture and how different crops grow. This series will talk about how we farm (organically) and how different plants grow. It will be intended as a compliment to our How to Cook Your CSA series, giving the viewer a more in depth look into small agriculture, and hopefully inspiring you to grow some of your own ingredients. Again, look for that soon!
So that’s where we’re starting. The goal is simply to provide a—hopefully educational, hopefully inspiring—glimpse into our lives. Almost every video will be less than ten minutes (most less than five) and we hope to make them fun, engaging and educational. It is not a reality show, per se, but it’s the definitely show we wanted… with perhaps slightly more questionable camera work.

Anywho, we will still be blogging, of course, Instagramming, Facebooking and all that good stuff, but we hope this new adventure will help give people a better perspective on what we do, show you how to cook more veggies, and hopefully inspire some more low-impact, self-reliant cabins along the way. So please subscribe to our channel and we will take any and all the feedback we can get!

Thank you for reading, and welcome to Rough Draft T.V.!

– Jesse and Hannah

LITTLE HELPER.

The other night with some cold weather coming, Hannah, Further, and I headed out to the garden to cover some crops for the coming frosts. It was a little chilly and we had a lot of work to do, but Further really wanted to help. Of course, even when we’re in a rush, we try to encourage this. So I let him grab the end of the row cover and begin to pull the long, 100’ piece of fabric down the paths. And I watched somewhat in awe as he did precisely what we asked him to do.

Now, I love my son dearly—DEARLY—but his role on this farm heretofore has been mostly that of an obstacle. As soon as we get in a good rhythm he gets upset, or gets hurt, or he gets too hot. That’s all fine. This is the life of farming with children and I care for my son’s safety and health above literally everything else on the planet. But he certainly makes farming challenging.

However, as I watched him pulling that fabric down the paths it occurred to me that at some point in the not-so-distant future, my son will genuinely be helpful. I knew this when we decided to have a child, of course, but in our three years of watching him stomp on plants or crawl all over us when we were planting, I admit I had forgotten. I had forgotten there will come a day when I can ask him to help me in the garden, and he will be able to do it.

Being helpful to us, though, isn’t the whole of the story. Being helpful could just as easily be doing his own thing while mama and papa work. It’s that he wants to be with us, to work in the garden. That’s what I find special. He will be asked to help the family sometimes, but I don’t ever want to force my son to farm—I don’t want to force my son into farming if it’s not something he wants to do. If we can inspire him to do it, however, that will be a success.

So as this year wraps up I am looking forward to the Spring with our soon-to-be three-year-old. It will be another challenging season, no doubt, but if by the end of next year he still wants to help us pull the row cover, or plant the garlic as he did later in the week, then I will know we’re on the right track. In fact, I’m a little sad I didn’t get any pictures of him with that giant piece of fabric dragging behind him. It was pretty darn cute. But if we do a good job of this parenting thing, I’m sure I’ll have plenty more opportunities next year to snap some photos of our little farmer in action.

– Jesse.

little helper.

THIS OLD HOUSE.

We are just about exactly one year into our move to the new farm. It was one of our busiest years ever, growing-wise, and one of the mildest seasons we could have been given for our transition. Plenty of rain, warm-but-not-too-warm, great CSA members and just an all-around great year.

It was also a confirmation of our decision to move: abundant family time, a reconnection to community and involvement, and a new opportunity for us to serve the food-insecure. We miss our friends and neighbors, but we know this is where we are supposed to be.

We just returned from vacation (a real, actual vacation!) in Asheville. We had an amazing time, eating and hiking and eating some more and visiting farms and farmers markets. One of our days was spent in Pisgah National Forest, where we sort of stumbled into “The Cradle of Forestry” – a museum/tour that explored the old Biltmore Forest School established by the Vanderbilts in 1898, known as the “birthplace of science-based forest management.”

lodge at Pisgah.

We walked along a paved hike and explored all of the old buildings from the school – the residence cabins, the schoolhouse, the offices, the store. Jesse and I both felt a twinge of sadness walking into the log cabins – the smell very reminiscent of our own house in Bugtussle. Touring these structures made us realize that there has been one thing missing this past year at our new farm: our cabin.

Now, to be clear: we are not homeless. We have a perfectly decent house, a mobile home, in fact. It is lovely and, in many technical aspects, an improvement on our tiny cabin. It has almost double the square-footage, with running water and electricity, a REAL bathroom and even a washer and dryer! We are SO GRATEFUL for this home.

But we do not love this home. It is the polar-opposite from our little, hand-built home. It is not attractive, it is not solid-feeling, it is not ours. Again, we appreciate it SO MUCH and have admittedly appreciated some of its conveniences, but we actually want to get back to some of the simplicity of the cabin. We miss being in control of our water and power – we had a string of tragic plumbing issues this summer, not a good thing when your garden depends on irrigation! The desperate calling, trying to find a plumber (how are there not more plumbers?!), being at the mercy of their schedules and their prices – it was horrifying to us. Same with electricity – we have yet to install our woodstove, because it is just not safe for an older mobile home. We never had these problems at the cabin – it was hard work, but we had control (and peace of mind) when it came to our water turning on or our plants staying warm enough in the greenhouse.  Our walk through those handmade buildings in the woods in North Carolina really affirmed something for us, or perhaps simply ignited it: let’s build another cabin.

We came back from Asheville feeling inspired and refreshed. We are so fortunate to have this house – we live our lives in it everyday, sheltered, and we will be able to continue to live here while we (one day) start to build a new home, with our own hands, our own ideas, and our own needs in mind. Being excited and inspired is such a good feeling – and exactly the way you hope to feel after returning from a vacation. We also ate a lot of great food and a visited a beautiful farm – leaving us equally inspired to strive for better in the kitchen and the garden. We really had the best time in Asheville – thanks to everyone who offered tips and suggestions!

-Hannah.

 

ANNOUNCING THE FALL/WINTER SHARE!

the FALL/WINTER share

Hannah and I are super excited to announce our fall/winter CSA share. This will run for 15 weeks, starting in mid-October and ending in February (with a break for Christmas, of course).

For the moment, this will only be available in Frankfort, Versailles, and Lawrenceburg.

But can I talk about how much we love the fall share for a minute? I’m gonna.

We love the fall share! It is, as farmers and foodies, our favorite time in the garden. There will be loads of storage crops like butternut squash, acorn squash, garlic and the best dang sweet potatoes you’ve ever had! Also, lots of greens, green onions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and many other Fall goodies. And of course, we will be delivering all these organic veggies straight to your door.

If you are interested please let us know ASAP as space is limited. You can send us an email at roughdraftfarmstead@gmail.com, or call (502) 598 – 8288. Once we have you on our list, you will receive an information packet about the CSA and details about delivery.

The price is $350 for the 15 weeks.

This boils down to an average of $23.33/wk, so slightly less expensive than the summer, if you’re looking to try the CSA in but are intimidated by the summer share.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! We can take payments in person, by check, or online HERE.

Spinach, carrots and beets are already starting to germinate in the fields, y’all. Get ready! Hope to see you this fall!

Jesse and Hannah.

MY FELLOW FARMER.

As long as I’ve been a writer, the fact that editors don’t get bylines––that is, they don’t get their names attached to the articles they work on as the writers do––has always kind of perplexed me. I write an article as best I can, but then what the editor does to that work is something that, not in a thousand years of trying, I feel could I do on my own. Editors add. They refine. They remove. They adjust the flow. They ask questions I never considered. They clean it up and prepare it for publication. And without them I am pretty sure almost nothing I write would be worth reading. Perhaps nothing anyone writes. Yet it is my name that goes on the article, while the editor remains in relative obscurity.

And in some ways I feel this role of the editor is analogous to the role of women on farms throughout history. Men get the bylines. Men are often called “farmers”, while the women are simply called “wives”. As Audra Mulkern points out in her forthcoming documentary Women’s Work: The Untold Story of America’s Female Farmers, men are the ones whose pictures are taken, while the women can be seen harvesting in the fields behind them, or can’t be seen at all, despite their importance to the farm.

I think about this with Hannah. It is an unending inspiration the amount of work she puts in to refine and shape our farm. She is out there digging, broadforking, planting, harvesting, cleaning, packing, marketing, all of it. Hannah is as critical to our operation as an editor is to an article, but the analogy ends there because she is not my editor, she is the other farmer. And without her, there is no Rough Draft Farmstead.

The story of our food is one written by us both––equally––doing our jobs, using our different skill sets to accomplish something profound together: food, farming, life, and family. On our farm, Hannah deserves a byline with everything we do. There is no such thing as “women’s work” here. There is just a whole lot of farming, and two of us to try and get it all done.

-Jesse.

hannah.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...