Some random photos from the past week.

garlic.Sorting through our remaining garlic. We still have thousands of bulbs!

scooter.Scooter basically lives in this woodpile under our porch.

margot charlie.This new girl joined the family this week. We picked her up from Little Seed, and of course her name was already Charlie (our cat). We are thinking Margot.

flower.Wildflowers in the woods. Anybody know the name?


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We have food, and we have water. We have animals––both big and small––a scenic forest, a creek and plenty of nature, but the one thing we cannot offer visitors is much in the way of comfort. Comfort is rare here.

It has occurred to me over this last year or so just how uncomfortable our lifestyle is. Especially in the heat of the summer. Not that we don’t experience any comfort on the farm, but that it comes in small, ornery bursts. It comes in the moments before we get out of bed when the the heat has finally left our cabin. (Or those few minutes in the morning before the fire gets going.) Sometimes, while we’re working in the garden we get a cloud or two, maybe even a breeze. The creek provides some comfort, and rain can be comfortable––when it comes at least. But for the most part, comfort is not the norm.

And I sometimes find myself feeling guilty for it when people visit, because I know most people are used to air-conditioning, showers, running water, and all the other conveniences that create comfort, and are standard in the city. We can’t offer them. But perhaps what we can offer is something altogether more rich: we can offer the chance to learn to deeply appreciate comfort. Because when the majority of your life is uncomfortable, you learn to savor the moments when you are visited by comfort.

It is nearly impossible to get through a day on our farm without a few new bug bites, a tick or two, a sunburn, and sweating through a shirt. Off-grid farming is itchy and sweaty and dirty and smelly and the days seem to last forever. Then come the nights which are equally as itchy and sweaty, though never long enough. But like I said, sometimes there are moments of comfort, and never do we not appreciate those moments. So perhaps my guilt for not being able to offer comfort is unfounded, because what we have to offer our visitors is something far more valuable, the chance to really appreciate all that goes into being comfortable, and how good comfort feels after a long, hot day of work.

- Jesse.


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baby shoes.

Thursday August 21.

5 a.m.
Now that the sun isn’t coming up until around to 5:45, we’re having to use an alarm clock again. The alarm goes off, but the soreness of my body makes me ignore it. There is a possibility I am getting the cold that everyone else got (and that I gloated about not getting). In an unrelated note, there is no hour too early for karma.

5:30 – 5:45 a.m.
After laying in bed for thirty minutes wondering if I’m sick or not––and concluding that I may just be tired from a ridiculous amount of labor the day before, not willing to concede to the cold just yet––I decide to get up and feed the turkeys. I enjoy this chore as the turkeys all make this sort of vibrating cooing sound in the morning that I’m pretty sure proves they’re dinosaurs. Somehow.

5:45 – 7 a.m.
Get fire going, writing, breakfast.

7 -7:30 a.m.
I leave to do our neighbor’s chores while he’s out of town, a privilege of trust I am forever honored to be a part of. On the ride over I listen to a story on NPR about the photo journalist James Foley who was beheaded by ISIL. I just have to think that no God would be anything short of embarrassed and saddened by a group of people who would do such a thing in what they feel is God’s name. Someone needs to check their copies of the Quran for some serious misprints.

7:30 – 8 a.m.
More writing and begin preparation for our trip to see our midwife.

8 – 10:30 a.m
We make the hour drive to the place where we meet the midwife and spend about an hour talking about the baby, and telling our stories of feeling it kick, among many other baby related and non baby-related things. The midwives tell Hannah how well she’s doing, because it’s true. She’s healthy, she’s eating right, getting her exercise, drinking her water and doing everything she can to bring a healthy child into the world. And I’m so proud and so lucky to have her.

At the end of the meeting we all team up to move a new futon into their office. Part of our deal is that we’re trading veggies and work for a portion of our midwife fee. And we’re thankful for that, because good luck finding a hospital willing to barter.

10:30 – 12 p.m.
Because we’re insane and still keep up this blog thing despite our lack of electricity, we have to take every opportunity we’re in town to use the internet. But, in doing so, we find out that our fee for the web host is due, and that it’s going to be $228. That smarts, and makes our “blog thing” even more insane as it leaves us with about $200 left in the bank total. To add a cherry to this mess, I discover one article I’ve been working on for the 31st, is actually due tomorrow. I guess when it rains it pours… stupidness.

12 – 2:30 p.m.
Did I mention I was coming down with a cold, because by lunch I’ve pretty much confirmed that’s what it is. I’m coming down with a cold and that is why after lunch––grilled hamburgers, of course, for the baby––I take an extended nap. In fact, it was such a nap Hannah even takes over the walking-Wendell-to-the-mailbox duty for the day.

2:30 – 3 p.m.
Our nearby neighbors Ed and Jackie, who are some of the most delightful people I know, bring over some biodynamically-grown pears (which my computer does not recognize as a word) for us to bring to market on Saturday. So if you need some delicious pears, we’ll see you in Nashville, uh, a few days ago by the time this hits the blog.

3 – 4 p.m.

4 – 5:30 p.m.
I’m not usually a procrastinator, so I’m not used to having to produce work on the fly. But I sit down and knock out the bulk of the article in this period and am left feeling almost disappointed in how well it goes. I do not need to know I can wait until the last minute to do good work. That’s all sorts of dangerous.

5:30 – 6 p.m.
I put in some work on another hugel bed, but I remember that a) I’m supposed to go pick beans at a neighbor’s house and b) I don’t feel all that well and should probably not be working so hard in humid, ninety-five degree heat.

6 – 7 p.m.
Bean picking. Some of our old-timey neighbors planted way more beans than they could ever use and have invited us to pick “a mess” whenever we wanted. So I pick us a mess.

7 – 9:30
Dinner and a movie. This time it’s “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” which, as a Wes Anderson fan herself, I was surprised to learn Hannah hadn’t seen. She realized she must have been in Italy when it came out where Wes Anderson is banned (after no research at all this turns out to be patently false).

9:30 – 10 p.m.
A little more work on the article. I will get more time in the morning, but there is no guarantee the cold I ignored all day won’t punish me, and my work, by sun-up.

10 p.m.

- Jesse.

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