A lot happens over the course of single season during the life of a garden. By late autumn, the plants that produced all sorts of good things during the summer have become compost, the fields will soon be tilled under to mark the transition to fall, and the leaves on the aspen trees turn from … Continue reading Rest in Gratitude
If you’ve read Prairie Grown, you may have noticed that I like to quote Wendell Berry. His writing, and his ideas about the world, have influenced my own significantly, and I got to wondering if there was a story behind why my folks have so many of his books. Mr. Berry has written over 40, and I would wager a guess that most of his titles have graced the Hillside Prairie Gardens homestead at some point during the last 40 years. My parents have a small organic farm, one that is committed to keeping the health of the soil good and contributing in a positive way to the local community — much of Mr. Berry’s writing focuses on those basic principles of sustainable agriculture.
“For the true measure of agriculture is not the sophistication of its equipment the size of its income or even the statistics of its productivity but the good health of the land.”
― Wendell Berry,
A trip to South Dakota. Coming home, here, to the prairie, a place where I go when I don’t know what else to do; where I go when I need to reset and reclaim my center. A place to be absorbed back into the land that taught me how to be alive, how to pay attention, how to see beauty in the ordinary, in the fleeting. Somehow it’s a place of enchantment and magic, even as the population and sprawl grows, as I get older, as the trees get bigger while others fall, as fences and houses go up where I used to roam free. Under all of that remains the hummus of my youth. I may never live here permanently again, yet part of me will always be found here on this prairie hillside. Continue reading “Prairie Wind”
About five years ago, I got the idea that it might be fun to make a seasonal calendar of farm photos for my family who had just ramped up their gardening game, offering a small CSA to the community and getting back into farmer’s market selling after some time away. And then for awhile I thought that instead of a calendar, maybe I’d make it into some sort of pamphlet, or maybe put the calendar photos together with some anecdotes from my family plus a recipe or two and have them bound at the local printing store. And then I thought, hmm, maybe I should add another story or two, and a few more recipes and be more intentional about what photos to include. At that point my conglomeration of stories and recipes was starting to be a little book like and I thought, “Maybe it should be a book instead of a pamphlet.” But the thought of all the design work, plus trying to format and put the content together in a way that looked right that self publishing requires was daunting, and I put the idea down for awhile. After another year went by, I picked the project back up and explored a hybrid publisher – they do the editing, design, formatting, and printing for you if they think your work is quality enough to have on their imprint. The catch is that there’s a steep price tag if you are accepted…..they quoted me $5, 500 to complete the project. Ha! Back to the drawing board. Continue reading “Prairie Grown: From Calendar to Cookbook”
Most of my childhood was spent living seven miles south of a small college town in eastern South Dakota. Days in the summer were spent outside in the fields around our five acre plot, picking berries and vegetables in the garden (enthusiastically…some of the time) and strategically placing Breyer horse models and My Little Ponies in various little nooks and crannies around the homestead. Spring was muddy and wet, but that just meant there were streams in the back in which to splash. Fall was about apples and jumping in piles of leaves and waiting for the first snowflake. Winter was all about burrowing into the snow, sledding down the hills in the neighbor’s pasture and skating on the frozen cow pond. My brothers and I roamed. Continue reading “Safety and Risk: Enough”