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Archive for the ‘miscellany’ Category

which of these is not  like the other?

I’m finding myself in the rather unusual situation of being a temp who loves her job. I’m trying not to get too attached to this, because well, it’s temporary, but this is hard for a few reasons: (1) I’ve been working there for the better part of three years, albeit in a different capacity than I am now. (2) This new market vendor study I’m working on is going to be crazy fun. And (3), I kind of wish I were pursuing a career that related in some way to food systems. I also really want to be a librarian. I was just offered a low-level part time position in my local library. I accepted, of course, so I’ll be working 40 hours a week, split among my three jobs. And it’s becoming clearer every day how torn I am between these two directions. So, yeah, I’m trying to not love my job too much, but I know that’s never going to happen.

Anyway, I bring up my love for my job because I think I need to enforce a little professional distance here on this blog. I’d love to talk all about this market vendor survey that I’ll be spending so much time on, but I have a feeling that might not be a great idea in terms od keeping my job. At the very least, I will be asking permission from my boss and the farmers to publish draft versions of farm case studies here, and I think they’ll probably consent to that: it’s really just good publicity for the farmers, and farmers could use more publicity. Beyond that, though, I don’t think I’ll be writing about my day-to-day activities on this project, and as much as I’d love to, I won’t be writing about how frustrating temping at a huge research university can be. Why? Because I’m classy, that’s why. So while I’d love to go on and on about this preliminary market vendor meeting I had today, and how cool it was, I won’t.

In other news, I’ve been readingĀ  cookbooks like it’s my (fourth) job. I’ve always been a very avid reader, partially enforced by the fact that I majored in English, and was “forced” to read 25+ books every semester. However, now that I’ve graduated, I’m finding it really relaxing to read slowly. For once in my life I can take a month to read a really good book (currently: Rushdie’s Satanic Verses), and not feel guilty about taking my time and enjoying it. However, when I go two weeks without completing a book, I start feeling guilty and antsy – something in me loves the act of closing a book and knowing it’s done. I’ve been taking care of that itch mostly by reading lots of graphic novels (new favorite: The Invisibles, by Grant Morrison), which I can plow through in a day with no problem. Recently, though, I’ve started devouring cookbooks. There’s no plot, so I can put them down whenever I want. They’re practical (moreso now that I have time to cook in the evenings). And I just like them. So I picked up three from the library today: Recipes from America’s Small Farms, Simply in Season, and The Sustainable Kitchen. I’m pretty low on ideas for what to cook in the winter that revolves around Michigan produce. Reviews and recipes to follow! I got a bread baking book too, Bread Alone. That has nothing to do with local food (at least until I find a source for local flour), but it’s fun anyway.

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Last Year's Garden

I’ve been drooling over Pocket Farm for the past few days. Somehow it had escaped my notice all this time, but it’s so fantastic! It’s making me twelve kinds of jealous though. I wish very much that I had a 50 acre farm. Sadly, I have only a dinky one-bedroom apartment with no gardening possibilities and the dinkiest little kitchen in the world.

John and I are talking about getting a house some time in the not too distant future. We’d thought we’d have to save up for ages and ages, but my cousin and his fiance (whose finances can’t be much better than ours, if at all) just bought a house in town, and because they’re first time home buyers, they didn’t have to make a down payment. Amazing! This is a revelation to me. I’d assumed we’d be saving for years to make a huge down payment, but if that’s not necessary, we could be house shopping in a matter of months. We’ll have to get our collective money situation in order (we’ve discussed merging our finances, but we haven’t gotten into the nitty-gritty of it all), and learn to save more, but it’s exciting to think that I won’t necessarily be trapped in a little apartment for years and years. I’m mostly itching for kitchen space and a big fat garden. Sometime I’ll post a picture of our kitchen. It’s literally the size of a bathroom. It’s small enough that it’s really impossible for two people to cook at once, which translates to more work for me, since I’m definitely the family cook (I mean no disrespect to John – he takes care of all the cleaning, which I couldn’t care less about). I’d love to have some room to sprawl out and have big food projects.

And then the garden. Can I tell you how much I want a gigantic garden? Last summer we had half a plot ( 10’x20′) in the community garden a ways down the road. The soil is pretty heavy clay, and there’s no shade at all – we’re literally stuck between a construction site where a new middle school is being built, and the Lansing Armory with its mysterious fenced off fields of nothing. It’s a really strange place to have a garden. It was also not terribly productive last year. That’s because it was the first garden I’d ever started all on my own, my transplants were in pretty awful shape (I tried making soil balls wrapped in newsprint to start the seeds in, but the acid in the paper killed half of the transplants), and I didn’t take very good care of things in the second half of the summer, thanks to extra-stressful classes.

This year I’m doubling my plot size and my effort. I’m using compost, starting my seedlings early, and taking extra good care of things in that “boring” stage between transplant and harvest. I just ordered all of my seeds, mostly from Seed Savers, and I’m so excited about them coming that I can hardly contain myself. The next step is to plan how it’s all going to fit in a 20’x20′ plot. Meanwhile, I’ll be daydreaming about canning tomatoes, ignoring the 6-degree weather outside my window.

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