Reflection, The farmgirl life

A shot of nostalgia… and ducks!

I’m going to confess up front that I’m riding a wave of nostalgia right now. It’s sharp, it’s somewhat piercing, and the memories are sometimes so sweet that they make me ache.

I created a Facebook group last night to spur conversation for my graduating high school class’ upcoming 20th year reunion next summer, so my mind is, for the most part, awhirl with memories of life in and around the small town of Hanover, Indiana. This morning on the hour-long ferry commute into Seattle, I pulled out the latest issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine, which is almost a spiritual text to me in its place of importance in my life, and discovered that this particular issue is all about chickens and eggs, with adorable ducks making a few appearances because Mary Jane is, obviously, a genius.

Chickens and ducks – namely the waddling waterfowl – send me right back into my spiral of whimsy.

Continue reading “A shot of nostalgia… and ducks!”

Family

You can go home again, but maybe you shouldn’t…

Have you ever had one of those experiences that really just defy words? At least, right away? I went home to Indiana for a week and only recently got back to Washington, and I’ve been trying to wrap my head around my trip. I discovered something pretty profound, at least to me: they say you can’t go home again, but I don’t believe that’s true. You can, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to feel like home anymore.

We moved from Indianapolis to Seattle last August. Last September, my parents moved out of the house they’d lived in for 29 years. When I headed to their house after arriving at the Indianapolis airport, I was driving to an unfamiliar house in a town I’d never been in. There was no “going home.” In fact, home was gone.

Continue reading “You can go home again, but maybe you shouldn’t…”

Home, The farmgirl life, Writing

When You’re a Country Girl (memoirs)

Running barefoot in the morning grass, the freshly-cut blades sticking to your feet.  Mom won’t let you back into the house until you’ve sprayed your feet with the water hose but, even after the grass is all gone, the bottoms of them stay green for a full day.

Spending most of your afternoon standing in the cool shade of the old oak tree, unable to take your eyes away from the tiny little green frog that’s been clinging to the bark. (You name him Phil.)

Continue reading “When You’re a Country Girl (memoirs)”

1940s stuff, Books

What I Just Finished Reading…

This morning, after pouring over my iPad Mini during every free moment these past several days, I finally finished The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust by Edith Hahn Beer.

682761This book?  Gripping.

Edith, an educated woman who lives in Vienna at the start of World War II, opts to go underground and live as an Aryan Christian rather than face her fate as an Austrian Jew.  Despite the personal heartbreak of being separated from her mother, who is still in Vienna until she is deported to the ghettos of Poland, and her sisters, who escape, Edith becomes a “U-boat” as she calls herself, sinking beneath the surface and reemerging as a young woman named Grete.  Along the way, we meet the Germans who helped her, Jewish friends who labored beside her as prisoners at the asparagus farm, and even a few members of the Nazi party who, despite the risk they themselves faced, helped hide Edith’s true identity.  She then marries Werner Vetter, a German with hidden disdain for Nazi authority, all while living in fear that, at any moment, her true identity will be revealed.

The book is both amazing and heart-wrenching as Edith finally realizes her mother’s ultimate fate, comes to term with both her assumed and real identities, and tries to begin life anew in a post-war Europe filled with rubble, despair, and starvation.

Definitely the first autobiography of its kind that I’ve read.  Definitely one anyone else interested in World War II and the Holocaust should read, as well!

 

Books, Reading

The next two books I’m reading –

Both of these were just added to my Kindle Paperwhite!

The Dirty Life

(from Amazon.com) Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season—complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.

Kimball and her husband had a plan: to grow everything needed to feed a community. It was an ambitious idea, a bit romantic, and it worked. Every Friday evening, all year round, a hundred people travel to Essex Farm to pick up their weekly share of the “whole diet”—beef, pork, chicken, milk, eggs, maple syrup, grains, flours, dried beans, herbs, fruits, and forty different vegetables—produced by the farm. The work is done by draft horses instead of tractors, and the fertility comes from compost. Kimball’s vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking—and marriage—are irresistible.

Rurally Screwed(from Amazon.com)   Jessie Knadler was a New York City girl, through and through. An editor for a splashy women’s magazine, she splurged on Miu Miu, partied hard, lived for Kundalini yoga, and dated a man-boy whose complexion was creamier than her own. Circling the drain both personally and professionally, Jessie definitely wouldn’t have described herself as “happy”; more like caustically content. Then one day, she was assigned a story about an annual rodeo in the badlands of Eastern Montana.

There, she met a twenty-five-year-old bull rider named Jake. He voted Republican and read Truck Trader. He listened to Garth Brooks. He owned guns. And Jessie suddenly found herself blindsided by something with which she was painfully unfamiliar: a genuinely lovable disposition. In fact, Jake radiated such optimism and old-school gentlemanliness that Jessie impulsively ditched Manhattan for an authentic existence, and an authentic man. Almost overnight, she was canning and sewing, making jerky, chopping firewood, and raising chickens. And all the while one question was ringing in the back of her head: “What the !#*$ have I done with my life?”

A hilarious true-life love story, Rurally Screwed reveals what happens to a woman who gives up everything she’s ever known and wanted-job security, money, her professional network, access to decent Thai food-to live off the grid with her one true love (and dogs and horses and chickens), and asks, is it worth it? The answer comes amid war, Bible clubs, and moonshine.

I’m absolutely fascinated with these types of stories, and I’m hoping they’ll both be better than Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman: From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – A Love Story.  Her memoir just didn’t feel authentic to me at all and after I read it, I found myself turned off by her completely.  I received a recommendation for Rurally Screwed from a friend I know from the fanfiction world and, considering how amazing of a writer she is, I trust her to not lead me astray!