food hippies.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I love food and I love to cook. And, ya'll! I make some mean fried chicken, killed (kilt? kild?) lettuce and pinto beans. Sometimes I make homemade french fries. Or sushi. Or filet mignon. Yep, sometimes we eat like kings. Then, sometimes we three day old leftovers. We go with the flow, man. 

But the flow has been shifting. You see, before my little lady came along, the hubs and I were practically food snobs. Connoisseurs, as I like to say. We were the kind of folks who planned entire vacations around places to eat. We had roadtrips to have snazzy dinners. Or spent hours driving around just to find our next meal. The time between meals was like empty space. The food was the meat of the day, if you will. The rest was, well, gravy. 

Then, along came a baby. 

She flipped our world upside down. Or right-side up. Either way, she rocked it. And with her came a new way of thinking for us. Not that we thought "wrong" before; it was more that we didn't think at all. Not about the true quality of food - organic or not, local or from Timbuktu, pasture-raised or feed-lot grown. You get the picture...

So we started looking into and adopting a more traditional approach to food... Great-granny style, if you will.    

I do want to say that we are not perfect rule followers. In fact, I've learned not to set crazy boundaries because I will not obey them. See, I'm a rebel at heart. Against myself, at least...

What I'm trying to say is we don't always eat at home. Or food made by my hands. But, for the most part, we eat pretty clean, organic diets. Not "diet" as in a low-fat, sugar free, count-your-calories diet. What we eat is local, organic, and as nature intended. 

And now for the crazy part... We eat lard. And butter. And full fat, raw milk. The good stuff from a local farmer with inches of cream at the top of the gallon. The stuff dreams are made of. And boy is it gooood. If you haven't tried farm fresh milk, add that to your bucket list. It's a creamy, rich, fabulousness that no grocery store can offer. 

We also do crazy things like brew Kombucha and make yogurt and ferment foods... 

And we eat local eggs fried in lard with toast and freshly juiced apples nearly every morning. 

I know...we're weird. And I'm okay with that. In fact, I hope to become more so with time. It's gotten us to a fantastic farm with a whole new outlook on life. Every day, we are more and more excited that *this* is our journey. Our adventure. Our lives. 

this little piggy went to market.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Yesterday's storm brought with it some near-freezing weather (maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but it was cooold). So, naturally, my first day flying solo at the farmer's market would be today. I woke up at 5:30a because my overactive brain was terrified I'd oversleep. I showered, spiffied myself up, and started packing anything and everything that might come in handy into my car.

Let me just mention here, in case I forgot, that it was so cold this morning. My bones are used to warm weather. Hot, sweaty, melt-your-makeup, humid, hot weather. So this morning was a bit of a shocker when I needed to pull out my winter best to stay remotely comfortable.

I loaded up the car and headed to the nursery. There I packed even more into my car. And, because I think you'll be impressed, I'll share with you that I managed to fit: a zillion toddler books and toys, six tall blueberry plants (in soil, of course), five tables, a chair and countless signs/crafty things in my little Jetta. I felt so accomplished.

Then, the reality hit me as I was driving to the market. Here I was, driving to the market by myself. No one to help me along. No one to answer questions. No one to watch the booth while I leisurely eat my breakfast in a cafe. And though all of this seems quite obvious... I mean, duh, you did sign up for this, Mindy... It was both terrifying and invigorating. On one hand, I kept telling myself that everybody had to start somewhere, and on the other, I was happy to begin this day to see what it had in store for me.

As I arrived at the market, I drove onto the sidewalk, trying to dodge the pedestrians. I parked my car on the sidewalk, at my assigned spot, took a deep breath, and went for it. I'm sure I looked nutty out there, fumbling with tables and craft supplies with numb fingers. Yep, you read that right - numb. I thought of everything winterish with the exception of gloves. Dear me. However, I pressed on like any lady would. I decorated and placed my plants just so perfectly.

Ya see? Here's my simple booth. You can't see so well here, but the plants are right behind J's head. Speaking of J, I forgot to mention that my hubs and little lady came to visit. It was good to have company. And now, thinking back, we should have stood together closely (like penguins) to warm up. Hindsight is 20/20.

It felt like, for a first market, everything was going my way. I mean, I almost saw a dog fight, ate breakfast while standing and smiling (which is nearly impossible because I was terrified that every smile was full of bacon and eggs and brussel sprouts), met some cool folks, and even had a super nice lad running the booth beside me. Before I knew it, it was time to shut 'er down.

Like a streak of lightening, I had the whole thing packed up and back in my car. Wahoo! My first market was done. I was an accomplished business woman.

Then, on the way home, J called. I answered, all chipper with such a big day behind me.

"One question," he said. "Did you sell anything?"

I hadn't even considered the answer! I had been so busy with the preparations, setting up, keeping warm, interacting, and trying to re-pack my car that, I hadn't even thought about much else.

"Nope!" I said.

And as silly as it sounds, it didn't even matter. I mean, do I want to sell the plants? Yes. Do I want to make some extra money? Of course. But was I so proud that I went and did it all by myself? You bet! I feel like it was a successful day. No rain, no mishaps, no crazy questions I couldn't answer. What more could I ask for? A sell? Nah, I'll ask for that another day. Today, I just wanted to be fearless. To do something I never would have seen myself do. To step out of my comfort zone. To be a nursery owner. And that I was! Numb fingers and all. ;)

the beehives.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I love everything about a beehive: the rustic look, the heavenly smell, the constant buzzing of bees... And I love that I haven't been stung - yet. That's right friend, I'm officially a beekeeper. The decision to keep bees was easy; my grandma had bees on the farm years ago and the blueberry field needs bees, so we thought it'd be the perfect first project.

Have you ever seen such a beautiful sight? Okay, maybe you have, but you have to admit these are pretty cool. They're fabulous in the most tacky way, perched just at the edge of the woods.

And you should smell these babies! If you haven't gotten to "take in" a beehive, you should make that a priority. Get your sniffer in there and really get in their bees-ness. Only then will you be able to smell the most amazing, sweetest, best thing in the world... All of that wax and honey and pollen mixing together, creating what has to be the perfume of angels.

And this angelic fragrance reminds me of none other than my grandma. She was a sweet soul, a gentle speaker, a farmer, a master beekeeper...and about a million other things I could only hope to be. I have memories of her in the basement separating the honey from the wax. Memories of those little bear jars full of that sweet nectar.

And memories of the smell...Oh me, oh my. I could go on forever about that smell...

a new endeavor.

Monday, September 15, 2014

This weekend was spent with my grandpa, or GrandPaul, as I like to call him (and as I write that, I wonder if he knows I have called him GrandPaul since I was little). We spent Saturday at the Farmer's Market and Sunday at a workshop. He had called last week to discuss the future of the nursery that resides on the farm. It's a nursery that contains over 1,000 plants and needs lots of care and time and energy and patience. And an amazing amount of know-how, something that comes so easily to my soil-scientist-PhD GrandPaul. He's a wealth of knowledge and I only wish I could absorb it all. And fast. Because...

My husband and I are buying the nursery in two weeks. (Two as in 2. Weeks. 15 days. *Gulp*)

But, am I panicking? Well, yeah. But only for a minute. Because soon, I'll know it all... or at least know that *he* knows it all and I do have his phone number... ;)


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hello. Here I am almost a year into our move and am just deciding to write it all down. Or is it that I'm just now getting around to it? Anyhow, here I am. In all of my "just climbed out of bed/I need a glass of tea/can I pull this dirty hair off just one more day" glory. But we'll overlook that this one time, because there are more important things to talk about. Like, maybe my family. I have a tiny family; a talented, caring, sweet husband and a smart, talkative, white-haired, lovey two year old. We live in a tiny town in Tennessee. In a small house. With two cats. Anything I'm missing? Oh, and we own a farm. Not an animal farm - yet - but a u-pick farm. And our ultimate dream is to build a house there and grow our own foods and learn so much our brains are all full of good stuff. You know - about farm animals and gardening and bees and plants and birds and trees and greenhouses. And to truly know which came first - the chicken or the egg. I dream about the day I have my farm and can hear someone driving down my gravel driveway from 1/2 mile away. Ahh, the happiness my heart will feel. I cannot wait. But I have to. In the meantime, I will write. About our adventures where we are now. And how our path winds us around and plants us at the Greenbriar Farmstead, as I'm lovingly calling it.