Saturday, February 20, 2010


Three experiences of freedom.

I am playing saxophone with professional guitarist Dean Granros. He retired from his day job and moved about five miles away from here. I met him at a pig roast. His wife has Icelandic horses, and they wanted to live somewhere where they could have their horses in their backyard. Sound familiar?

Dean is into freedom inside the music. In the same vein as Thelonious Monk, the concern for chords is not as important as the form of the song. Therefore some of his songs do not have chord changes. I just play the melody and then play with the melody. At a recent gig we played one of my tunes: Stealing Thomas. I know this song backwards and forwards. We played the melody, and I began soloing. Dean did not play changes and started playing lines behind me. I encourage this playing from him. It turned into a true conversation between the two of us, and we all got lost - lost in the changes, lost in the moment. Beads of sweat cascaded off my forehead during this interchange. After the gig I apologized for getting lost and not knowing where the top of the tune was. He looked at me, perplexed, and said, "that was the best music we made all night." He didn't care. Freedom. I loved it, but I could not fully enjoy it because I felt responsible to get us back to the top of the tune. I hope I can enjoy more freedom in the future. We did make it out the tune just fine.

During farm meetings we have been talking about our Meyers-Briggs personality types. We are extremely different, and I am the only extrovert! Understanding who we each are in terms of personality types has produced a freedom for me of understanding. I know who I am and know my needs. I now better know who everyone else is and their needs. I have freedom to accept that. It is a great freedom that has helped me feel more comfortable, relaxed and at peace here.

The wood cook stove is hooked up. I made pizza including the sauce, toppings and cheese on the stove top. The stove top is all about freedom. There are different temperatures all over the different areas of this 2 X 3 metal top. The sauce starts to bubble, and I can slide it to a different area for a calmer simmer. It makes cooking even more fun - almost a game. I have freedom to have my pots and pans in all degrees and places.

The best part of this picture and a fourth freedom; it was below zero outside, and I am wearing a t-shirt and no socks. This is the first time I have not had long johns and socks on in the house for three months! Freedom!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Queen

After much deliberation (three years' worth) about how/where/when to hook up the wood cookstove, we finally found a solution and fired up the Kitchen Queen this week.

And this baby can cook. Literally and figuratively. The kitchen has been about 85 degrees since getting it going last night, so we have some work to do in order to get the air moving through the kitchen and into the rest of the house. This stove has capacity to heat the entire house (not to mention gallons of water in tanks hooked up to the back of the stove) while cooking and baking our meals. Fabulous.

This morning, I had the pleasure of making my first breakfast with the Queen. French roast and 8 grain cereal never tasted so good.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Kissing my ideals bon voyage

Winter here presents a bit of a conundrum for snobby types like me, who generally disdain fast food joints and kiddie media. Because though this has been a pretty warm season thus far, there are always a few good stretches when the mercury takes a nose dive and no matter how successful the transformation from small child to small child mummified in snow gear, the offspring just can't stay out in the sub-zeros for too long (and since it takes about 3 1/2 hours to get from "let's go outside!" to actually being outside, you have to really want to make the effort).

Enter the "indoor park," which is what Owain calls the McDonald's because I can't seem to get my mouth to form the word. Yes, there was once a time when the giant primary-colored habitrail barely registered as I drove by, contemplating my next blissfully child-free move. These days, I feel an immediate sense of relief mixed with a healthy dose of nausea as soon as those net-covered blue and yellow slides come into view. Where else can you get your recommended daily allowance of sugar, fat and meat while also picking up every virus and form of child-related bacteria known to Ronald?

Then there's Dora the Explora/Yella/Ghost Face Killah, Owain's latest annoying crush. This show is yet another shining example (read: cautionary tale) of what happens when animators get their hands on a big load of Peyote buttons. Why is it that shows for children must be completely nonsensical? Is it simply because they can? Or do they have other, more nefarious, motives? (My sister claims to have walked in on an episode where Dora was encouraging our children to "count Tico's nuts and Diego's banana!") I find myself hoping that Dora actually fails in one episode so I don't have to hear her sing that gawdawful song at the end of every show.

At any rate, here are a few recent snaps. As you can see, Owain has a new obsession with the solar system (thanks to Greg, Emily, Hope and Ellie for the planet pancake molds), so if you ever need to know about Neptune's moons or horsehead nebulas, you now know who to call. It's that much bigger of a bonus that Owain is now obsessed with the phone, too.

Dry Season

Most of my posts as of late revolve around how little time I have to post on the blog, so to keep the tradition going without losing too many loyal followers, here's a quick little treat. This video clip will give you an idea of what's been keeping us busy and what noise (joyful and otherwise) fills our home.

January, the longest winter month, is over and it's nearly time to start ordering seeds and planting for the new growing season. This will only make life busier, but hopefully it will also bring a little more inspiration and fodder for the blog, and to continue sharing our lives with you.