Nine months ago I wrote here that I would keep you all informed about what it looks like to be a grad student, mom of a 4 year old, good friend, wife, half-assed homesteader and blogger. Well apparently what it looks like is nine months of silence. The truth is that for the last nine months I have not made all my own bread. I have not made any bread. I didn’t run out to my garden and pick fresh kale for a salad from under a cover of snow. I did not once make toothpaste.
What did I do instead? I taught kids where their food comes and how to grow their own.
I taught my daughter how to write her name. I went on dates with my husband, and went out dancing until really late at night with friends.
I spent Christmas in Arkansas with my grandmother and Spring Break in Palm Springs, laying in the sun drinking mojitos.
I got a tattoo of a hazelnut. I wrote a thesis proposal. Obviously, I got an iPhone and got addicted to Hipstamatic.
What else did I do? I ate that failed strawberry balsamic jam on toast every other day or so, and a couple of months ago I started eating eggs in the morning from my chicken friends. I watched with pride and wonder as my apple trees bloomed profusely for the first time since I planted them four years ago, and as those beautiful flowers swelled into the delicate tiny green apples out there now, just tinged with rose. I also watched as the peach tree I planted last year withered and nearly died, and as my quince tree developed a rust that will almost certainly pass over to the apple trees that I am so proud of. A month ago I planted an entire vegetable garden in one day, a week ago I freed my strawberry plants from the clutches of those evil creeping buttercups again (just like last year), and just today I looked outside and noticed the teeniest hints of green all in a row – the carrots that my daughter helped me sow are coming up, finally.
What didn’t I do? I didn’t write about it. Mainly, because I was writing a thesis proposal and extra writing suddenly seemed a lot less fun than it normally does. I suppose I am the half-assed blogger as well, which I was well-prepared for. But I love that today is the day that I finally decided to devote a few minutes to writing. Today, I used my first harvest of this spring – rhubarb. A rhubarb crumble is cooling on the stove right now, of course with one quarter rhubarb from my garden and three quarters from the market. Who would I be if I grew enough of any one thing to do anything with it? The crumble is to be shared tomorrow at a potluck, with all the friends and colleagues I’ve developed relationships with during the last year – a celebration of having come so far together. And a celebration of it being over! I have one more week of classes, a final, and then I’m done with my first year of grad school. Three weeks later, I start the second part of my program. Not much of a break.
I am absolutely certain that over the summer, and over the next year, my half-assed homesteading will continue. Soon I’ll be harvesting snap peas and strawberries, then will come the inevitable deluge of zucchini, and with any luck in a few months I’ll have more apples than I’ll know what to do with. I’m sure I’ll make some cheese here and there, and I have been thinking I really miss sewing lately and I’d love to try to make a dress for my daughter. My fingers are crossed that I’ll have the time and the inclination to share those adventures here, but if the airwaves go silent for awhile again, it’s probably because I’m too busy sitting outside in the sun with my friends and family, trying to figure out how to use up all that zucchini.