December 22, 2007

one year ago today.

little reminders are everywhere.
if we just wait for them.

i slipped my hand into the pocket of the wool pants i haven't worn since the day we buried her.
i felt her immediately.

inside a silk hankie, like the ones she used
to stick up her shirt sleeve.
little bouquets of flowers
poking out at her wrist.
we each took one that day.
as we laid her to rest.

everything is different without her on earth but everything is just as lovely as she left it.
little lovelies everywhere.
and inside my pocket.


another blog....

in grand tia fashion we have started another blog!

this one is our "work" blog. i just hope we can keep them as fresh and fun to read as ALL of tia's!


right before he ate it

everything goes in his mouth these days....nothing is off limits (yes, even dog poop). this phone photo was taken right before he ate (tried to eat) this poor grasshopper. don't know which is worse, poop or insects?


from where i stand

yeah i know. i've been a lame blogger. but it's harvest time people. AND we're on the verge of a potential economic collapse. if the great depression does hit, at least we'll have food to eat. thanks to avery's help in the garden. ha! he generally runs around snatching stuff out of my bucket and eating it faster than i can pick it. i love that some of his first words were "broccoli" "raspberry" and "apple." i can't believe the summer is over....we're clearing fields and my mind wanders to thoughts of snow and cocoa and sledding and watching avery become a real little person...

here's my little helper standin' on a pitch fork. i took it on my phone, but it could never capture the bliss of the moment he discovered this amazing "ride" and what a ride it's been...


you can't eat money

my garden defies capitalism. i didn't purchase a single vegetable this year. i was gifted several tomato plants, some onion starts, broccoli seedlings, and a packet of basil seeds. everything else in my little circle garden is volunteer. a friend of mine had never heard this term, which i thought was common knowledge since i've been around farming my whole life. what it means is that the plant was NOT "intentionally planted." a bird may have come along after eating a seed from another garden and pooped it out in just the right spot and it took hold in my backyard soil. or more likely it was my heaping compost pile, rich in vegetables in various states of decay, was spread over the garden in the spring and those determined little seeds decided to sprout. simply, this is nature doing its job.

matt likes to point out my communist tendencies. my garden is no exception.

there are several varieties of tomatoes, i won't know exactly which kind until they ripen. the hopi red dye amaranth, and dill are prolific volunteers this year. there is summer squash and peppers and even petunias (i have no idea where they would have come from). it's lush and vibrant and colorful. and all purely accidental.

i love the wildness that exists here among the carefully manicured lawns all around me. i watch my neighbor and his never ending battle with creeping charlie (that is another post all together my friends). and i think 'what if we spent more time trying to cultivate things to grow, rather than trying to kill them?'

i ponder these things as i read "animal, vegetable, miracle" by barbara kingsolver. a book that is changing my life. i'm in the part where they are talking about seeds. and genetically modified seeds. and how Monsanto spends millions of dollars each year to prosecute seed savers (those farmers that intentionally or unitentionally try to save seeds from this crop to plant next year). those communistis! don't they know this is america, home of the capitalist regime? one farmer was sued for everything he had because they found "their" seeds in his field. as if you could patent a seed!

but they can and they do. and since monsanto has taken over the majority of all seeds sales in the US, the variety of vegetables available has dropped from 18,000 varieties to 600 in 20 years. there are actually extinct and endangered seeds.

but who cares about heirloom tomatoes when all you need to make most of what america eats is some corn? i for one do. i don't want a dried out, tasteless tomato that has traveled over 1,500 miles in a gas-gusling semi when i have savored the warm succulent purple-hued flesh of a brandywine fresh off the vine. no. i care about seeds. and luckily so do people like the folks at seedsavers and CSA farms.

now, i'm not perfect. i would like to say i only eat locally grown food. but the reality is, i don't. the past 4 years since working at Valley Creek Farm i've learned more than i ever knew about food systems and the social, economic and political nature of our food chain. and it's enough to know that people, we need to wake up!

how long it will take before we realize that we can't eat money?


we've been super busy preparing for our first furniture show and sale this weekend.

we are totally flying by the seat of our pants. which is pretty much par for the course with us and the business. i can't believe just 5 years ago we jumped into this endeavor called eastvold custom woodworks. just me and matt in a basement shop in northeast minneapolis. i still remember the smell of that old shop. the old cargo elevator. staining and varnishing in the weedy side lot as local drunks bicycled by. and of course the occasional cabinet getting rained on! and sometimes i'd stop at the gas station and pick up junk food and bring it back to the shop and we'd tailgate on the back of matt's dad's old red pickup out front in the summer heat.

...ahh...the good ol days.

what we lacked in knowledge about running a business, design, and even building we made up for in sheer hard work. matt's been non-stop since 2003. and most of the time i was right there with him. i'll never forget being 8 months pregnant and on the jobsite laying on my side screwing toekick on. the homeowners would be home from vaction and it had to be done. finally at midnight i told him i had to go home. it was NOT the first all-nighter he had planned. nor was it the last.

we still work hard, but things have changed. now there is a shiny new red pick up. a cargo van instead of the cargo elevator. a brand new shop. 8 employees. employee health insurance plans. and of course matt is still non-stop.

but we haven't done it alone. no ma'am. none of this would be possible without our wonderful community of family and friends. a huge thanks to those that have made this possible (tia and souliyahn for introducing us to dave brach, martha, scott and connie, and who could forget the early days with Layo and kevin that first summer. and of course our pals luke and mull always willing to pitch in and who are STILL willing to pitch in, in a pinch. and jake for his never ending web and postcard designs, paige for taking photos, spengler for his ideas and of course "our amazing crew" joram, ben, kai, matt h., kasey, anthony, doug and doug...and everyone else who has been with us along the way!)

so please, please come to the show. it will be lots of fun. mingling. wine. friends. and lots of stuff to see.

and at the end of it all, we'll come home and collapse on our beautiful bed. built with our own hard-working hands. together. and that makes it all worth it.


amazing. full. and beautiful.

life is amazing. full. and beautiful. i've been so caught up in things. so caught up in things i'm forgetting about anything but what is right in front of me. how did that happen? i don't even ask that question anymore. i'm gardening. cooking. farming. drinking cosmos. arranging flowers. watching avery walk, water the flowers, kick a ball, pick strawberries. he picks them and pops them whole into his little mouth. i am getting lost in the moment. moment after moment, day after day after day...and soon it will be July.

this little spot we call home is heaven. lush with my labor. native plants mixed with vegetables, mixed with berries, mixed with heavy whipping cream. mint mixed into mojitos. sun mixed with sweat. i am happy. here. and now.

there is so much bounty in this season. i forget that just a few months ago nothing was green yet. or ripe yet. now, rhubarb and strawberry jam lines my counter. greens, spinach, lettuce, mizuna, arugula, green onions pack the fridge. peonies on every window sill. it's this mystery that makes life amazing. full. and beautiful.

here is a recipe for cilantro pesto...oh my god! you have got to make it. tonight.

2 cups packed cilantro leaves
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup grated parmesan
handful of macadamia nuts (toasted)
olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup sour cream (added at the end)

Mix all in a food processor and blend. add the oil as you mix until a nice paste. Add the sour cream at the end. toss with pasta. Enjoy!


something like that

yesterday my day went something like this:

woke up to smiling baby sitting next to me pointing at the window signing "please" which means, "please mom, get up, take me downstairs and outside so I can go see the birds." but it was raining so the day didn't start off in the usual way.

i hate rain.

so we're stuck inside. just the two of us. i start to make some coffee. avery pees his pants 3 times and that was just before breakfast. most of which ended up on the floor, not in his mouth. several touch and feel books later, he pees his pants AGAIN. the elimination communication seems to be working...only sort of. he pees first, then he grunts as if to tell us "hey check out this sweet puddle on the floor."

finally, it's nap time. also known as: scrub the mango, grapes and kiwi chunks off the floor, do the dishes, start a load of laundry, make the bed, pay some bills, check in with work, pick up books, write a letter, check on my grass seed, do another load of laundry, missed some of breakfast on the wall, scrub that too.....oh, he's awake.

stops raining, so there is only one thing to do, head to the farm. but it's muddy and buggy. but still i press on. have many flowers to plant. avery proceeds to spill a whole jug of water on himself (i have brought no extra clothes) and then sit on several of the new little flowers i have planted. he does well, really. he is patient as i work for an hour or two. but by the time i get my work done, his face is swollen from so many knat bites and he is very, very dirty. and crabby. i strip him down before i put him in the car. i'm exhausted, but HE is the one that gets to pass out on the way home.

another nap means i can actually get myself cleaned up. there is mud between my toes, and under my nails, and in my hair. i shower and THEN bathe. ahhh. that feels nice. then matt comes home and finds me in there. i can sense his judgment, "what do you DO all day anyway??? take baths and nap???" but he doesn't dare say it.

so i say, "how was your day?" but when he launches in on the stress of owning your own business, my eyes glaze over and wish i could tell him what i really meant to say was, "could you bring me a glass of wine, order some indian take out food, and when the baby wakes up take him for a walk, and come back on friday?"

or something like that.


sheparding a son

i heard a sermon the other day about sheep. the pastor is baptist, but i like him. (note: sarcasm having married a man who attended a baptist college, along with my other favorite people). anyway, as i was saying, he was talking about sheep. sheep aren't "dumb like cows" he said, which can be pushed in any direction by a few dogs and maybe a cowboy or two. no, sheep are smart. they resist pushing. they need to be led.

insert shepard.

it is the shepard's job to lead the herd. the sheep learn to trust their shepard intimately. if he/she leads them up a mountain, they follow. through a rushing stream, they are right behind. they need this steady-handed direction. and it is only through gentle, loving guidance that the shepard has any luck with the sheep. any sense that they are being pushed and they run around in a frenzy. which made me think of my current toddler situation.

it's a battle of wills at times. to eat. to pee. to sleep. to poop. to stop. to go. to listen. . .

then i realized that the frenzy is my own creation. in my best efforts as a cowgirl, i just cannot seem to corral my little cow. but that's the problem. i need to see him as a sheep. and i his shepard. abandoning the idea of control and pushing may take me my son's entire lifetime. and i wonder will i be able to lead him through this life as his loyal shepard?



you know how some people are just "farm." at least that's what i've come to call them. lovingly of course. matt is one of them. they just have this way about them. they aren't pretentious, they pay attention to things, they are simple, kind folk who know and love the land. truth be told, i have always wanted to be more "farm." which is why i'm drawn to people like matt and roseann and olivia and gene who work on the organic farm where i've spent the last 3 summers.

i don't think you can ever really become "farm," although i've tried. i think you are born that way. and of course, the obvious factor of growing up on a farm. it is a way of life that only other farmers can know. i wish i could know.

yesterday i took the long gravel driveway down to his house. he was in bed, his family all around him. these were farm folk. plain and true. they knew his death would be soon. and as i watched this young man and his father, i began to feel the heat of emotion rise from deep within me. i tried to stop it, but as i looked at this old farmer, his glasses filthy and smudged with dried tears and dirt, i began to cry. this old farmer was losing his son and he wept and wept and wept. the tears that only a parent can shed for their child.

i looked out the window to gain some composure and noticed the fields had been turned over since i was there last. planting has begun. and this farmer was shedding the tears that would soon water and replenish the soil. the soil that had been the life blood of this family for over a hundred years.

these days are fleeting. this life such a mystery. i tried to remember this story when my own little farmer woke me today at 5:15. sometimes i get so crabby. sometimes i just wish he would sleep. but the sun is rising earlier and he knows it. he will be "farm." at least i hope. i'll raise him that way as much as i can. . . .

always trying to remember that this life is that long gravel road, leading us home.


oops i forgot to feed the baby

hey anne (and jake) this post is for you.

my baby is 1. saturday was the first birthday. pretty monumentous. but during the course of the busy day, busy for the adults anyway, i forgot to feed the baby. oops. and so many times i felt like i should blog about the birthday, post pictures of the birthday, be "emotional" about the first birthday, but really, it's just another day.

sure i remembered to sit and reflect at 10:23 am, with matt in the bathroom (on the toilet in fact) where it all took place, but the rest of the day was just sort of a blurr. five generations worth of blurriness.

the edges of my days just all seem to run together now. but, we made it one full rotation around the sun together. each day blurring into night 365 times. 365 lullabies. 365 good morning kisses. 365 days of spinning through space.



baby bliss

i was recently witness to the most sacred event of all time.....

the birth of a new human being.

i am overcome with joy to know this family.

and, that little ave-dave has a new buddy!



i've been writing a lot. just not on my blog.

i write in my journal mostly. but i also write little notes to avery. trying to keep track of his life through the little moments i get to witness. i have never actually considered myself "a writer" but it is what i do.

i've been working on a lot of pieces about motherhood. about raising a boy. about working with dying patients. about farming. about how i'm trying to figure things out. i'm usually pretty secretive about my writing. but recently i have been asked to put myself out there. so i did.

you can check out my story for sexual assault awareness month in the Northfield News.i didn't think anyone read the paper anymore. isn't print dead? apparently not as i've had numerous people tell me that my story touched them in some way. and that is the beauty of sharing stories.

you can also read an article i was asked to write about g diapers (with a picture of Avery!) in the Northfield Co-op Newsletter
The Compost. i couldn't resist putting in a plug for diaper free since i believe in it so much. you can also see photos and a little paragraph about the flowers I arranged for a couple on the front page in "our local wedding." soon the flowers and vegetables will be up and i'll be busy harvesting and arranging. but as for now,

this is what i've been up to lately.


ugh: part 2, the flu

yes, more snow.

yes, no closer to spring.

yes, on top of that we got the flu.

yes, all 3 of us.

yes, even avery.

yes, the puking.

yes, the "other thing " too.

yes, it was horrible.

yes, my mom, bless her heart came to help.

yes, she got it too.

yes, dad was here too...will he get it?

yes, most likely.

yes, it felt like the end.

yes, it must be, it has to be the end.

yes, the end of winter. the end of sickness.

yes, a little spring-cleaning for our bodies.




i thought winter was finally gone! the snow does look beautiful falling all peacefully, blanketing the brown, dirty earth but cripes.....when will spring ever come?!?

anyway, this photo cheered me right up!


women rule

i got to listen to a snippet of this woman today on mpr. i was driving. i was eating a turkey sandwich. i was running late. i had only 20 minutes to go home, nurse my babe, make the said sandwich and be back to work for the rest of the day. and i managed to do this all while talking with my sister AND listening to this program on mpr.

as i drove, and ate, and talked and listened all at once, i also managed to create an entire blog entry in my head about why women rule. i'll type that out at a later date. but for now, just thought you'd like to listen to this podcast and read the book, "why women should rule the world."

clearly we already do.



sure signs of spring. birds at the feeder. waking to their morning songs. sun rising before we do. melting. dripping. little rivers cutting through the snow. these happen every year to signify the changing days.

but this year there is a new "sign" for spring. avery's first baby sign:


just today. in his high-chair, pointing, then putting his thumb and pointer finger together. chirp, chirp, chirp. that's right avery. bird!

what signs do you see that spring is on the horizon?


western medicine?

would your doctor ever call you and tell you that another patient of theirs is very sick and needs a pot of chicken soup (with lots of garlic) brought to their door?

i didn't think so.

which is why i love the power of the feminine spirit. midwifery, in it's truest form, is this incredible gift that i'm just slowly beginning to unwrap, like a child with a present. it continues to surprise me. delight me.

and i am sincerely delighted to be making soup for an expectant couple who are too sick even to cook, knowing that feeding them not only nourishes their bodies, but also nourishes my community, my world and my own soul.

would your doctor ever tell you about things like that?

i didn't think so.


moon geeks

so i sat down to watch the lunar eclipse the other night. i was excited and full of anticipation. i love the moon. i adore the moon.

i love how she glows,
how she creates my flows.
i love her face,
how she floats in space.

(you could say, based on that lame poem that i'm a bit of a moon geek). anyway, as i was saying, i sat down to watch the eclipse, prepared for something to HAPPEN.

but i waited. and i waited. and i waited. and nothing HAPPENED. i waited what felt like a really, really long time and all i could see was the bottom, left edge of the moon get a little fuzzy from the earth's shadow. i did not have time for this. this was about as exciting as watching paint dry. so i got up and did something else. i don't even remember what i did. all i knew was my baby was asleep and i did NOT have time to sit around and watch nothing HAPPEN.

then, i heard a bunch of people talking on MPR about the eclipse and how incredible it was....what were they talking about?!?! surely there must be others out there more geeky than me when it comes to la luna. well, alright. i denounce my geekism. and give props to those of you who did manage to watch the 3 hour progression and even more amazed at those who even sat outside and took pictures...here's to them, the true moon geeks.


boy oh boy

i have a boy. my little baby is now the ripe old age of 10 months. and he is becoming, despite my dismay, very, well.....boyish!

he wears blue. he is loud. he bangs things.
he is independent. he is rowdy. he is fearless
(last night at swimming, he threw himself off the edge with no one there to catch him).
he likes men. mostly his papa. he has stopped playing with his doll, and is now onto trucks. oh, and he thinks he is really funny as he laughs at his own sneezes, burps and farts. (ok, maybe that comes more from his mama than from being a boy).

but, despite his blue-wearing, cup banging, boyish ways, i do love him. really i do.



i have lost the will to blog. it's -20 degrees. avery has been sick for a week. i haven't been outside in days. i'm exhausted. all i want to do is hunker down, get cozy in my warm basement and curl up with a DVD of "Planet Earth" which we got for Christmas and haven't had the chance to watch yet. i highly recommend it!

it makes perfect sense to me. that all i want is to be near my family and stay underground. especially after watching mama polar bear and her cubs as they emerged from the hole in the snow after a long winter holed-up together nursing in the darkness. i'm not any different than her. i need to preserve my strength for the coming spring. the demands of raising up a cub are strenuous. so i'm hibernating for the rest of the winter. don't know when you'll hear from me again. for now it's time for stillness underneath the snow, nursing in the darkness, bodies buried below....


addicted to love

i just had the most fantastic night. i actually went to a movie! I haven't seen a movie in the theater since we lived in st. paul one summer night and walked to the grandview. that was 5 years ago. and i believe i may have been drunk. yes, you may think that absurd. but i don't like movies. ok, i don't like MOST movies, or maybe they just disturb me too much. well this movie was disturbing, but in a good way. do you know what i mean? this movie shook me to the core. check out the link and watch the preview and you'll know what i mean.

birth has been on my mind so much lately. yesterday was matt's birthday and i thought of his mom, braving the cold and the long road from the farm into town where he came into he world. 32 years ago. i'm also thinking about avery's birth, and the beauty that it was. i'm thinking about rachel, the woman who was there to witness, to assist. and my sister, the first to arrive. i'm thinking about the ecstasy of birthing him. ahhhh avery.

and i'm thinking about my new friend anne from Norway who went with me to the movie last night. we drove up to the city and we had tea and talked like we'd known eachother for years. she's expecting her first baby in a few months. but is sad she won't give birth in Norway, where any kind of birth is paid for. where she would have received 45 weeks PAID maternity leave. fully paid, not just half-ass paid. "i am so curious at how your country treats women" she tells me. me too.

but none of that matters today. because i'm entering a brave new world. i'm going to stop noticing the injustices so much. there was so much to be outraged by in the film. the way women have been taught to fear birth. to fear their bodies. to fear their babies! but there was also so much to be excited about. so many beautiful births. and the commentary that a natural birth releases hormones that make a woman literally "addicted to loving her baby." but i'm not going to think about a world where that "love cocktail" gets disrupted. no, i'm just going to notice the courage, the joy, and the beauty (thanks paige) that IS POSSIBLE. so, it's a birth of my own i guess.

and then, as i began to imagine a world where ALL people were addicted to love and wonder how i could be a part of that.... something wonderful happened.....i was invited to attend my first birth! i am so honored. i am so in awe. the universe does listen. birth is where my new work lies. and it feels like the only place to start. birth. the ultimate beginning.

sweet memories....


9 + 10 = 19

avery is 9 months old today. and i'm feeling the need to reflect. he has now been outside of me, growing independently (well sort of independently) of me for almost as long as he was completely wrapped up inside my being. for roughly 10 months he waited, knees curled to chin, to be unfurled into this life. his life. no longer my life, containing his. 9 months old plus 10 months in utero and today is the 19th. funny how that adds up.

there is this blog, you probably arleady know this, but it's called dooce. i know my blog will never be like her blog, but that is the beauty of blogs right?! well, one of the things i love about her blog is that she writes her daughter a letter every month. and for those of you mothers out there, you can just imagine the dedication it takes to do such a thing. anyway, i wrote avery a letter once, before he was born. when i had time to sit down and write. a real letter. but i haven't written one since. so, i'm going to take this opportunity to change that. it's ok that it's not my ninth letter to him (who am i kidding, i'm not dooce). but it is a start. so here goes. my first letter to my boy-avery david:


oh ave dave!

you are such a big boy. 9 months has passed in the blink of an eye.

things you love right now: crawling. pulling yourself up on everything. clapping and squealing while i dance around you. tofu! listening to music. (yesterday you even turned the radio on by yourself and began clapping!) nursing. playing peek-a-boo. reading books. "talking" to your stuffed animals. long hot baths (which you get from me). eating all kinds of food (which you get from your papa). your cousins, and your grandma and grandpa. watching the birdies at the bird feeder (i think that comes from your great-grandpa avery). playing rough house on the big bed. riding your new trike. playing with your buddies. going for walks in the arb in the backpack. being pulled in your new sled. i could go on and on. you seem to love just about everything. oh avery, if only i could learn how to love everything. how are you so happy? it is what i love most about you-your happiness. but it's not the only thing...

some other things i love right now: your smile. your giggle. your hair, all beautiful, blond and curly. your smell which is part sweaty boy, part sweetness. your fat little ankles and wrists. nursing you. your curiosity. your kisses (interesting since you now have two bottom teeth!) your socialness. your sensitive side. your soft skin. your little kissable neck. your blue eyes. the sounds you make when you wake up. the way you rub your eyes and stretch when you're tired. your new found voice, so many new sounds. most importantly when it sounds like "mama." i love so many things about you, but mostly it's just the joy you bring to each day we're together. oh, an did i mention your smile?

the best part is, you never seem to tire of ME. little old me. i am humbled by your love for me. every time i walk into the room you suck in some air and get so excited as if you're seeing me for the first time in your life. and that smile. oh my god, that smile. it melts me to the core. what a feeling to know that i take your breath away. not just sometimes. but EVERY SINGLE TIME you see me.

oh ave, if you only knew that you take my breathe away too. in so many ways. i look forward to many more breathless days.




the end, the beginning

well, it's official. the end of the christmas season. it has always been a tradition to leave up the tree until after my birthday. january 11. of course it was much easier for me this year with our little tree. my dad's tree is another story altogether. no on can put that much time into a tree and not leave it up until the middle of spring now can they!? today i took down all the christmas cards, and the credenzas seem so bare. what used to go there? a question i am asking myself a lot lately. before avery came into my life, what used to go there? and if mid january signifies the end of christmas, doesn't it also mean the beginning of a new season?


i've never been one

i've never been one to let matt forget anything. so, in keeping with my usual antics i thought i would take this opportunity to remind him (and the world) of what HE was doing on HIS 30th birthday....

a leisurely coffee after
an uninterrupted 12 hours of sleep.

the best surfing spot on maui, just north of paia, where we watched all morning.

being caught in a rainstorm while hiking through a bamboo forest.

and finally, the best spring rolls on the face of the earth for dinner.

now, i've never been one to be jealous either. but, for the record: my 30th birthday does not involve ANY of these things.



photos of avery by jake ingman

once there, click on the photos at right to view more......wow!
jake you truely are a man of many talents!


marian lucille

died on friday, december 28th, just before midnight.

when i whispered goodbye into her ear, she swiftly replied,

"twelve o'clock."

but when i left her bedside that evening i knew it wouldn't be long.

the clock struck eleven, her eyes flew open and welled up with tears.

it was almost time.

with my dad holding her hand, she died just as swiftly as she had replied to me...

twelve o'clock.