Dear beloved readership of long ago,
The world has turned upside down, and my life is circling back on itself. Here I am again, turning my full attention back to the limited scale of my own household economy. Home with my kids all day, and struggling to get shit done.
A lot has happened since I quit this gig, even before the world turned upside down a month and a half ago, and I guess I’d better give you a quick review before I explain why I’m here.
Most relevantly, I moved on from the days of full-time revolutionary housewife awhile back. As many mamas have before me, once my kids started school, I got a job. Just a part-time job mind you, but it shifted my focus somewhat away from home pursuits. As you all know, being home full time with my kids was always a mixed bag for me and I won’t lie, I enjoyed the opportunity to grow as an adult independent of motherhood. (I discovered that I am an educator! I’m sure that you insightful folk already knew that, but it took me till the age of 39 to figure it out.)
In 2016 we moved to Eugene, Oregon. The reasons are too many and too personal, but I will say that we all miss Alaska, and the transition has had some bumps. I have been able to build the garden of my dreams here, and although it is a work in progress, I love it. Last year I grew 30 lbs of sweet potatoes!
The kids are now 10 and 12, and although parenting still takes time, it doesn’t take as much time and nothing like as much energy as the years I wrote this blog from. I have loved being with my kids through all of their ages, but I have to say, I am much better suited to older kids.
This is all to explain the irony. Because after all these changes, now here I am again, back at home, mothering and housewifing all day, trying to squeeze an hour of garden work in between homeschool and house cleaning.
(Who am I kidding, I haven’t been cleaning the house!)
So it’s no real surprise that all my creative, intellectual and social energy is once more looking for an outlet. As much as I love project-ing around my homestead and focusing on the tangible world around me, I also have a deep need to connect and feel like I am making some kind of impact on the world outside.
I don’t know that I will be blogging again, exactly. Maybe… we’ll see. Blogging was a bit close to the bone for me, I apparently have a hard time keeping my real self and my blog self untangled. But I do have a big virtual project that I am excited to announce. Starting next week, I will be teaching online classes! The first one will be Beginners’ Gardening (about that in a minute) but I hope to expand my offerings in the future to other backyard homesteading skills– advanced gardening, cooking from scratch, preserving, animal husbandry and permaculture.
The world is hungry for these skills right now. People have a visceral need to feel more self-reliant, to do something hopeful and joyful which connects them to the Earth, and to take part in building a positive future. Growing a garden and cooking from scratch may be key to that future, but these skills also ground us in our past and the resiliency of our species. These are essential pursuits for this uncertain time.
And I have those skills to share, I even have the skill of sharing. It sounds embarrassingly self-important, but I can’t help feeling that my whole life has been leading up to this moment. I grew up in Alaska learning how to make do and get by; I spent the last 20 years learning how to grow, store and cook food and generally create a home economy; and now, for the last 8 years, I’ve been growing as an educator, learning to communicate ideas, simplify complex subjects and lead people through the challenges of acquiring new skills. My role seems to have been written in, and I will admit to a quiet thrill.
I was telling My Man the other day how awkward it feels to be excited about this right now, at a time when so many people are suffering, and that part of me wants to just let the moment pass me by. “How selfish,” he said admonishingly. “You have something to share that people need, don’t keep it to yourself.”
So, here’s the deal. My course is called Breaking Ground. It will run for 8 weeks and be as much like a real live gardening class as possible. Over the 8 weeks, I will walk you through the steps of setting up a new garden. There will be some reading, but not a lot. There will be plenty of Q&A and a weekly “live” check-in session on Zoom. The class size is limited to 12, which means that we will actually have the opportunity to get to know one another and function like a real class community.
I have designed this course for absolute beginners, and pared the information down to make it simple and accessible. If you have really wanted to get into gardening but feel overwhelmed by how much there is to learn, and just really want a wise and practical friend to talk you through it, this course is for you.
It’s $40 for the 8 week course. However, I am offering a full scholarship to anyone who needs it, no questions asked. You will see more details about that on the course page.
It starts next Monday, April 20th, and class size is very limited, so sign up soon!
Online classes are never ideal, I much prefer meeting people face to face. But this is what we’ve got right now, and there is much work to be done. Let’s get started together.