Thursday, May 28, 2009

more farmgirl love - MaryJane Butters

this is an old/new farmgirl obsession of mine, to go along with my post about mama earth farm. i first read about maryjane butters when i read, long ago, a 1995 National Geographic article before many people were even talking about the word organic. i was intrigued by her story, especially about the fact that she dropped out of college to become a wilderness forestry ranger at a young age. and i have been sort of in love with her ever since. I found her magazine while browsing the shelves of Borders one day and since then I've followed her as she has built an empire of organic living stuff.

Her husband calls her a visionary, which i think is appropriate: she has a true entrepeneurial spirit but the nice thing about hers is that the ideas she comes up with bring community and organic living together and strive to make the world a better place.

For example, she started this thing called the Pay Dirt Farm School which is a non profit organization that teaches young people how to do organic farming and offers farm apprenticeships.

Another thing she created is an organization called Project F.A.R.M (which stands for First-class American Rural Made) which provides locals, especially young women, opportunities to work with their hands creating various crafty products, for example the bloomers and aprons she designs and sells, to earn money for college. That way if you buy something with the label "Project F.A.R.M" on it you know you are getting something handcrafted in the USA and not shipped from an exploitative overseas operation.

Reading about MaryJane's various projects and ideas almost gets overwhelming. But the spirit and energy behind it all is what I love. There is almost nothing I love more than a vintage ruffly apron, which she constantly wears, and she keeps her hair long and lovely in a big thick braid. She rides a bicycle with a basket full of brightly colored zinnias and paints her nails even as she goes out to collect eggs and work in her garden. She is the perfect blend of feminine and beautiful and also strong and innovative and active.

This is a woman that truly inspires me. If you have time, watch this little video about her.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

memorial weekend madness

we are lucky enough that our good friends scott and gary work at the infamous Poor Reds which never changes (except the jukebox gets better) and which people travel from all over to visit. so we got to close down the bar with them sunday night and, once again, we had WAY too much fun.

addie kicked off the night by starting to cry with nostalgia (you can see the tears running down her nose) when the dixie chicks' "cowboy take me away" came on and so em and i gave her some sweet sweet cowgirl love: which made us all very happy.

and that turned addie's mind to dancing, so she grabbed the nearest partner:

and she and joey whirled around that narrow little space that has seen so much craziness:

and then we all joined in on the dancefest: while artie posed - sexy?- for the camera our friend gary reminds us of joey in ten years.
and scott sowa, apparently the only one actually working here,
who is going to have a brand new baby girl in about a week!
without my little updates, maybe you'd never suspect life could be so rip-roaringly fun in good old el dorado county, singing and dancing like maniacs with the same people you've known and loved for years!

Monday, May 25, 2009

mama earth farm

my old dear friend mary lives on a farm. she and her husband ben are living the dream! they work so hard every day on their 5 acre property in somerset and they now have created a CSA (community supported agriculture) and sold ten shares of their farm to their neighbors. in fact, nancy, mom's friend from the library, is one of their lucky buyers. they will provide a box of fresh produce from their garden and eggs from their gorgeous happy hens once a week.

they took us on a little tour through their growing goodies. kale, chard, carrots, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, strawberries, snap peas all flourishing green and lively in pretty curving rows. they also have all types of different herbs and they are starting an orchard with nectarines, plums, apples, two different kinds of pears, cherries.

ben told us all about what he feeds the chickens, how they grind it up and what is healthy for chickens. and sylvan, who fell in love with the little crank to grind up the peas, worked on grinding chicken feed for the next hour or so! he's a good little farm worker. ben also told us about how they store water and keep the plants happy. they're so smart about farming and ben and mary know everything about the somerset landscape and can name all the various trees and shrubs, both native and non. ben will just pick a little flower or weed and say, here, you can eat this, it's good for you. i learned that the little feathery things growing in my garden really are carrots, now that i've seen the real thing, and i learned that changing a watering schedule a little bit can jumpstart your plants to begin to produce.

mary and ben have woofers come stay and work on their farm. in case you don't know, wwoof stands for "world wide opportunities in organic farming," and people who join the network can go work in various places around the world, usually for food and lodging. ben and mary have met some great people from all over the US and even have a couple returning to spend this summer with them. it is a great way for people to share knowledge about organic farming and to help little farms grow and thrive.

they also have 3 goats named willy, nilly and gerta and one of them is pregnant. they drink fresh goat milk and make homemade kefir.

ben built a straw bale round building for mary to teach yoga in. going inside it feels so good; the floor is cool under your feet and it smells like springtime earth.

but best of all is their baby Yarrow. he is a heavenly little guy who smiles and laughs all the time and has the best little chubby baby thighs and two brand new teeth. he loves people and being held and carried around his farm and it is so wonderful to think of him growing up out there in the country surrounded by animals and fresh organic food with these two wise and wonderful people for parents.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Oh how i love thee summer, for so many reasons
Road trips with Darin:
Going to the river:Spontaneous dance parties:Backyard barbecues with all the friends:Backpacking trips:Sleeping outside:
My little swimming pool:

Walking down to Cozmic Cafe for a beer and some live music:
Going to Marco's Cafe for a beer and some live music:Bocce ball games:Going to the river again:
Backyard music shows:

Making great food with all the girls:

my favorite summer treat by far, Mexcian coconut popsicles:

Family adventures, like this hiking trip down to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon:

Summer reading, especially (of course!) at the river

Jumping and flying into the gorgeous summer world!

AHHH SUMMERTIME! It is the time of life and exuberance...the time of year that everyone comes together to dance and go in the back of old trucks to the look-out tower at the top of the mountain, the time that everyone hikes down to the river almost every day and then goes to FreshMex after, then back to my house for a little dance party. Night swimming. The way it feels when birds are calling out as the sun comes up and I am riding my bike to an early morning shift, 5 a.m. The Farmers' Market, fresh Indian food and baskets of lettuce and cucumbers and nectarines and bouquets of red and orange zinnias. Tan skin. Full moon parties. LOVE LIFE!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

my proud moment, aka I AM MASTER (BEATTY)

nothin left to do but smile, smile, smile...

Alright, can I just take a minute to be completely self-absorbed?

Okay, thanks, here goes...

my big proud moment; i got special recognition from Dr. Madden for graduating *with Honors* but by the picture you might think my "special" recognition had something to do with me being a special needs student:

calming myself down a bit in order to pose with some of my incredible professors Dr. Toise and Dr. Sweet:
and Dr. Lee-Keller

then, back home to my party, here are my decorations (thanks to em and noel):
AND a bright bouquet of spring flowers my mom brought for me:
AND my cake from rebecca: (okay maybe you're catching on. it wasn't just MY party. it was art's birthday too. thus, smART cake. together we got the royal treatment, so from here on out I'll drop all the obnoxious mine.mine.mines and sticks with OURS)

in fact, here we are in all our glory, sporting enviable party hats ala emily. i also had a dramatic "grad" pendant in rich grass green. gotta love garish party kitsch! the gorgeous rose petal raspberry punch which addie made for our party:

our soybean plant-gifts carefully personalized and presented by ashley and eric.
our homemade button flair, also carefully personalized, presented by the lovelies noel and emily. mine has the words to the last unicorn on the back. art's has a line from jeepster i believe.our delicious pico de gallo, crafted by artie and carried out by noel. a party takes a village.happy as a lark, sporting all my new jewelry, homemade gifts from the girlies. how i love those two!
happy party-goers:

christy came! (tho she couldn't get ma boyz to show up!)noel charming the pants off the hubs:shorties:our long lost wanderer! kaitlyn's home from london!sometimes you just look around at so much joy and beauty and go, damn!my enthusiastic support team:

after being showered with so much love and appreciation, i really did begin to feel rather like a spoiled and pampered queen. so much so that somehow i absconded back to my bedroom, turned on my fan, snuggled with my cat, and, still wearing all my hoopla, fell promptly asleep hours before anyone else!

thanks all you wondrous folks for helping me celebrate this landmark of my life!

Friday, May 15, 2009

My Professor

The other thing I am insanely inspired by today is my professor, Doug Rice. I have been taking his film class this semester on the French New Wave, as you can probably tell by my list of favorite things to the right. The way this man discusses film and writing and art take the breath out of my lungs and flies me up into the circussy air of an imaginative wild land.

Here are some quotes from him or his own inspirations:

"The more we speak the less words seem to mean."

"I is an Other." (originally from Rimbaud, as performed in Vivre Sa Vie)

"Your being changes through the act of writing."

"You get to choose what you want to think about, and through this choice you come into being."

Doug Rice addresses the REAL questions of being in the world: the things we should really be thinking about when we go to college and supposedly educate ourselves. He says that if you are really learning in college, (or anywhere) your brain should hurt, you should be overwhelmed by things to think about, you should be bleeding out the ears . You should create a new praxis, examine the world around you and not just blindly consume in the Hollywood style. "You don't have to believe the hype," Rice declares, "What they want you to think have the choice and one of the most profound thing people can do is make choices."

You have Godard films!