Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

It's 3:00 pm and time to start thinking about dinner. I am excited because my oldest son and daughter are coming back to Hidden Hollow Homestead for the weekend. I haven't quite decided what to make yet so I put on my black rubber boots, grab a basket and a pail, and get ready to muck through the mud to take a pass around our little homestead and see what strikes my fancy. My faithful companion Bear -- now almost 13 years old -- lumbers beside me, his warm soft dog nose pushing against my hand in eagerness.

First we stop by the green house/tilapia pond. The most recent addition to our homestead, I am so proud of the hard work my husband John and our neighbors invested to make this work. Using the best practices of sustainable aquaculture and aquaponics this 30' x 15' building is a toasty 78 to 82 degrees all year round -- thanks to the ingeniously designed passive solar collectors. The natural lighting is provided both by state of the art thermal windows, and some supplemental artificial lighting -- powered by the wind mill we put up in 2016.

In here, I harvest some sweet butter lettuce and baby spinach for salad. I also snip some parsley, chives and dill from the indoor herb garden to use in seasoning our meal. And I use the net propped against the wall to catch 4 or 5 full grown tilapia for the main course. [A fish my children have loved all their lives -- but have never enjoyed so much as the ones we've grown here at home.]

From here I walk a stone and moss path to the chicken yard. Bear waits patiently while I step in -- reach into the coop and collect the day's haul: 8 eggs. We usually get between 6 and 12 a day. More than we can possibly eat ourselves. But we've decided to keep the flock small since by now it's commonplace to have a small backyard flock and there is absolutely no market for selling the excess. We give our extras away to the local food bank, or to the few friends and elderly folks we know who don't raise their own.

I head toward the house again, this time swinging by the side towards the root cellar we dug in 2014. Much more energy efficient than the extra fridges we had kept in the basement previous to this. From the cellar, I grab one of the last of the fall's crop of butternut squash, and jars of home canned pickles, applesauce, tomato sauce, sweet beets and peaches. The tomato sauce we'll serve over the fresh home made noodles John will insist on making at the last minute. The beets, pickles, squash and applesauce will be served as accompaniments to the tilapia. And I'll use the canned peaches to put together a cobbler for dessert. Everything harvested on our own 8 acres last summer. Everything grown with no pesticides. and no petrochemical based fertilizers. [The manure from our own pigs, goats, and chickens -- as well as our crop rotation schedule -- does wonders for our soil -- so we don't need to add anything else!]

I turn toward the house, content. I know that when John comes home from work he will take a walk through the woods picking a few choice fresh mushrooms to saute as well. He'll return to the root cellar for a six-pack of his home brew -- and we may even break out a bottle of the organic malt whiskey that is distilled up the road. We'll both sit at the table still in awe -- even after all these years -- that with the exception of a few choice spices, the salt, the pepper,and some sugar -- everything we will see in front of us will have been grown and harvested here at home. Oh -- I guess I should confess that I never felt up to milking cows or goats on a regular basis -- so the butter I serve with the homemade bread will have come from a friend's farm up the road a bit. And the flour for the bread will come from the local wh***-foods coop.

I wish I could say that by 2020 everyone, everywhere would be able to enjoy such a healthy bounty. I can only say that I know my husband and I will be continuing to do our small part to move us all toward that day.

Views: 25

Comment by Linda Holt on March 16, 2010 at 3:02am
I love reading your vision of the future.
Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 16, 2010 at 3:16am
@ linda and michelle: what's so fun for me is that we are part of the way there already! We have the free range chickens, goats and a couple of pigs already -- and a garden that is *partially* successful. writing this post let me lay out the beginnings of an action plan of what we'd need to do to get us to be even more self-sufficient and sustainable in the future.
Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 16, 2010 at 3:17am
and by the way, michelle, you and your adorable side kick would be welcome anytime!
Comment by Linda Holt on March 16, 2010 at 3:23am
Yes! There's a kind of "conjuring" as my mom would say - we are speaking our futures from our future, and not from our past. . . and the universe is in agreement!
Comment by Cian Gregory Accuardi Shelley on March 16, 2010 at 4:18am
nice vision of the future.
Comment by Kevin DiVico on March 16, 2010 at 6:55pm
Wonderful... very nicely done, a great vision that can be accomplished..a great goal to strive for...
Comment by Dean Shankle on March 17, 2010 at 3:36am
I'm with you on milking goats. :-) Very enjoyable read. + 1 Creativity.
Comment by Rahul Dewanjee on March 19, 2010 at 11:45pm
an excellent piece of coherent writing is usually the case in all your writings. this one is no exception. definitely worth +1 for creativity
Comment by Evo on March 19, 2010 at 11:53pm
One important note regarding children and animals....I grew up in Virginia raising rabbits and found it very difficult emotionally to handle eating my own "pets" that I had fed and raised daily. This is where local networks come in handy -- in my 4H group the parents would trade meatpens, basically making sure that none of us kids had to eat our own pets but all families would have rabbits to eat. This helped the kids understand the importance of animal care and the emotional bond between creatures and also allowed me to understand the tough process of eating animals. I'm headed now to a farm in California that has 8 eggs a day and will be sure to share your vision with the table!
Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 20, 2010 at 12:08am
so far the kids have been very pragmatic about the chickens and pigs... we've already "harvested" some of each, and all the kids understood. we make a distinction when we bring the animals homel, which are pets and which are food. The goats here are pets. I've been kind of surprised actually that they are handling these realities so well.


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