Casaubon's Book

My children made me try a chocolate-covered gummy bear the other day. Now a chocolate gummy bear is not a local, sustainable or home-grown food, and frankly, I don’t like gummy bears (the only good use I ever had for them was in college, where nothing would keep posters on cinder-block walls without damaging the…

Letting Go of the Farm

Fourteen years ago, on a cold February weekend, Eric, our 10 month old son, Eli and I went driving around rural upstate New York, looking for a place to settle. We had actually wanted to stay in Massachusetts, but a combination of high land and real estate prices and Eric’s grandparents’ (who would come to…

100 Kinds of Foster Parents

If you’ve thought about foster parenting at all, even for a couple of minutes, you probably grasp that someone has to do it. Because the truth is that kids whose parents can’t care for them has been a global problem for all of human history. It is a problem that could get better or worse…

Five Little Pieces of Paper

Take five little pieces of paper, and write down the five things that matter most to you in your life, whatever they are. Your parents. Your partner. Your kids, Your community. Your grand passion – art or the Red Sox, guitar or hunting or knitting. Your home. Your favorite chair. Your dreams for the future.…

Mama Food

Writing books and essays about food, I hear a lot of stories about what people ate growing up. Because cooking was mostly women’s work, those stories are almost always about mothers and grandmothers, and how the food made them feel – and how the memories of that food still do make them feel. There’s a…

Read Aloud

I should have known, but did not, that being read aloud to was a learned skill. It never occurred to me to think about it from my privileged place in the world of literacy. I was, for a time, though a teacher of writing, a fish who swam in words without thinking of the water.…

We adopted him on Wednesday, with 30+ family and friends in attendance. It was fabulous. The judge did a wonderful job of including ALL my children in what was a special day for our family, and then we partied. The funniest moment was that the lawyer had spelled his middle name incorrectly (Raphael/Rafael) and the…

(Some of my kids watching sheep mothering their babies) Over the last decade a whole lot of babies have been born on my farm or brought home to it. We have had calves, chicks, kids (goat), kids (human), ducklings, goslings, kits and lambs. One of the most fascinating revelations of this is just how variable…

p>There are a number of possible answers to that question, but my current summer favorite is chicken-tortilla soup. ¬†You can do this with bones, bones and meat, a whole chicken, stock and some breasts, whatever you have, but since we have some smaller whole chickens available from some roosters that went in the freezer and…

Ambiguous Anniversaries

Exactly a year ago at the end of a crazy, long week (Eric’s final grades due Tues, thought we were getting three kids Wed., annual “hey, let us look under your beds and in your closets” foster care recertification, which annually gives me PTSD because my limited cleaning skills get close scrutiny on Thursday, heavy…