Windfall

If you were to ask the storm, it would probably say it got held up in traffic. Fall technically arrived yesterday morning at 6:30, but didn’t start in earnest until somewhere around midnight when everything blew sideways with scudding low clouds and drenching rain on a southeast gale. By the time it got light this…

Get Lost

Between the drive south, the week on the ship, a week in Palo Alto, a week driving Jem out to Missouri, flying back to California, driving back up the coast – (whew – I’m tired just thinking about all those miles!) – I managed to spend pretty much all of August away from the farm….

Meet Mitzi!

It’s not really a farm unless you’ve got a tractor and a truck, right? We bought our adorable Little Tractor That Could three years off a friend of a friend, but have been kind of scraping by on the truck front. No more. A couple of days ago we took delivery of Mitzi, a Mitsubishi…

First Harvest

I grew a thing! Lots of things, actually. And some of them are ready to eat! Given that we’ve had this farm for over four years, you might be forgiven for being surprised at my enthusiasm. But the thing is, I love it whenever anyone asks what we grow here at Natembea, because it lets…

Into the Woods

We were in the grip of a different national crisis when I wrote last month. I know that first one is still running amok and am anticipating that when I next get around to posting we’ll be in the midst of the cross product of the two. Or maybe a third, which worries me, because…

Darwin Stops By For Lunch

I don’t recall when I saw my first bald eagle. They were mythical beasts in my childhood, living in a far off place, commanding and powerful, but driven to near extinction by our wanton use of pesticides. A near-perfect emblem of our nation in the 1970’s for a boy who could spell “conscientious objector” before…

Spring

Spring has stumbled onto the farm like a loud drunk into a hospital waiting room. It doesn’t care that we’re pensive, that we’re taut against our own hopes, almost afraid to move for fear of upsetting the delicate and invisible unknown. That we’ve huddled together in our small groups, quietly giving and seeking comfort. Spring…

An Unreasonable Bounty

My week has been full of “shoulds.” I should write about John Prine. I should write about coronavirus. I should write about the tribulations of my particular family’s attempt to coordinate a Passover seder via Skype. I should write about the birthday of my late grandfather, Jack Cohn, who taught me the deep wisdom of…

A (Socially Distant) Garden Party

This morning, the southern sky looks like a scene out Laputa, and the mountains, when we get peeks of them, are scintillating. I don’t get to use “scintillating” much, but if ever there were a time to pull it out of the word locker and put it on the field, this is it. Looks like…

Graduating Goats

Sorry – I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, but I needed to take time off. From writing, that is, not from everything else, which I’ve spent the past year doing too much of. Mind you, I don’t seem to be in danger of dialing back everything else in my life, but I…

Settling In

I’m sitting in the departures lounge at SeaTac, listening to the woman seated next to me loudly complain at her phone about the price of drinks in the airport bar. She’s gesticulating wildly, and I keep wondering whether to duck or just let her whack me with her hand to make a point. It’s a…

Home on the Grange

Sometimes life gives us grand, easily-recognizable landmarks. Moments when even a total stranger could look in and immediately understand why something is important, why it is good: A new job, the birth of a child. But it’s too easy to be on the lookout only for those, and to lose those quiet, subtle moments of…