Wednesday, January 19, 2011

17 Acres and a Good Barn

I am finally resurfacing after several weeks in the writing garret. Another deadline met and now I lift my head from the page to see that the earth has continued to spin on its axis without my help, thank you very much.

I love a deadline, as most writers do. It's difficult to impose one on one's self but when it is imposed on you it is a motivational joy. I have always been fascinated by other writers' processes.  For me, it's a fairly simple one. Once you get beyond the gnashing of teeth and obsessive cooking, the cleaning phase begins. This is always the sign that the writing will soon commence. I must have a spotless environment (a clean slate so to speak) before I begin. When the household is tiptop from attic to basement with neat piles of clean laundry at the ready I can sit down, fire up Movie Magic Screenwriter, and begin.

Of course then all hell breaks loose. For weeks dishes and papers pile up. Wastebaskets go untended. Clothes accumulate everywhere (sometimes you have to kick your way into the bedroom.) Engagements are canceled, invitations declined and I become downright unsociable. I cannot interrupt the momentum for fear of threatening completion of the work. I am also unable to sleep. Tortured by storyline and the babbling characters that insist I jot down their seemingly vital dialogue at 4:15 in the morning or lose it altogether. But it's my process, and in the end, a new creation is born.

So now I take my brief postpartum break and return my attention to other issues. Like... seventeen acres and a good barn. This is what my aunt (a former farmer and farmwife) tells me I require for my hobby farm dream. If you plan on keeping animals, you need pasture. That's the long and the short of it. Seventeen acres is what she recommends for my modest vision which is beginning to grow daily, to now include sheep, milk and fiber goats, chickens, a Dexter cow or two, and the latest... teacup pigs. I must have two of those now that I've discovered that they exist. At least I haven't branched out to camels like The Inadvertent Farmer. I draw the line at camels... although... Alpaca... hm.

So I hit the MLS again today, paging through listings only to discover that what I need is a little out of reach financially. But isn't that always the way. The life you strive for always has some reach to it; else you are not stretching for greater things. John F. Kennedy said, "We chose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." I love that sentiment. It always inspires me to push onward.

The blogosphere continues to be an encouragement as well. There are people out there living in yurts! Happily, I might add. I do need a few more creature comforts than yurt life offers. Access to DSL for one, so I can continue on professionally, but thinking outside of the box isn't a bad thing.  Is it?

And so, it is back to cooking before I tackle the next draft. Since I strive to add a photo to every blog post here is the preparation stage for David Tanis' Saffron Carrots recipe, which I made last night.

Very tasty. Carrots and garlic from the garden. Butter, saffron threads, zest of lemon, salt and pepper and water.  Quick to make, too. I ate a full serving of cooked carrots, which is rare. I prefer my carrots raw.

Thanks David.  Page 27 of his wonderful cookbook, A Platter of Figs, which I recently bought along with his other cookbook, Heart of the Artichoke. Yup, Amazon got me with the old buy-two-for-the-discount-price thingy.  Anyway, one of the great things about his cookbooks, besides the marvelous photos, are the little stories that accompany each. Now that's a cookbook that really works for me.


Dar said...

Midnight meandering of the mind, when it just will not shut down for the night. Oh, how I have been there and finally get up, fire up, steep tea when I'd rather have cocoa, but not that late or the gurd will get me for sure the second I think I can finally, your aunt was right, at the very least, 17 acres. 35 was not enough for me. and If you have one critter, you may as well fill the barn because you have to then, be there, for them. Your entry so related late last night.

Head Gardener said...

Dar, I appreciate any and all farming wisdom offered. I am a total neophyte in that area.