The new-mom had requested mint which I had kind of a hard time locating. There was only really once contender, but this was not as soft as I hoped. I used this technique with some success. It was softer, but still not as soft as Caron’s Simply Soft. Usually I am impressed with Vanna as a economy yarn but I wouldn’t really recommend her baby yarn. Regardless, I am happy with how it turned out even if it was a little bit more work than usual. Since I have not been studying for the bar I have had a lot more time anyway. I have finally felt like I could read again and have been reading lots of books for pleasure.

1. The Fault in our Stars. This was reviewed a lot of places so I finally picked it up thinking I was going to hate it. It was actually pretty good. Its depressing (its about children with cancer), but I actually thought the author really captured what it feels like to be a teenager.

2. Back from the Land. As I have mentioned here before (a lot) sometimes John and I indulge in wild fantasies about buying a farm. However, they are really fantasies because after I say that there is always this big question of like, well what would you do while you were there? Would we dive head first into living sustainably? Would we try to subsistence farm? Would it just be a big plot of land that we never did anything with because we have real jobs that occupy most of our time?

This book is written by a woman who was part of the 1970s back to the land movement. She and her husband bought a homestead with another couple and their focus was self-sufficiency. She and her husband ended up divorced (there was a very high divorce rate among back to the land families) and she returned to society. While this book did not include many statistics, it included many personal essays from others, who echoed her sentiment that real self-sufficiency was unattainable. Since they had to purchase things like oil, they were always going to be engaged in commerce. Once engaged in commerce even a little bit, money was required so people had to “Work out.” Then, all of a sudden they were just working at a lower paying job while commuting much further, and with many many more chores. Further, while rural people were helpful to the “pioneers,” eventually the author made it clear that she felt they were engaged in a form of slumming, and were taking government and outreach resources from rural people who had no other option but to live the lifestyle the homesteaders had opted into.

The book really emphasized that I need to get my priorities figured out before we make any moves. I am definitely not looking for self-sufficiency as a priority, there are a lot of things I am perfectly happy not making for myself. I also don’t think I would want to produce all of our own food. While I love our garden, I am not willing to eat only things we grow to the detriment of well-rounded nutrition (especially since we don’t eat meat, it would be difficult to get enough protein from a Michigan garden no matter how large). Which leads me to believe, maybe I am looking more for someplace to build my epic permaculture forest garden? I don’t know, this book made me think. Thankfully I have lots of time before it is even a financial possibility.

3. Call of the American Wild. I really really hated this book. I am not a person who finishes a book I hate just to say I finished it. Which is to say, I continued reading because I hated it SO MUCH that I wanted to get to the end so I could hate him even more. I don’t know what that says about me.

Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if I weren’t reading Back from the Land at the same time but wow, this guy is oblivious. This Scottish guy started emailing someone in Alaska about his dream of spending a winter living in the Alaskan interior. The Alaskan humored him, until one day the author just showed up in Alaska to do it. Oh yea did I mention this guy has two kids? Under five? Who he just assumed his wife could watch alone for a year? Oh wait I’m sorry yes, according to the author it was “her adventure” to watch the children alone for a year while he did his thing. So, the Alaskans felt bad for his family and helped him not kill himself albeit explicitly stating the only reason they were helping him not die is because of his kids. This guy does not get the hint and continues to borrow literally everything he needed to survive a winter in Alaska from this poor family who must have just happened to have like a public email address? They basically had to risk their lives for him over and over so the author could live out his fantasy of being a woodsman which at the end of the book he basically admits he has no idea why he wanted that in the first place.

4. Perfect Health. I just started this book on the recommendation of a friend and I am loving it. So far, the book has explained that there are 3 basic doshas, which is like a type of body and mind, that every person falls into. Eva, John, and myself represent the three different ones like to a tee. This makes sense, since we are so perfect together :).  I haven’t gotten to the part where it explains  really what this means, but generally it your dosha determines the various strengths and weaknesses of your composition and how to enhance and counteract them when necessary to keep your body in balance. Since I am not yet an expert, more info here. 

5. What I talk about when I talk about running. I read this on my brother’s recommendation. I listened to it on audible and it is just a beautifully simple and well written book about running and aging. It made me feel like going for a run, all the time.

6. The Winter Harvest Handbook. This book was recommended in Paradise lot for greenhouse info. It was not great for someone who does not want to start a greenhouse farm. However, I did learn that unheated greenhouses only add two weeks or so to each end of the growing season in Michigan. The author recommends a double layered approach. The greenhouse we have planned was always for the chickens winter space first, and for growing second. The book suggests that we would do well to plant in the greenhouse in like August or September depending on the plant. Once there is less than 10 hours of light per day nothing will get much bigger. So it is best to have the plants be on the older end of juvenile (so they are hardy) but as large as possible and during the winter they will just maintain their size thereby extending the harvesting season rather than actually producing more. I guess the Parisians were the original greenhouse gardeners. They planted enough greens to support all of Paris and kept it growing all winter. Through meticulous cultivation, no imports of fresh vegetables were necessary. It was very labor intensive though. Interestingly, there was a back-to the greenhouse type movement years later in England which failed because English farmers failed to realize exactly how labor intensive and precise the techniques were. Truly, nothing is new.

Thats all, I’m off to make applesauce, pasta sauce, and chenna. John’s working on the greenhouse all day so hopefully pictures soon!